Girl holding flowers thinking while feeling grief over her bereavement

What is bereavement?

Bereavement occurs following the death of a loved one and can be an extremely painful process. We are all likely to experience a bereavement at some time in our lives, and perhaps more than once. Often we need support to come to terms with our loss. The grieving process used to be thought of as a series of stages, but this view is no longer generally held. Just as we are all unique individuals, so we will all grieve in our own individual way.

We all grieve in our own way and in our own time. For some people this might mean crying while others may express grief in other ways. For some grieving may last months or years, while others may recover from loss more quickly. Reactions and feelings can change from hour to hour and day to day. Some people find these mood swings very frightening.

The way in which a person died may also have an impact on the grieving process: was the death by natural causes, an accident or suicide? Was the death sudden or expected? Could the death have been prevented if circumstances had been different?

There’s no quick fix for overcoming grief and loss. But there are a range of proven strategies that can help you better cope with these anxious feelings.

I will never rush you through grief and loss counselling. It’s a process that will take some time. And I will ensure we work through your fears at your pace and using the methods that suit your style and personality.

Everyone experiences grief differently and there is no ‘normal’ or ‘right’ way to grieve. How we react will be influenced by many different things including our age, our cultural back-ground, our religious beliefs and our previous experiences of bereavement.

The death of a significant person can be a devastating loss. Bereavement is one of the most common reasons people seek therapy. Bereavement or grief counselling can provide help through the painful process of coping with loss. An experienced therapist can support you through the difficult process of grieving and help you come to terms with loss.

How Bereavement Counselling Can Help?

By offering an understanding of the mourning process and reassurance that you are not alone.

Are there different types of grief?

In addition to the feelings of grief that you will experience following a loss, there are also other types of grief that you may experience at different times during bereavement.

Anticipatory grief
Anticipatory grief is a sense of loss that we feel when we are expecting a death. It features many of the same symptoms as those experienced after a death has occurred, including depression, extreme sadness or concern for the dying person. It does not necessarily replace, reduce or make grief after the loss any easier or shorter, but for some people it can provide the opportunity to prepare for the loss and for what the future might look like.

Secondary loss
After any loss you may also feel what is known as ‘secondary loss’. After the initial shock of losing a loved one you may struggle when thinking of future experiences that those people will not be there to share or see, such as watching your children grow up, meeting partners or attending key life events like weddings.

How long does grief tend to last?

There is no time limit on grief and this varies hugely person to person. The time spent in a period of bereavement will be different for everybody and depends on factors such as the type of relationship, the strength of attachment or intimacy to the person who died, the situation surrounding their death, and the amount of time spent anticipating the death.

Can I get bereavement counselling for free?

Cruise Bereavement Care is a charity that offers 6 free counselling sessions. You can get details on their website www.cruse.org.uk