The loss of a loved one can be life-shattering. The intensity of bereavement can be overwhelming, frightening and unrelenting.
While the shock of loss is hard enough, perhaps the hardest part of grieving is when the days turn into weeks and months. Often the world quickly moves on but life can seem empty, robbed of colour and purposeless - a numb emptiness.
The circumstances are often significant - for instance, losses from suicide can be particularly difficult. Some losses may be less obvious - for example, the loss of a pregnancy can be devastating yet largely invisible.
Grief can also occur when we lose any important part of our lives, such as a health, job, home, pet, marriage or relationship. We can also lose parts of our identity such as security, innocence, culture, health or faith. Indeed, any change to our normal life can bring about a process of grieving. Even immigration or moving cities can also involve significant loss.
Grief is a normal reaction to loss but is expressed in very individual ways. There is almost no limit to reactions. One person might become sad, another angry, another may withdraw or become more extroverted. Some reactions can be quite confusing such as guilt or relief. For many, a few counselling sessions is all that is needed to sort through such confusions.
Other people find the companionship of counselling helpful as they journey through their grieving.
Some grief is more complex and requires longer term counselling. Examples include:
Counselling can be helpful for grief and loss, especially when people are hurting but need to keep it together for family and employment. Talking about loss is often difficult however it can improve relationships, health, wellbeing and resilience as people rebuild their lives.