Processing grief and loss

Woman experiencing grief leans on loved one for support.

Photo by Kulli Kittus on Unsplash.

The roadmap for processing grief and loss is long and winding. Grief is a natural reaction to the experience of loss. However, this doesn’t mean that it feels natural. If you are someone who has gone through grief already, you know the deep and overwhelming sense of sadness that it brings. It can feel like your entire world has been shattered and that there is no way forward. When you’re feeling lost while trying to process grief, a counsellor can provide the guidance and comfort to help you find your way again.

Grief comes in many forms. Most commonly, we think of grief in the context of mourning the loss of a loved one. However, grief can be triggered by loss in any area of life. Sometimes just recognising that you are grieving is an important step toward being able to heal. Examples of other forms of grief and loss include:

  • Relationship breakdown
  • Moving house
  • Job termination
  • Miscarriage
  • The loss of one’s personal sense of safety
  • An event that does not happen directly to the person who is grieving.

The stages of grief

The five phases of grief most commonly referred to today are: denial, ange, bargaining, depression and acceptance. However, the experience of grief does not occur in succinct stages. Grief can play out over months or years, come in waves and may include only some of the 5 stages in varying order. Occasionally, people experience suicidal thoughts, poor physical health, substance misuse and general anxiety and depression alongside grief.

How can counselling help?

Two people sitting across from one another holding coffee mugs.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Your counsellor will provide a comforting and gentle space to talk about your feelings of loss. Within that safe space, they will validate and help make sense of the complicated emotions that surface. Whether you are overwhelmed with tears or find yourself quite numb, your counsellor will sit with the pain and assist you to process it in a way that is meaningful. They will provide coping strategies to help with daily life while also working toward a long-term sense of peace. The aim of grief counselling is not to forget or erase the pain of your loss but rather, to honour and accept your experience. Ultimately, you will find that you are able to connect to your feelings of grief without becoming stuck.

People aren’t meant to go through grief alone. Processing your loss with a warm, empathetic counsellor feels like seeing a lighthouse through the darkness when you’re being tossed by wave after wave of grief. If you have experienced a loss, whether recent or historic, please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our counsellors today.