Bereavement Counselling in North London and Online 

What is Bereavement Counselling?

Losing a loved one can not only be painful, but also a complex experience. Bereavement is a perfectly normal process of grief following a death. This grief can take place after the loss of a  loved one who was very close to you and whom you loved dearly, but could also take place after losing someone with whom you had a more complex relationship with.  Grief can expose you to feelings of sadness, guilt, anger and anxiety.  Bereavement counselling can help you make sense of this loss and what is means for you, and also guide you through the stages of bereavement. I am particularly interested in working with those who may be experiencing disenfranchised grief; this being grief that does not always receive the same acknowledgement, validation or even sympathy in society, for example, when you have lost someone to suicide or addiction.  A person may also experience disenfranchised grief when they have lost someone with whom they have had a complex relationship with, such as a spouse they were separated from or someone who had abused them. 

Closeup of comforting hands

Stages of grief 

Denial 

When we have lost someone, it can be hard to accept and acknowledge that they have really gone. We may carry on with life as though we have not experienced this loss and our loved one is still here. 

Anger 

Anger is a common emotion following a death. We may be angry at the person for dying, angry at ourselves for things we could have/should have done prior to their death, and also feel anger at those around us.

Bargaining 

At this stage we bargain with ourselves and sometimes a higher power (for example God or the Universe), We ask "what if I had done X Y Z?" and question whether the outcome could have possibly been different. 

Depression 

There can be very intense feelings of sadness following a grief, which often comes in waves. We can feel so hopeless and down, and feel as though our sadness is never going to end. 

 

Acceptance 

There will come a time following a bereavement that we slowly begin to accept the loss. While we may never fully move on from the death, we may begin to feel as though we can smile and laugh again, and eventually there is a sense that the dark cloud has lifted.

Bereavement specialist David Kessler introduced a sixth stage of grief recently, this being:

Finding meaning 

Kessler suggests that during the sixth stage of grief, we can find meaning in our loss. Kessler gives the example of a parent loosing their child through suicide, who then finds meaning by working for organisations that help other parents whose child has taken their own life. It usually takes time and healing to reach this stage. 

It is important to note that the above stages do not happen in a linear order.  For example, the depression may come before feelings of anger. It is also possible to move in and out of the stages. Each person's bereavement process is individual to them, and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. 

Bereavement and grief resources 

Below are some resources that I have found very helpful on the subject of loss, bereavement and grief:

Five Stages of Grief by Elisabeth Kubler Ross & David Kessler

Get help with grief after bereavement or loss - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Understanding grief - Cruse Bereavement Support

64 Examples of Disenfranchised Grief - Whats your Grief

When Someone we love has died - YouTube

 

Bereavement Counselling in North London and Online

If you feel you may benefit from bereavement counselling please feel free to contact me. 

 

            

Wet Autumn Leaves