Grief is a natural reaction to losing someone we care about. However, if left unprocessed, loss can cause deep emotional scars and mental health problems.

What is grief?

Unfortunately, at some point in life, we will encounter grief; the pain of losing someone or something we care about. Feelings of shock, numbness, anger and sorrow make up the natural grieving process. We may also experience feelings of depression and exhaustion. Bereavement counselling can help with managing grief and loss.

What are the stages of grief, loss and bereavement?

Shock is a typical initial response to bereavement, as is disbelief. You may feel numb or paralysed at this time. Denial normally follows. For example, you might try to convince yourself nothing has changed, re-enacting activities such as making a drink for your loved one.

Anger and even guilt may then be felt. These emotions can manifest in a range of ways, from blaming others to having emotional mood swings.

You may find yourself in a period of bargaining. To cope with the loss, you may find yourself promising that you will live a better life if the tragedy could be reversed. A child may promise to be tidier or to stop arguing with their siblings if their parents will get back together.

A period of depression may follow including symptoms such as insomnia, irritability, loss of appetite and social withdrawal. You may experience a loss of purpose.

Finally, in healthy grieving, you will move towards acceptance. Thoughts may become less, allowing you to rebuild your energy and motivation. If you are struggling to cope with your feelings of grief and loss, bereavement counselling can help you to manage your emotions.

While denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are commonly understood as the stages of grief, there is also a '7 stages of grief' model, defined by Dr. Kübler-Ross. These seven stages are shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, testing, and acceptance.

What are the signs and symptoms of grief?

Common symptoms of grief include:

  • feeling numb
  • overwhelming sadness
  • tiredness or exhaustion
  • insomnia
  • loss of appetite
  • anger (either towards the person you've lost or the reason for your loss)
  • guilt

How can therapy help with grief?

Sometimes the grief process doesn't go smoothly. You may feel stuck in one stage of grief, or you might feel stuck in the cycle of stages. Perhaps your grief has developed into depression. In these cases, intense emotional pain can last for years. When this happens, talking to a grief counsellor may be necessary so that you can move through the stages of grief.

Therapy can be an empowering means of dealing with grief. Whether it is the death of a loved one a job or home - therapy can help you through the grieving process, especially if you are feeling overwhelmed.

Grief counselling will assist you in tackling painful emotions and to adopt new coping strategies. Your therapist can offer you a safe space to explore your feelings when you feel that you are not moving through your grief or you are struggling to process what has happened.

How to find a therapist for grief and bereavement counselling

We vet our therapists for grief to ensure they are registered and insured to practice as a therapist in the UK. We also diligently check they are registered members of UK professional bodies, to make sure our therapists have completed the professional training necessary to work as a licensed practitioner. You can find a therapist or grief counsellor to help with grief and loss easily here.

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