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BLOG: Grief and Loss - How Counselling can help navigate your emotions

Updated: Oct 28, 2023

In this blog we will look at Grief and Loss and how counselling can help.


What is Grief and Loss?

Grief and Loss are related concepts, but they are not the same thing. They are often used interchangeably, but there are two distinctions between them.


LOSS:


Loss is a broad term that refers to the experience of no longer having something or someone that was significant in your life. It can encompass a wide range of situations and is not limited to the death of a person/pet.


Loss can have a profound and multi-faceted impact on a person's life, affecting them emotionally, psychologically, socially and even physically. The extent and nature of these impacts can vary widely depending on the type of loss, the individual's personality, coping mechanisms, and support system.


Loss can result from various circumstances, including death, the end of a relationship (such as divorce or separation), job loss, a serious illness or disability, the loss of a pet, loss of a friendship, loss of a home, loss of reputation, loss of belief system, a major life transition, even the loss of cherished possessions or a sense of security.

Loss can be tangible (e.g., the physical absence of a person or thing) or intangible (e.g., the loss of trust, innocence, or a sense of purpose).


GRIEF:


Grief, on the other hand, is the emotional and psychological response to loss. It’s the natural and often intense reaction that people have when they experience a significant loss.


Grief encompasses a wide range of emotions including sadness, anger, guilt, shock, confusion, and even relief. These emotions can be both intense and fluctuating.


Grief is a process that people go through as they come to terms with the impact of the loss they have experienced in their lives. It can involve various stages, such as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, although not everyone experiences these states in the same way or order.


Grief is not only an emotional and psychological experience but also one that can have significant impact on your physical well-being. The mind and body are intricately connected and when you’re grieving, the emotional and psychological toll can manifest in various physical ways such as Fatigue, Sleep Disturbances, Physical Aches and Pains, Weakened Immune System, Gastrointestinal Issues, Respiratory Problems, Appetite Changes, Cardiovascular Effects.


HOW COUNSELLING HELPS WITH GRIEF AND LOSS:


Counselling is a valuable resource for individuals navigating the complex terrain of grief and loss. Here are some ways in which Counselling can provide support.


Safe Space for Expression: One of the primary benefits of counselling is that it offers a safe, non-judgmental space for people to express their feelings, thoughts and behaviours. This can be extremely important when grieving, as some emotions may be too overwhelming to share with friends or family.


Emotional Regulation: Grief can trigger intense and sometimes confusing emotions. Counsellors are skilled in helping people understand and regulate these emotions, making the grieving process more manageable.


Coping Strategies: Counselling equips people with effective coping strategies to help navigate their grief. These strategies may include mindfulness techniques, journaling, and relaxation exercises to help manage anxiety and stress.


Supportive Listening: Counsellors are trained to be compassionate listeners and be empathetic. They provide a listening ear without judgement, allowing people to open up and navigate their feelings and memories related to their loss.


Preventing Complicated Grief: In some cases, grief can become complicated, leading to prolonged emotional distress and difficulty in moving forward. Counsellors can identify signs of complicated grief and intervene with appropriate therapeutic techniques or engage services of a specialist to assist, such as a Psychologist/Psychiatrist.


Rebuilding Life: Grief often involves a process of rebuilding one's life after the loss. Counsellors can assist people in setting goals, finding purpose, and developing a new sense of identity in the absence of what was lost.


CONCLUSION:


Grief and loss and prolonged experiences touch us to our core. While they can be incredibly challenging, seeking counselling during these times can be a vital step towards healing and recovery. Counsellors offer a safe and supportive environment for you to navigate the complex emotions and challenges that can come with grief, and learn effective coping strategies.


If you or someone you know is struggling with grief, remember that counselling is a valuable resource that can provide the support and help needed to emerge stronger on the other side - it can make all the difference. Remember, you don't have to go through it alone!




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