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Grief Counseling

What is Grief Counseling?

Grief counseling is a form of psychotherapy in which the mental health professional helps their patient recover from a loss. Often, the patient lacks the understanding necessary to process the grief on their own, and hence they need the help of a trained guide. Therapists trained in grief counseling understand the correct way to help an individual process grief, and they also know how to process their own grief. They use these tools to guide their patient through a step-by-step process to get them to express their sorrow in a healthy, empowering way, which completes the grieving process. In fact, grief counselors often refer to this moment as “getting complete” with the loss.

Getting complete does not mean that you no longer feel sad about the loss, or that you no longer miss what you’ve lost. It does mean that you accept the loss. From that point forward, you’ll be able to return to the world and function as a healthy human being, because you have said all there is to say, and expressed all of the sorrow you can express. You accept that the loss occurred, and are ready to move forward.

Grief counseling involves counseling individuals with various kinds of grief. It is a well-known fact that the loss of a loved one is a devastating event involving many emotions for the grieving person. Unless the bereaved can come to terms with the feelings of the loss, they will never be able to move on with their life and find closure. Grief counseling is the assistance many people need to process that death.

Grief counselors are trained to work with those who are struggling with their grief process. They may be psychiatric nurses, clergy, psychiatrists, physicians assistants (PAs,) social workers, or psychologists.

What is Grief?

Grief is poorly understood. The mental health field defines grief as a psychological response to loss, and it is generally associated with deep sorrow or sadness. This sadness can manifest in many different expressions of emotion or behavior. The loss can mean death of a loved one or of a pet, or the loss of a job, relationship, friendship, opportunity, or anything meaningful to the individual. Generally speaking, when one is grieving, or mourning, they are not functioning well in life until they have processed the grief, which means accepting the loss. 

Processing grief is not intuitive. Most people never learn how to do it, and thus they can end up carrying around sorrow for years from the significant losses they’ve experienced. Many people carry their grief all the way to the grave. However, learning to accept loss is a skill, and one can grow in their capacity to do it. Certain kinds of losses are impossible to overcome completely. But by learning to face them with the right approach and help, a grieving person can heal, and learn how to recover their joy and passion for living. In many cases, after healing from a significant loss a person can become stronger than they were before it occurred.

Who needs Grief Counseling?

Anyone who has experienced any kind of loss or significant change can need grief counseling. If the person has gone through training to learn to process grief on their own, or if they have been fortunate enough to have a parent or mentor that could empower them with such insight, then he or she may be able to avoid counseling. The vast majority of us however, need a little help.

When a person experiences a loss and needs to grieve, there are three big hurdles they must overcome:

  1. They must realize that they have experienced a loss, are hurting and need to heal.
  2. They must realize they don’t know the right way to recover from their loss.
  3. They must know where to go to get proper healing or counseling.

If a grieving person can find the humility to seek help, they may turn to one of the professionals at Essential Care NJ. Our providers have undergone the proper training to help people get complete with their losses. We have helped people through all kinds of problems, and we are prepared to help you – no matter what it is you are facing. A big reason for our confidence is that no matter what kind of loss you have experienced, this process is essentially the same.

What Does Grief Counseling Help With?

Grief counseling is intended to help you overcome any kind of significant loss. Significant is of course a relative term; only you can decide whether or not your loss has resulted in emotional hardship which is disruptive or deleterious to your life. You might consider the death of a spouse to be significant, for example. However, you might consider the death of a second cousin that you’ve only seen once in your life as not significant, because you can still function without any change to your life.

Some things that grief counseling can help with include

  • Death of a friend or family member
  • Loss of a relationship or friendship (e.g. divorce)
  • Loss of a pet
  • Loss of a job or position within an organization
  • Loss of ability or freedom (e.g. losing an arm in an accident, having children)
  • Change in a relationship (e.g. betrayal by a family member)
  • Loss of money or income
  • Loss of home or other significant property
  • Major life change (e.g. moving to another state)

Different people respond differently to loss. One person might respond with anger, or mistreat others. Another may become passive aggressive. Another may go into a depression. Once you realize you are hurting, it is your job to ask for help. If you are unsure of what you are feeling or why, please reach out. Sometimes you need a friend who can help you understand what you are going through. We are here for you. 

What makes Essential Care NJ a Great Option for Grief Counseling?

The professionals at Essential Care NJ want to make sure you understand our commitment to your path to healing from grief. If you have experienced loss at any point in your past, you may be in need of grief counseling, even if the loss occurred a long time ago or during childhood. Our counselors understand this, and tread lightly to help you explore and uncover those areas where you may need a delicate healing touch.

At Essential Care NJ, our core values are fairness, integrity, and honesty. Our purpose is to provide accessible, holistic, patient-centered care that enables our patients to lead stress-free, healthy lives. Our number one priority is always your well-being, and we remain determined to help you achieve the peace of mind you are looking for.

Essential Care is committed to helping you balance your mental health.

The Stages of Grief

In the 1960s, Elizabeth Kübler-Ross wrote a book that divided the grief process into five stages after working with the terminally ill and made observations about what she saw. The stages are:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

Grief is a complex process, and understanding that it involves various emotions is an essential part of moving on.

What are the behaviors of grief?

It is common to have outbursts of crying and sadness after death, but you may also experience attacks of laughter along with:

  • Social Withdrawal
  • Engaging in Ritualistic Behavior
  • Becoming Emotionally Flat or Highly Emotional
    • Obsessively Cleaning and/or Organizing
    • Eating less or Eating More than Usual
    • Becoming Absent-Minded or Forgetful
    • Experiencing Sleep Disturbance
    • Seeking Comfort in Drugs or Alcohol

Types of Grief Counseling

There are various types of grief counseling available such as bereavement groups or individualized psychotherapy sessions. Each group has a different dynamic, but the sessions may include:

  • Meditative or Relaxation Techniques
  • Discussion and Sharing
  • Art Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Training
  • Hypnosis; for particularly traumatic situations

Looking for information on our Grief Counseling?
Call 732-724-1234 or fill out our online form.

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