Grief Counselling

What is grief?

When we experience grief and loss it can be a very difficult time. Grief is the natural reaction to loss and can influence the physical, emotional, cognitive, behavioural and spiritual aspects of our lives.

 

Grief can be experienced in response to a variety of loss-related events, such as:

  • The loss of a loved one

  • Separation or divorce

  • The loss of a sense of safety or predictability

  • Physical incapacity through injury or disability

  • The loss of one’s home or community due to disaster.


People respond to loss in a variety of ways. Whilst some find it helpful to talk openly about the experience, others prefer time alone. When we experience a loss we also experience different stages of grief. More information about human reaction to change can be found here.

 

The intensity and duration of the grieving process differs between individuals. The experience of grief will typically dominate emotions, thoughts and behaviours for many weeks or months. As time passes, most individuals adjust and continue functioning well although a sense of loss will remain.

 

Most bereaved people do not need professional help. There are some people (estimated at 10 to 20 percent), however, who do require grief counselling.

Signs and symptoms of grief

A variety of emotions, thoughts, sensations, and behaviours can be associated with the grief experience, including:

Emotional

  • Sadness

  • Anger

  • Guilt and remorse

  • Anxiety

  • Loneliness

  • Helplessness

  • Shock and disbelief

  • Relief

  • A sense of yearning

  • Crying

Cognitive

  • Confusion

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Preoccupation with loss

  • Loss of interest in pleasurable activities

  • Vivid dreams or nightmares

Physical

  • Muscle tightness

  • Fatigue or reduced energy

  • Sleep disturbance

  • Changes in appetite

  • Health concerns

  • Aches and pains

  • Restlessness

Behavioural

  • Social withdrawal

  • Treasuring objects associated with the loss

  • Avoiding places or people that trigger memories of the loss

Underwater

Grief can feel like drowning.
Learn to keep swimming
and breath again.

Approach and strategies

Regardless of the circumstances, losing a loved one can cause great pain and suffering. Most people learn to manage grief and adjust to loss with time. Maintaining self-care activities and routines and having adequate social support available can be helpful during the time of adjustment.

 

For people who experience prolonged or complicated grief reactions, there are more targeted psychological interventions and strategies can be of benefit.

Self-care: Loss and grief can compromise a person ability to care for themselves. This has been associated with poor health outcomes. Maintaining self-care activities and routines can benefit both the physical and mental health of a grieving individual. Activities include:

 

  • Healthy and regular meals

  • Drinking plenty of water

  • Maintaining a routine

  • Physical exercise

  • Enjoyable activities

  • Limiting alcohol and drug use

  • Normal sleep patterns

  • Relaxation activities

  • Time with friends and family

  • Psychological counselling

Social support: Appropriate social support can reduce the psychological burden of grief. Individuals require different types and/or quantities of social support during the grieving process including:

 

  • Instrumental support: such as assistance with funeral arrangements, help with housework and meal preparation or help with insurance claims.

  • Emotional support: such as providing comfort and reassurance, talking about the loss, listening with compassion, or sharing memories.

  • Information support: such as financial advice or helping the individual understand how and/or why the loss occurred.

Psychological strategies: Psychological treatment for complicated or prolonged grief is beneficial and includes:

  • 'Meaning reconstruction' approaches that assist people find meaning and significance in their loss and ongoing lives.

  • Complicated grief treatment that addresses symptoms of loss by helping individuals re-establish relationships and focus on personal life goals.

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for complicated grief which promotes helpful thoughts and behaviours.

  • Focused family grief therapy that aims to enhance the functioning and communication within a family preventing complications of bereavement.

At iflow psychology we use an integrative approach drawing on various therapeutic models. We tailor treatment to your individual needs. We teach a set of basic tools to enhance relaxation and quality of life as a foundation. We also work on presenting issues. We also promote engagement in activities that involve ‘flow’ states to assist in achieving an optimal life style and quality of life.

How a Psychologist can help

Grief is a normal response to loss and many people learn to adjust to loss on their own. Some individuals, however, require assistance from a psychologist to help them adjust to loss and cope with grief.

 

We will discuss and assess your wellbeing to gain an understanding of your situation. We will then develop an appropriate therapy plan.

When to seek professional help

If grief is affecting your work, school, home life, or relationships, psychological assistance should be considered.

 

iflow psychology can assist.

 

Just contact us using one of the buttons below or book an appointment using our online system.


To claim a partial Medicare rebate for up to twenty sessions, ask your treating doctor to provide a referral and Mental Health Plan.

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02 6061 1144

48 Norton Street

Leichhardt NSW 2040

Sydney AUSTRALIA

admin@iflowpsychology.com.au

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