Grief Counseling

Grief Counseling

Grief Counseling

Grief counseling is a form of therapy for those who have recently lost a loved one. An overload of emotions can affect a client who is experiencing grief, sadness and pain. It's normal to go through a rollercoaster of emotions while grieving and there are healthy ways to deal with this pain which can be learned through grief counseling. The greater the loss, the more overwhelming the grief will feel.  Whether or not the loss pertains to a breakup, job, friendship or passing it is effective to understand the need to grieve and accept the situation for what it is. This is an individual experience and how a person deals with it is going to depend on the nature of their loss and personality. The healing process varies from weeks to months to years. Patience and acceptance are important throughout grief counseling.

Goals of Grief Counseling

The goal of therapy is to help the patient heal from their loss and act as a support system. Some may be uncomfortable in talking about their feelings toward others. Therapy makes this burden easier to carry around. By connecting with peers and a counselor the client doesn't have to go through the loss alone. The therapist helps the individual work through the emotions and obstacles associated with this loss. They will clarify how letting the emotions take their course is necessary. The counselor will help them cope with some losses by showing them how they can pick up the pieces of their life and put them back together. From counseling the client can gain a deeper understanding of the personal process and learn how to go through with the next step, toward a more pleasant life – even in times of pain.

When is Grief Counseling Used?

Grief counseling is used when an individual is having difficulty dealing with the death or loss of a loved one. It may also be used when a client has recently lost a job, home or pet. Therapy is effective when a person needs to understand the mourning process and explore the ideas that are preventing them from moving forward in life. Grief counseling is suited for those who need help in clearing up parts of the conflict associated with the loss. Counseling isn't used to make the person stop missing what was there but help them adjust to a new self so that they can move forward. It is aimed toward those who want to learn how they can heal and begin functioning normally. The counselor will help the person find a way to keep the memories yet move forward without letting that absence affect them from picking the pieces back up.

How Grief Counseling Works

Grief counseling works by assisting the client in working through the feelings that are associated with the loss. The therapist will work to help them accept it and figure out how they can go on with their lives while keeping the memories. Counseling assists people in going through the grieving process properly by informing them on the symptoms and changes they are likely to experience. It is common that some clients will feel some numbness as a result of this and need counseling so that they can begin to function normally.

For some the grieving may persist for an extreme amount of time and affect them in a physical manner. For others there may not be any symptoms besides numbness of emotions. A therapist will show the client how to go through their daily activities while dealing with this burden of emotions. They will focus on some coping skills that help the individual bring some order back into their lives. It's often that sleeping patterns are disturbed after a loss. Grief counseling can help a client use temporary strategies that keep them calm throughout the day and night. At times therapeutic letters are a great way to express client's thoughts that weren't exposed to the individual before a loss. For some, additional counseling may be necessary if they are unable to handle the emotions and change. The counselor looks at the ways that the client is saying goodbye and speculates whether or not they need additional help in coping with the pain.

Criticisms of Grief Counseling

Some criticism toward grief counseling has to do with abnormal grief reactions and how the therapy guidelines may not attune to the patients who are having an aggressive grieving period. Others argue that this is very effective for those who have suffered from a prolonged grieving period.


Grief counseling and grief therapy for adults. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Meiche, M. (n.d.). Bereavement counseling and the process of grief. Retrieved from

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