Grief is the natural human reaction to any kind of loss; and, most people experience loss of some kind like the death of a loved one, major business loss, fraud, big theft, etc. The state of grief develops a range of feelings like deep sadness, anger, anxiety, depression, guilt, yearning, etc. The process of bringing normalcy in life again after experiencing the loss varies from one person to another; and, it depends upon the way of impacts delivered by the loss. Grieving behavior may continue for a long if it is left unmanaged and untreated.
Emotional and Physical Symptoms of Grief in daily life:
Different Stages of Grief: Adulthood is the most common time for bereavement. Grief and bereavement are the natural occurring psychological developments in old age people; reasons may be many apart from death also. Longer grieving behavior can cause low performance in daily life, profession and poor relationship. The person in grief may experience some emotional symptoms like increased irritability, numbness, bitterness, detachment, sense of disbelief, preoccupation with loss, inability to experience joy, etc. The physical symptoms of grieving include digestive problems, fatigue, headaches, chest pain, sore muscles, etc.
The feelings happen in phases when you come to know about loss but knowing the reasons behind helps you control the disturbing feelings. Psychotherapists have identified the following five stages of grieving:
- Denial: It is normal to react with “It isn’t happening” to the first information about the loss. Neglecting reality is a defensive approach.
- Anger: When you accept the reality after some time, you experience the pain of loss feeling frustrated & helpless. These feelings in combine result in anger. You tend to make people or conditions responsible for the loss.
- Bargaining: At this stage, you introspect yourself to find out your possible role to avoid that loss. Your thought process moves on “What if…” and “If only…” like possibilities.
- Depression: Now feeling helpless with acknowledgment of loss, you feel depressed and sad realizing the effect of loss on your life. The common symptoms of depression include sleep issues decreased appetite, crying, feeling overwhelmed, feeling regretful and lonely, etc.
- Acceptance: It is the final stage of grief when you accept the realities that can’t be changed. Now, you start a journey to bring in normalcy to life feeling sad. However, reminders of occurred loss like the anniversary of a death can trigger the grief return.
What is Grief Counseling?
Grief counseling, a specific therapy, is focused on counseling the grieving person to address personal, professional and physical loss. Grief counseling can be had through specialist psychologists, counselors, specially trained social workers or clergy in groups or as an individual. The way to conduct grief counseling depends upon the identified symptoms but the researches confirm its effectiveness to treat all the symptoms of long-term grieving.
The Role of Grief Counseling:
In some cases, grieving does not get better because you don’t accept the happened loss. Psychotherapists call it “complicated grief.” Here comes the role of grief counseling that helps you explore the emotions by developing the new skills to manage the grief better. Medication may or may not be part of grief counseling. It helps the individuals work through the thoughts, memories, and feelings linked to the loss. Grief counseling helps the individuals feel supported and to recognize the normal aspects of grieving. Just after a few sessions of counseling, the person starts to cope with problems associated with a loss with an additional sense of self-care. Grief counseling sessions encourage individuals to explore the possibilities ‘of how life will go ahead’.
Grief Counseling Techniques:
Grief counselor decides the way to treat according to the identified symptoms and particular concerns of the patient. Different techniques have been developed to make grief therapy more effective.
- Talking About the Loss: Therapist talks about the loss in a safe, supportive and privacy assuring space
- Being Direct: During counseling sessions, the Grief Therapist uses the most disturbing words associated with a loss like ‘death’, ‘dead’ and particular name
- Coping with Guilt: Irrational guilt comes from the unrealistic expectations; Grief Therapist make the person realize that his/her guilt is senseless and irrational
- Writing A Letter: Therapist suggests to write your feelings about the loss and also about the ways you will normalize the life
- Setting Realistic Goals: After a major loss, prolonged grieving often off-track the person from achieving the ‘prior to loss’ goals; Grief Therapist helps you set new realistic goals for short-term and long-term boosting your esteem
Grief counseling helps you navigate through one of the toughest phases of life. It develops new skills and insights to know more about life and yourself. If your feelings and pain because of loss are overwhelmingly intense, affect your performing way in daily life and last longer than it should be, grief counseling is the best way to deal with psychological problems caused by a major loss. Once you become psychologically strong again after accepting the loss and it’s after-effects as destiny, most of the physical symptoms of grieving also disappear automatically.