Grief Therapy and Counselling

Grief, loss, and bereavement therapy can make all the difference to your life and wellbeing.

Grief Help Burlington ONUnderstanding the steps that can help you to heal from your loss is important to your physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual health.  We are here to help you in your healing journey.  The pain of loss, grief and bereavement can be debilitating and understanding what is happening to you and how you can move forward with your life is extremely important.

Understanding the kind of pain you are experiencing 

Grief, loss and bereavement all speak of painful loss but they can be better understood as different processes.

Loss

Specifically speaking loss can be defined as the process and fact of losing someone or something.  Though we do grieve in a loss but losses can involved more than a death(s).  Loss can include divorce, loss of a job, loss of a friendship, loss of health through illness or accident.  Even in positive changes there can be an experience of loss, such things as moving, getting married, having a child, a new job or promotion and other such experiences.

Grief

Grief is deep sadness and sorrow that involves suffering due to a loss usually caused by someone’s death.  Grief is the result of experiencing loss.  Grief is a process that a person is generally not aware of which involves a several stages.  In grief we experience numerous emotions such as deep sadness, hopelessness, anger, guilt, fear and confusion.  The intensity and volatility of grief differs with each person and situation.

Bereavement

Bereavement can be defined as a period of mourning after a loss, which usually involves a sense of desolation.  Bereavement is also a process of grieving the loss of a loved one where there is a letting go or lessening of grief.

The journey of grief is uniquely experienced by each person even though there are common experiences in the process.  In this grief process we may also be forced to deal with people and circumstances for which we are not prepared, which can add a burden to our bereavement.

Thoughts and behaviours of grieving

The internal experiences and outward behaviours of each grieving person is unique and diverse.  Some people lose their ability to function in everyday life while others appear not to be effected at all.  Grief can leave a person feeling purposeless or relieved, depending on their early childhood attachment and experience of trauma.

Behaviours can include (not exclusive to):

  • outbursts of anger
  • crying
  • excessive talking
  • excessive silence where you become taciturn
  • overly industrious
  • lazy and tired
  • laughing

Thoughts can include (not exclusive to):

  • “It’s my fault, I should have done something more.”
  • “I can’t do anything about it.”
  • “He/she had a good life.”
  • “They’re in a better place.”
  • “It wasn’t his/her time.”

There can be a wide spectrum of behaviours and thoughts when grieving but the question is which of these are healthy and which are unsafe?

What is the process of recovery from grief?

Each person’s recovery from grief is unique and needs to be assessed so that effective psychotherapy can be administered to help bring the healing that is needed.

Some are able to process and work through there grief within a few months time others are stuck and can’t seem to ever move forward even years after the loss. Grief often times cannot be resolved because of past root issues that have never been addressed.  Such things as:

  • lack of healthy touch in infancy and childhood
  • a lack of quality emotional connectedness with your parents
  • loss of a parent, sibling, significant family member or friend
  • childhood traumas and neglects

All of these can hinder a person’s ability to process their grief.  Grief that appears to be unresolvable is the direct result of unresolved root issues.  Root issues need to be addressed and resolve if grief is to be resolved.

Complicated Grief

The term complicated grief refers to a persistent form of grief that dominates a person’s life that interferes with daily healthy function of a person’s life.  Though grief of a significant loss is not something that someone ever fully resolves, but it can be resolved to a healthy level.  Where grief becomes complicated is when the symptoms are persistent and at times unceasing, they tend to be pervasively effecting your life.

Complicated grief can include:

  • Pervasive and intense sadness.
  • Preoccupation or obsessive thinking about the circumstances surrounding the death of the loved one or with the deceased themselves.
  • Yearning, longing, or pining for the deceased.
  • Feelings of emptiness or meaningless.
  • Struggle to engage in happy talk or memories.
  • Avoiding reminders of the deceased love one.
  • Bitterness or anger towards God, the deceased, medical professionals, self, others.
  • Lack of desire and motivation in pursuing personal plans and interests.

Grief Therapy 

When a person’s thoughts, feelings and behaviours are distressing, persistent, and incites cause for concern it is important to pursue professional therapeutic help.  At New Hope Counselling Centre we offer hope for a better tomorrow where we provide a supportive, safe and accepting environment for you.  We will help you to cope with stressors, give you management techniques, and help you to develop resources.  We then will help you through your journey of healing using proven effective therapies and techniques that will help you to regain your life and vitality.

Don’t go through this alone call us today and request a complimentary 15 minute telephone consultation or start by booking an appointment today!

Grief Quiz

This quiz is designed to help determine whether you are affected by complicated grief due to a significant loss.

Instructions: For each item, make a note of how much you agree or disagree with each statement. It is important to answer truthfully and to take your time for best results.

Take Test

1. I find it upsetting when I think of the person who died or left me.

Never = 0

Rarely = 1

Sometimes = 2

Often = 3

Always or very frequently = 4

2. It’s hard for me to do what I normally do because I think about this person so much.

Never = 0

Rarely = 1

Sometimes = 2

Often = 3

Always or very frequently = 4

3. I feel that I can’t get over or accept the loss of the person who died or left me.

Never = 0

Rarely = 1

Sometimes = 2

Often = 3

Always or very frequently = 4

4. I long for the person who died or left.

Never = 0

Rarely = 1

Sometimes = 2

Often = 3

Always or very frequently = 4

5. I am drawn to places and things that was associated with the person who died or left.

Never = 0

Rarely = 1

Sometimes = 2

Often = 3

Always or very frequently = 4

6. I can’t believe what happened (death/loss).

Never = 0

Rarely = 1

Sometimes = 2

Often = 3

Always or very frequently = 4

7. I feel angry about their death (leaving).

Never = 0

Rarely = 1

Sometimes = 2

Often = 3

Always or very frequently = 4

8. I feel like I am in shock and often dazed at what happened concerning the person who died (left).

Never = 0

Rarely = 1

Sometimes = 2

Often = 3

Always or very frequently = 4

9. It’s hard for me to trust people since their death (loss).

Never = 0

Rarely = 1

Sometimes = 2

Often = 3

Always or very frequently = 4

10. I feel distant from people I usually care about or I feel like I can’t care about other people since their death (loss).

Never = 0

Rarely = 1

Sometimes = 2

Often = 3

Always or very frequently = 4

11. Most of the time I feel lonely since their death (loss).

Never = 0

Rarely = 1

Sometimes = 2

Often = 3

Always or very frequently = 4

12. I experience pain in my body either in the same spot all the time or experience the same symptoms as the person who died or left me.

Never = 0

Rarely = 1

Sometimes = 2

Often = 3

Always or very frequently = 4

13. I feel that life is empty and without meaning since the person died or left me.

Never = 0

Rarely = 1

Sometimes = 2

Often = 3

Always or very frequently = 4

14. I avoid reminders of the person who died or left me.

Never = 0

Rarely = 1

Sometimes = 2

Often = 3

Always or very frequently = 4

15. I feel envy or jealousy of others who have not lost someone close to them like I have.

Never = 0

Rarely = 1

Sometimes = 2

Often = 3

Always or very frequently = 4

16. I feel bitterness or resentment over the person’s death (loss).

Never = 0

Rarely = 1

Sometimes = 2

Often = 3

Always or very frequently = 4

17. I feel that it’s not fair that I should live since this person has died or left me.

Never = 0

Rarely = 1

Sometimes = 2

Often = 3

Always or very frequently = 4

18. I hear the voice of the person speak to me who has died or left me and is no longer in my life.

Never = 0

Rarely = 1

Sometimes = 2

Often = 3

Always or very frequently = 4

19. I see the person who has died or left appear to me and even stand before me.

Never = 0

Rarely = 1

Sometimes = 2

Often = 3

Always or very frequently = 4

S C O R I N G   K E Y

26 & up – Complicated grief is likely

23 – 25 – Possibility of complicated grief

0 – 22 – Complicated grief is unlikely

References and sources:
Katherine Shear M.D. and Susan Essock Ph.D, University of Pittsburgh, 2002

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