At some point we all have to face the pain of losing someone, or something, we care deeply about. Death and loss are the givens of existence that we are all forced to confront. Bereavement is the natural, painful and often devastating response to the loss of a loved one. In grieving, feelings related to this loss affect all aspects of our being, the emotional, spiritual and physical. Each person will respond uniquely, depending on your individual situation, your age, personality, cultural background, religious beliefs, previous life experiences and personal circumstances. There is no ‘normal’ or ‘right way’ to grieve, but you may be struggling to cope with some of the following feelings:
The first response to a bereavement is usually one of shock. You may feel numb and unable to feel, perhaps living as if nothing has happened or disorientated as if you have lost your place and purpose in the world.
Denial then follows, as we struggle to accept the reality of the loss. You might find yourself re-enacting activities as if nothing has changed, such as making a cup of tea for the person who is no longer with you, or calling their phone.
These feelings of denial may then progress into feelings of anger: death can seem cruel and unfair especially if you feel your loved one has died prematurely or unexpectedly. Some times we may struggle to come into terms with the loss of a person that we have "unfinished business" with. You may feel angry with the person who has died or with yourself, with what you did or didn’t do. Such emotions can manifest in a variety of ways, including blaming others for our loss, becoming easily agitated, and having emotional outbursts.
Guilt: perhaps you feel are somehow to blame or that you didn’t do enough, especially if you had a conflictual or confusing relationship with the deceased.
Depression can follow that brings symptoms such as sleepiness, irritability, changes in appetite, physical pains, loss of motivation and social withdrawal. You may feel that life has lost it's meaning.
Finally, in a healthy cycle of grief, you at some point move to a position of acceptance. You realise that life must go on. While you may still think about the person that you have lost, these thoughts become less intense and less frequent.
How can bereavement counselling and psychotherapy help?
If you are struggling to cope you may be more likely to experience stress related reactions such as struggling to sleep, deteriorating relationships, alcohol and substance misuse, self-harm, and other risky behaviours. Therapy offers a safe space to be yourself and express your feelings, to begin connecting with the meaning of your responses to this life-changing situation and authentically come to terms with living in a world which is irreversibly changed. Everybody's process is different, and the length of time this takes will be unique to each mourner. The process of mourning may also reveal other losses that may be feared and defended against such as youth, retirement fear of change, the loss of a home, job, friendship, parent, child. It underlines how much we have to lose, loved ones, possibilities and opportunities, hopes, ambitions, and our physical and mental capacities. Bereavement counselling cannot help you only if you have lost a loved one. It can be that you have lost a community, a country through war, a long-held job that gave you a sense of identity, or a pet that you felt emotionally attached to.
At Tree of Life Clinic we offer the following options for bereavement counselling and psychotherapy:
> couples therapy
> family therapy
> group therapy
Find our more
If you would like to discuss your therapy options with a member of our staff, give us a call on 08001934551 today or send us an email email@example.com.
Tree of Life Clinic -
Healing Mind, Body & Spirit
a: 17 Percy Street, W1T 1DU
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