What Is Grief Counseling and How Can It Help?

grief counseling

Grief is a heavy, distressing feeling, yet a natural response to losing someone or something you value or love. While traditionally associated with the death of a loved one, grief can occur after any event resulting in loss, such as losing a job, a breakup or divorce, a miscarriage, infertility, children going away to college, the death of a beloved pet, moving out of a house, or the loss of bodily function, just to name a few things.

If you’re experiencing grief, you don’t have to process this powerful emotion on your own. Grief counseling can help you process your feelings and move through your grief in a way that works for you.

What exactly is grief counseling?

Grief counseling is a type of professional therapy that’s designed to help you process and cope with a loss. Grief counseling generally includes four main goals, including:

  • To accept the reality of loss
  • To work through the pain of grief
  • To adjust to life without the person/thing you lost
  • To maintain a connection with the person/thing you lost while finding ways to move on with life

There’s also bereavement therapy, which relates specifically to the death of a loved one.

What are the stages of grief?

Everyone experiences grief differently, however, people commonly experience five distinct stages of grief, which include:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance.

Counseling will help you work through the various stages of grief and process the range of emotions you feel after losing something important to you.

What techniques are used in grief counseling?   

Each counselor or therapist may use a different approach to help their patients process their grief, however, two methods that are commonly used in grief counseling and bereavement therapy include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).

CBT is a type of talk therapy used to treat mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. During a CBT session, the therapist will help you identify negative thought patterns that can affect your mood and behaviors. They can then help you develop healthier thought patterns and behaviors using strategies such as reframing, reinterpreting, and targeting behaviors. 

ACT is another type of therapy that encourages people to embrace their thoughts and feelings rather than fighting or feeling guilty for them.

There’s also grief counseling for children, which may include talk therapy and the use of dolls, puppets, stuffed animals, art, and books to help them process their feelings and make sense of the experience.

Healing is unique to each individual, however, generally speaking, experts suggest most people reach a place of acceptance by six months.

Counseling Plainfield Illinois, my goal as a therapist offering, is to find solutions that work for you on an individual basis, helping you to discover the true potential of your life, so everyday can be a celebration, and feel like a real ‘breath of fresh air.’ There may be no magic button or quick-fix solution when it comes to changing things from the past that have been difficult, but what we can do is work together to find comfort and resolve in the difficult areas of your life, and the challenges you have to face.

We provide counseling services to Plainfield, Romeoville, Shorewood, Joliet, Oswego, Naperville, Yorkville, Bolingbrook, and Aurora and the surrounding areas in Will County, IL.