Grief Counseling

When it comes to grief, it is important to recognize that grief looks different for everyone and can affect individuals of all ages. Individuals process the emotions surrounding grief in myriad ways, and the time frame is highly dependent on the individual and their attachment to whomever/whatever was lost. 

The purpose of grief counseling is to help individuals work through the various stages and range of emotions one may feel after a loss. Common stages of grief include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Again, there is no set timeline or process of grieving, and the stages of grief can be experienced in any amount and order. 

What are the different types of grief and their manifestations?

  • Complicated --- occurs when the symptoms of grief persist for up to a year or longer, and individuals experience...
    • Intense sadness and emotional distress
    • Feeling empty/hopeless
    • Desire to reunite with a loved one
    • Persistent thinking about the deceased individual/cause of death
    • Trouble engaging in good memories of the lost individual 
    • Avoiding objects, places, people that remind them of their loss
    • Detachment and isolation from support network
  • Traumatic --- unprepared to lose an individual; loss occurs suddenly; symptoms may occur hours, days, weeks, or months after the traumatic incident 
  • Broken Heart Syndrome --- during the grieving process, the body may release stress hormones that can cause part of one's heart to swell, beat unevenly, and beat irregularly 
  • Depression and Grief --- if one is grieving, a depressive episode can be triggered, making the grieving process worse 

What techniques are used in grief counseling?

  • Main stages of processing:
    • Accept the reality of the loss
    • Wade through the pain the grief has brought about
    • Adjusting to life without the deceased individual 
    • How to maintain a connection with the deceased while also moving on with one's own life 
  • Therapeutic techniques:
    • Guiding the client to discuss the loss (with as much detail as if comfortable), what the person meant to the individual, and the circumstances surrounding the passing 
    • Discuss feelings and emotions (in any form) surrounding the loss 
    • Cultivating coping mechanisms to handle difficult events, such as holidays, anniversaries, or birthdays
    • Learning that grief is a normal process and is expected
    • How to move on 

Here at Madrigal, we are committed to addressing issues related to grief in a holistic manner.

*This information was adapted from Web MD. Click this link for more information.*