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  • allisoncgary

Grief Counseling

Updated: Dec 1, 2019

How we process grief can make a significant difference in our overall wellness and ability for moving forward.

Throughout my training to become a grief counselor, I have learned a deeper sense of how grief is a companion, and how we can utilize our grief as a continued connection with those we’ve lost to death. It is in the grief counseling process that there is opportunity for individuals to be supported with navigating life in the wake of loss that impacts our lives wholly.

Grief is a phenomenon that all individuals will experience during their lifetime. With grief comes a multitude of emotions that can make us feel crazy!

When individuals grieve, it can feel very out of control and that there is something “abnormal” and “wrong” about them or their grief. This adds to the American culture where often the initial response to grief is to avoid it, suppress it, contain it and control it, often we don't know what to do with grief other than "get over it." But life is no longer the same after a significant loss; normal is turned upside-down. This can leave us not knowing how to "move on."

As we process our grief, we do come to find a sense of integration. Our loss becomes part of us and moving forward in life can come easier with time and support. In grief counseling we are able to process our experiences with grief and there have support for emotional regulation, honoring the relationship with who/what was lost, and meeting ourselves where we are at with patience and acceptance.

Unprocessed grief can carry a huge burden to those who bear it, causing more difficulty and resistance in moving forward in life. Results can include heightened emotions over a lengthened period of time, denial or suppression of emotions that may stay turbulent under the surface, or feeling worn out and dried up without energy to feel like we can keep going. How we process grief can make a significant difference in our overall wellness and ability for moving forward.

In grief counseling, we work to support clients as they move through the darkness they find themselves in. Death and loss also come with life and new beginnings. The wounds will never completely erase, but with proper care there can be healing and new life that can grow from this immense pain.

Every individual will experience grief differently. Grief counselors help clients on their journey toward new life, their new identity without the physical presence of the person who died or from what has been lost, maintaining a sense of connection to that person/place/thing, and to help process the myriad emotions being experienced.

Grief counseling often utilizes interventions such as ritual, validation and normalization, existential exploration, grief education, narrative and creative expression, and empowering bereaved individuals with coping skills such as boundary setting and self-care.

Not all counselors/therapists/clinicians are the same, and not all are trained within grief counseling. Subsequently, I encourage individuals to do research to get connected with the right grief care and interview counselors to make sure it is a good fit so that true healing can occur.

The rapport between a client and counselor can be everything to feel safe and supported in the therapeutic process. Through grief counseling work, often individuals find increased resilience and strength through the expression of emotions, increased self-awareness, feeling successful within their areas of growth and uniting with grief as part of a new connection. All individuals are deserving of grief support and being able to honor their individual unique experiences. Accessing grief counseling can provide compassion and a safe supported space for exploring experiences on your grief journey.

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