Grief counseling is a form of therapy for individuals who have recently experienced a loss, such as the death of a spouse, family member, friend, coworker, or pet. Counseling may involve attending sessions with a therapist, psychologist, or support group to address the complex emotions that come after a loss.
In the short term, grief counseling can help individuals take care of funeral arrangements. In the long term, grief counseling will help individuals process their loss and adapt to life without their loved one.
Types of Grief Counseling
Individuals of all ages experience complex emotions in reaction to a loss or death of a loved one. Overwhelming feelings of grief may need to be addressed in therapy.
Depending on the individual and their preferences, they may choose one of the following options for grief counseling:
Grief Therapy. Individuals experiencing behavioral and physical problems in the aftermath of a loss may benefit from this type of therapy.
Complicated Grief Therapy. Complex grief can make it difficult for individuals to let go of their grief. This type of grief can lead to troubling thoughts, dysfunctional behaviors, and difficulty regulating emotions. As a result, patients may struggle to adapt to life.
Traumatic Grief Therapy. A sudden or unexpected death, or one that was witnessed, can lead to traumatic grief. You may experience traumatic grief if you lost a loved one suddenly or if you witnessed their death. Traumatic grief therapy can help address the symptoms of trauma and equip the individual with coping skills.
Techniques Used In Grief Counseling
A grief counselor will ask the individual to talk about their loved one, their relationship with them, the events leading up to the death, the impact of the death, and the individual’s coping approach.
During therapy, grief counselors or therapists may use the following techniques:
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). During therapy, the individual is encouraged to accept negative feelings and circumstances so that they can shift their focus to healthy and effective methods of coping.
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). CBT is a form of psychotherapy that helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns influencing their behavior.
- Group Therapy. Individuals may benefit from sharing their feelings with others who are experiencing grief. Group therapy can give individuals the support they need to go through recovery.
- Art Therapy. Visually expressing emotions can help bring healing for individuals of all ages. Those who struggle to communicate their feelings may benefit from art therapy.
- Play Therapy. This form of therapy is often used to give counselors insight into a child’s thoughts and feelings in order to help them process emotions and to improve behavior.
Who Needs Grief Counseling?
Grief counseling can help individuals identify, express, and process their emotions. Grief counseling can also help individuals adapt their routine and identity.
After a loss or death of a loved one, individuals may experience the following emotions:
Grief counseling is a safe and effective way to overcome complex emotions — for individuals of all ages.