What is Bereavement Therapy?

The loss of a loved one due to bereavement can result in a plethora of feelings, including grief. You may experience a dramatic change in your mood, experiencing such things as anger, sadness and even guilt as you try to adapt to dealing with loss. How you adapt to cope with bereavement can vary radically from person to person with much depending upon your religious beliefs, family reaction and status of the lost relationship.

There is no getting away from having to deal with bereavement during our lifetime and the upsetting feelings that it brings with it. However, if your find yourself feeling continually depressed or distressed and the sadness just not abating and becoming invasive with regard to the daily life, then consulting a professional therapist could be the way to go.

It is important to separate bereavement counselling from bereavement therapy, as they are, in fact, two different avenues. Bereavement counselling often aims to help the person who has lost a loved one cope with the more usual feelings and symptoms associated with grief. Bereavement counselling aims to help the person reach a healthy resolution which enables them to move on with their lives.

Bereavement Therapy, however is a type of Psychotherapy, which deals with the more complex, traumatic responses to the loss of a loved one or a disaster in the community where a number of people have passed away. Such symptoms of this type of grief can manifest in physical, extreme emotional feelings, and without support, can lead in to depression and anxiety.

Your bereavement therapist or bereavement counsellor will be trained to understand that every person experiences grief in a different way. It is a uniquely personal thing and so they will tailor your treatment to suit your circumstances and feelings. Part of their work may be to help you find ways of continuing your connection with your deceased loved one, so that you still feel close to them whilst moving forward with your life. The type of counselling or therapy you will embark upon, can be discussed with your bereavement specialist at your first session.

Working with your therapist

As well as individual therapy, group therapy may also be suggested as sharing thoughts and feelings with others in the same position can help if you are struggling with symptoms of grief. Whether you are experiencing depression, denial or anger and finding it difficult to form acceptance, working with a therapist can enable you to accept the reality and pain and adjust to life without your loved one.

  • Bereavement counselling can help you to understand the mourning process

  • It can help you to resolve issues / feelings that prevent you from moving on

  • You may be able to better adjust to the situation and your life ahead

  • Explore any symptoms associated with your loss which manifest in depression or anxiety

The aim of bereavement counselling is to help you reach normality again, to help you cope with life’s daily stressors and to give you strength to move on. You can still retain the memory and impact the person had on your life in a positive way.

What to expect for a Bereavement Therapy Session

A bereavement counselling session will help you explore your emotions. During the first session, you may be asked about the loss, about your connection or relationship with the person that passed away, and about your feelings now since your loved one passed.

These initial questions may help bring up emotions connected with your loss and you may experience some strong emotional responses during this first session. Your therapist will facilitate any outbursts you might display within reason, as this can be important part of the bereavement counselling process.

Your therapist may encourage you to think creatively about the challenges you face ahead, associated with loss, and how you can overcome them.

Bereavement therapists and counsellors believe that where support might be lacking in other areas of life, bereavement therapy or counselling may be a good avenue to take.

The amount of sessions you can expect to attend can be discussed and organised with your therapist. Please remember that attending counselling is not admitting defeat or weakness. Bereavement counselling and bereavement therapy can help give you the strength and equip you with techniques needed to cope with the difficult stages of grief.

Booking an appointment

If you would like us to put you in touch with a therapist that can help you cope with your bereavement, please select from our list on the right hand side of the page, or alternatively, use our search facility to find a therapist or counsellor in your area.