Bereavement & Loss Counselling
Bereavement and loss come in many different forms. It can be the death of a loved one – husband, wife, child, parent, relative or friend. Loss can also be felt in other situations such as divorce, separation, redundancy, illness, injury or loss of sexual function. Every situation and personal response is unique in the manner and time it takes to recover and feel able to participate in and engage with your life again.
The loss of a partner or spouse
This often happens after a long-term relationship, where a couple have shared many years of life experiences and intimacy. The bereaved partner may have to adjust to living alone for the first time in their lives, having to do everything their partner did, learning new skills and managing alone. This can add to the desolation of their loss.
Grieving is not always straight forward and can be complicated by conflicting emotions of love, anger, guilt or frustration and regret about feelings which went unexpressed. Anxiety, weeping, panic, sleeplessness and loss of appetite are common responses. For those who have close relatives and friends and a good support network, they may work through the process feeling loved and cared for, even if still bereft and missing their partner. For those who don’t have this, they can feel isolated and overwhelmingly lonely.
The loss of a child
Whether through accident or illness, still birth or miscarriage, there is profound grieving which can result in depression, anxiety, insomnia and lack of appetite. It can be desperately hard to continue with all life’s demands which can impact on siblings who are also grieving the loss. If it is a sudden death, there is no opportunity for mental or emotional preparation, and depending on the circumstances, can result in post-traumatic shock.
Other examples of loss
A disabling illness or accident, loss of sexual function or redundancy from a long term employment are all some of the situations which change the quality of life and require a period of adjustment to the loss. Learning to live in a new way, not being able to function as before can result in varying symptoms and emotions. Partners and families also may suffer as they are affected and have to adjust to the changed circumstances.
How can counselling help?
If you are feeling stuck and not progressing through the stages of bereavement, then counselling is an opportunity to explore your situation and express yourself in a way you may not want to with others. If you feel that your grief is burdensome or distressing to your family and friends but still need to express it, you can do so in the safety of the counselling room and the therapeutic relationship with your counsellor. Counselling is an opportunity for support for those suffering the loneliness of loss and to help them gain insight into ways to relieve that loneliness and the confidence to take steps forward.