Losing someone or something you love can be a very challenging and emotionally-draining event. Sooner or later this will happen to all of us, which means grief, loss and bereavement are a normal component to our lives. If you are feeling stuck and unable to cope with anger , sadness, guilt or feeling numb, bereavement counselling can help you process these emotions and get past your grief.
What is Bereavement?
Bereavement and grief is experienced when someone close to us dies. When this happens, we experience a loss that may leave a hole in our lives. Everyone’s experience of bereavement is unique yet there can be common experiences that are shared among people who have lost someone.
It is common to be in a state of shock. Some people may throw themselves into the practicalities whilst others may struggle to function. People can be extremely tearful, may feel panicky and anxious or feel numb.
The seven stages of grief
It is believed that there are seven stages of grief which are anger, disbelief, bargaining, denial, guilt, depression and finally acceptance. People can progress through these stages at different rates and it is normal for this to take time. However, some people can become stuck and struggle to move through the stages. This can contribute to emotional difficulties, such as depression and anxiety, which can have a detrimental impact upon various areas of an individual’s life, It’s the negative impact on our ability to function in our everyday life that can tell us whether we need help, such as grief counselling or therapy.
Shock and Denial
Often people experience a state of shock. This is usually the first reaction to a bereavement where it can feel like you are in a daze and can’t comprehend that the person you have lost is not coming back. Some people experience numbness which may help when dealing with the practicalities following the death of someone and it can seem that they are carrying on as if nothing has happened. Others may struggle to function and find everyday tasks challenging.
Many people experience anger following the death of someone. This anger may be directed towards medical staff for not doing enough, towards friends and family perhaps for not helping enough or towards the individual who has died perhaps due to leaving them.
To cope with feeling out of control, vulnerable and helpless people can look for ways to re-gain control and feel that they can affect the outcomes of events. For example, some people with religious beliefs may make a bargain or promise with God in return to be relieved of their pain and suffering.
People may experience guilt over things they did or didn’t do. Often people perceive that they didn’t do enough for the person that died.
The magnitude of the loss can contribute to depression or low mood. This includes feeling sad, becoming withdrawn, a loss of appetite and experiencing aches and pains. People can think lots about the person they have lost, including reflecting upon past memories of that person. Associated with the depression can be a sense of loneliness and emptiness. This is often the moment people seek bereavement counselling or therapy.
This is the final stage of the process of grief. This involves letting go of anger and no longer bargaining. People in this stage plan for the future and anticipate enjoyable times. They still experience sadness when thinking about the person that they lost particularly during significant dates, such as anniversaries and birthdays. However, the sadness is not all encompassing and prolonged.
How can Bereavement Counselling help
People may think to themselves that grief is normal and so they shouldn’t seek therapy but instead deal with it on their own. It is true that grief is indeed a normal process, however, it can be a difficult process and you may be struggling to cope. Therefore, it can be helpful for you to seek help. If you feel stuck at any of the stages of grief, it might be worth talking to a professional counsellor or therapist who is trained to help people manage their loss. In bereavement counselling, you will be helped to work through your emotions and to learn coping skills to help you to work through the seven stages of grief towards acceptance. It can be difficult to accept, however you can be helped to live your life more fully in spite of this.
Bereavement Counselling in Central London
At Therapy Central our professional bereavement counsellors can provide you with a safe space to explore your difficult thoughts and feelings around your grief and loss.
Get professional Bereavement and Grief Counselling in central London – Contact us now, and request a 15 minutes free consultation with a therapist today to understand if our help is something you would benefit from in this difficult moment. Our comfortable and confidential rooms are conveniently located 3 min walk from Oxford Circus station, in Central London (see map below)
NHS (coping with Bereavement and Grief)
Cruse (largest UK Bereavement charity)