Are you experiencing intense emotional pain due to a loss in your life?
Do you feel numb or paralyzed and unable to concentrate, like you want to “escape”? Are you feeling misunderstood or that no one really gets it? Or perhaps you put on a happy face for those around you and then feel isolated and alone.
It may seem that the pain will never end. You might fear that you will never be able to get through this. Yes, things are forever different and you are forever changed.
But it does get better.
What is Grief?
Grief is the emotional suffering we feel after a loss of some kind. The grief that follows a major loss can seem unbearable, but grief is actually a healing process.
While grief experiences are highly individual, the experience can be likened to waves – long and intense emotions at first with gradually shorter and less intense emotional periods as time passes.
Most people are unprepared to grieve since so often tragedy strikes suddenly without warning. You may also find that you don’t receive the kind of support you need from those in your support system, especially with comments such as, “look on the bright side.” While others may want to cheer you up, it’s important to actually go through what you are feeling and not what others want you to feel. You might also experience friends and family as supportive at first, but then as time passes their support may wane and you might feel the expectation that you should “be over it” or that you’re a burden. Grief counseling can help you move through the grief recovery process with support and understanding.
Loss & Grief Counseling Can Help You:
- Acknowledge your loss
- Find hope and encouragement
- Work through intense emotions
- Get support and understanding
- Move through unresolved grief
- Find peace with yourself and your life
- Express your feelings
- Resolve guilt
- Move towards acceptance and forgiveness
- Find meaning and joy again
You Can’t Make My Pain Go Away
Grief counseling won’t take your pain away. We can’t change what has happened. However, grief and bereavement counseling can help you move through the grieving process. When we don’t have support or resources for managing intense pain, we can get stuck. Feeling overwhelmed, anxiety and depression, substance abuse, loneliness, low self-esteem and anger are other symptoms that can accompany grief. Our goal is to provide you compassionate support and understanding in such a way that it allows you to heal. In sessions, we will work with you to develop coping strategies, move through grief at the right time and pace for you, and ultimately, resolve your grief.
Resolving Grief/Loss Means:
- Claiming your circumstances instead of them claiming you and getting stuck in powerlessness.
- Experiencing grief in your own unique way.
- Being able to enjoy fond memories without having the precipitation of painful feelings of loss, guilt, regret or remorse.
- Finding new meaning in living.
- Acknowledging that it is ok to feel bad from time to time, and to talk about those feelings.
- Being able to forgive others when they say or do things that you know are based on a lack of knowledge and understanding.
- Creating a new life for yourself.
Why Can’t I Just Get Over It?
It’s important to understand that normal grief is a process, it takes time to heal. We also never really “get over” a loss, we just move through it to a place of acceptance and develop coping skills along the way. Just as the body takes time to heal a physical wound, our psyche heals through grieving. The grief process is not linear, but more often experienced in cycles. Grief can be compared to climbing a spiral staircase where things look and feel as if you are going in circles, yet you are actually making progress. Five stages of grief have been identified (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance), but not everyone goes through each of those stages of grief and that’s ok! We each heal in our own way.
Factors that can complicate grief include denying or pushing down painful feelings, alcohol and drug use to cope, or not having an outlet for support of what you are actually feeling. Participating in counseling for grief and loss can help you move forward.
We can support you in finding positive ways to cope with grief, and will strive to help you find the best way for YOU to adjust to life after your loss. We want to help you find peace and healing. Coping with loss is possible and your symptoms associated with grief will fade over time.
Types of Losses
If you’re feeling stuck in intense and painful emotions, you may need to acknowledge that your loss was significant. There are many types of losses beyond death that can trigger the grief response. Grief and loss counseling may benefit you if you are experiencing ANY type of loss. Coping with loss can be hard to do on your own when overwhelmed by difficult emotions. Professional grief counseling can help you deal with grief your own way with skill and support.
The varying things that a person can experience during the course of their life that can result in feelings of grief and loss include:
- Death of a loved one
- Ending of an important relationship
- Loss of a relationship with a parent through divorce
- Feelings of loss for a friend that moved away
- Loss of job/career
- Physical impairment, loss of health, physical stamina; chronic illness
- Serious illness of a loved one
- Damaged reputation
- Loss of a pet
- Not being able to return to school, friends, family, work
- Recognizing that life dreams will not be realized
- Major life change
- Life transitions
- Traumatic loss or traumatic stress
- Chronic pain
What is Complicated Grief?
Some people experience complicated grief after a significant loss. If you have lost someone and have been struggling with symptoms such as avoidance of reminders of the loss, excessive worry or thoughts about the person you lost, and feelings of intense pain, which has persisted for a long period of time, you may have complicated grief. Other symptoms include intense yearning for the person or a sense of loss of meaning or purpose without the person in your life.
Some people experiencing complicated grief have also had suicidal thoughts. (If you or someone you love has had thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24-7 at 1-800-273-8255.
Prolonged grief can make it challenging to live your daily life. If you are feeling stuck in this deep pain, know that help is available.
You Can Heal through Grief Counseling
Our grief counselors understand and care about what you are going through. We’ve also experienced major losses, maybe not the exact same as yours, but we know how life changing and devastating it feels. And we know how difficult it can be to cope with the pain and get the support you need from others who are generally uncomfortable with your pain. As compassionate people who care, we’d love to offer the support you need. As trained grief therapists, we will help you recover.
Online Counseling Available
The heavy weight of grief and bereavement can sometimes make it difficult to reach out for help. To increase accessibility and convenience, our licensed professionals also offer online counseling. We recommend that you attend the first counseling session in person and ask your therapist if video therapy sessions would be an option for you. Grief therapy can be conducted through video sessions using our secure and confidential video conferencing platform.