Grief is a normal and appropriate reaction to loss. Grief describes a range of emotions that are experienced when things change in your life. Experiencing a loss can feel like your life has been turned upside down, while the rest of the world appears unchanged. It is common to feel completely alone and that no-one can understand the pain you are experiencing. You might crave social contact with family and friends, or prefer solitude to deal with your loss privately. There is no ‘right way’ to experience grief and no way of predicting the length of a grieving period. However grief affects you, counselling can help you process your loss and find more helpful ways of coping.
Different types of loss
Loss can take many forms. In some circumstances, you may have had time to prepare for a loss, while others can be unexpected. Sometimes a feeling of loss can be surprising if you chose to change something, for example ending a relationship or changing careers. Example of loss are:
- Loss of a loved one
- Relationship breakdown
- Life transitions
- Job loss or employment change
- Loss of mobility or physical health
- Loss of identity
Signs of grief and loss
Grief is a deeply personal experience so it can be felt or experienced in a variety of ways. Some symptoms that can accompany a loss are:
- Anxiety or worry
- Changes in sleep habits – little to no sleep/excessive sleep
- Changes in appetite
- Loss of energy
- Feeling detached
- Loss of concentration
- Intense sadness
- Substance use
When to seek professional help
We each experience grief in different ways, so there are no rules about when grief counselling should be sought. Sometimes grief can be stubborn, and emotions or intrusive thoughts can stick with you. You may find that the grief is significantly impacting your ability to function in your everyday life. Sometimes grief can be so overwhelming that you are unsure how to deal with it. If you are experiencing these difficulties, it may be time to speak with a professional about your loss.
Some individuals engage in counselling because they want a safe, non-judgemental space to discuss their experience and their feelings. Others seek counselling to gain strategies to manage difficult feelings like sadness or guilt, or to respond better to intrusive thoughts. Either way, speaking with a professional can help you integrate your feelings and move forward with living well.
How our practitioners can help
At the ACT of Living, we use a variety of evidence-based psychological therapies for grief counselling. These therapies include, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and existential and narrative psychology. Often a combination of techniques works best for our clients. We can help you identify patterns in your thinking and challenge intrusive thoughts that are common after suffering a loss. We also use strategies to help reframe life events, rebuild self-confidence and alleviate distress. We will help you to gain an awareness of your own strengths to allow you to build the satisfying and rewarding life you deserve.