What Is Grief Counseling And How To Manage The Stress?

grief counseling

Summary: Among concerns common to all humanity is grief, usually from bereavement. Some suffer very severely and need counseling and stages of grief management techniques for restoration.

Hope remains, no matter the extent of complicated grief. Though overwhelming for the moment, the pain gradually reduces. Sadness essentially stems from loss, like a bereavement. The result encompasses deep sorrow accompanied by guilt and anger, negative feelings, and emotions. The depth of the grief differs and may be connected with customs and traditions and relationships. How to adjust to the changed circumstances is the challenge. Rituals often fill the void, and institutional support reduces the intensity. For those who really need further assistance, what is grief counseling?

Common Grief Causes

Emotional stress that lies at the heart of grief can result from a range of causes of differing intensities. Marital separation or divorce would probably give rise to a mixture of strong emotions and feelings. Grief and relief may be mixed up along with guilt, feelings, and anger.

Professional or academic failures are common causes of depression. Addictions are widespread nowadays, and alcohol and drugs cause depression and withdrawal symptoms. Gambling losses or sports defeats could also set loose a range of disturbing emotions. Childlessness distresses would-be parents.

Wars and famine, floods and typhoons, pandemics, and mighty disasters cause grief on a large scale. Such sorrows would perhaps never heal. Grief management and counseling are all that can be done in regular sessions with the affected ones, perhaps in groups.

Coping with grief through counseling

Usually, pain or sadness from the most common cause of bereavement dissipates with time. Spouses, close relatives, and colleagues may provide emotional support to tide over the crisis.

Grief can get very intense! The response to such a disturbing event could result in mental and behavioral problems in addition to emotional upheavals. The trauma could involve fatigue and night sweats, heart palpitation, and insomnia. Nausea and sickness could occur.

A variety of counseling applications

Medical science, combined with psychology and psychotherapy, offers correct procedures to help overcome grief. The term therapy is usually used in more severe cases of personal upheaval when study or work does not seem feasible under the onslaught of pain. By calling such cases, particular problems may be more appropriate. Restoring normalcy and getting rid of the distress through degrees is the best that can be hoped for.

Educational and career counseling, marriage counseling, and rehabilitation counseling are essential and widespread enough. Personal tutoring by a mental health professional in the field helps overcome hesitation and instills courage and confidence amidst sharp, professional competition. While group and family counseling help, severe cases would require one on one sessions. What is grief counseling? This question attracts several valid answers!

Grief counselors and their three techniques

Spoken communication is essential to the counseling process, and digital media enables meaningful give and talk across borders. Yet, sitting together face to face seems most effective with personal rapport rather than be enslaved by a variety of screens and machines.

First, motivate the affected person to open up about the death or the divorce. Creating a secure surrounding would bring out the inner thoughts concerning the person lost or divorced that are similar in some senses.

Second, help the person escape from the trauma that often accompanies ghastly events. Debilitating hallucinations and flashbacks as if trapped in images and situations become tormenting and prevent normal life. In such cases, grief finds no outlet or relief under constant mental pressure. Perhaps an object, book, or building and place are the source of the problem.

Third, regrets and guilt would have to be purged. Perhaps it is duties unfulfilled or targets not achieved that is the source of conflict. The counselor encourages a release of such pent up feelings and emotions and helps the individual come to terms with the situation. Replacing the negative thoughts with honorable memories of the person would bring a change of attitude.

Additional grief-coping strategies

What grief therapy requires is honoring the spirit and holding the hand. Discover the sanctity of silence and patiently listen to the heart and soul. Sharing the sorrow and offering healing words would make the person feel lighter through the session.

Adopt an intellectual approach?

Differentiating between Instrumental grieving and Intuitive grieving helps focus on the solutions. Problem-solving is the task behind Instrumental grieving with minimal attention given to emotional factors. Intuitive grieving involves sustained emotional expression and analyzing the lost relationship.

Recognizing death as a necessary end of existence is essential. Western cultures traditionally deny death. Eastern cultures accept the mortality aspect rather early in life and actively prepare for the final destination, according to religious texts. That would be a reasonable approach, and getting familiar with common death is wise to avoid excessive grieving when it finally happens.

Rituals to relieve bereavement

Humanity is lucky to observe a system of rituals dedicated to every situation. Just like dances and songs celebrate harvest festivals, the grieving process also observes rituals. The ceremonies pertain to Continuity and Transition, Affirmation, and Intensification.

  • Continuity indicates that the bond with the departed person still remains in spite of the physical loss.
  • Transition to life without the person could involve giving away the clothes they wore.
  • Affirmation could be expressed through writing about the lost person like in an obituary.
  • Intensification stresses the common feelings within the family or service group and observes ceremonies to mark death anniversaries like offering flowers.

Aiding the 'coping with grief' process

Like a sympathetic family doctor, the grief counselor or therapist listens carefully to the client's thoughts and feelings about the loss. Survivors are encouraged to accept their emotional responses, fears, and worries to be natural and expected under harsh circumstances. The challenge is to avoid further stress and help survivors to resume a healthy life in phases.  
Recovery from anxiety and sadness, frustration, and confusion can be devastating. Healthy daily life, along with associated activities, may gradually resume. Functions like household chores or professional work will take a while. Survivors require crutches temporarily but need to use their strengths and develop coping mechanisms for the long term.

Sensitive caring with soothing words and a patient ear with genuine empathy would gradually restore normalcy through the void remains unfilled. Referrals may be required for the use of institutional recovery resources. What is grief counseling? In the final analysis, it is what angels do to fight against the weakening impact of sorrows. Healing will come with time, and nobody will be left behind to fight the battles of life successfully.

Author Bio: A qualified psychologist and veteran social worker, the writer really understands what is grief counseling. Empathy and concern contributed to his success with social causes.

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