Bereavement or grief counseling is designed to help people cope more effectively with the death of a loved one and supports the grieving process that occurs in response to a loss. Often, children and adolescents respond differently to their grief than adults due to their developmental stages. They may lash out at others or withdraw from their friends. They often re-experience their loss during life milestones, such as birthdays, their first date, holidays, learning to ride a bike, graduations and family gatherings.
Bereavement counseling can help to:
Offer an understanding of the mourning process and grief stages
Gain insight into your feelings of sadness and hopelessness
Help you to adjust to a new sense of self
Address possible issues of depression
During bereavement we spend varying lengths of time making our way through each stage of grief, experiencing each one either more or less intensely than the last before eventually achieving a more peaceful acceptance of death.
The grief stages are as follows (these stages do not always follow on from one another, and some individuals may revisit certain stages before progressing to another):
Isolation and denial. Often an initial reaction to finding out that someone we love has died, is to deny the reality of the situation. This is a natural defence mechanism that acts as a buffer from the immediate facts and moves us through the first wave of pain.
Anger. As denial and isolation dissipate, hurt begins to resurface and often we do not feel ready for it. In response, we redirect how we feel and express it as anger. The anger may be directed at inanimate objects or strangers – but often for friends and family it may be directed at our deceased loved one. While rationally we know the person cannot be blamed, emotionally we may feel resentment for the pain they cause when they leave us.
Bargaining. When we feel helpless and vulnerable a natural reaction is to bargain in an attempt to regain a level of control. We ask questions like "Why didn’t we seek medical attention sooner?" "Why couldn't I have said one last 'I love you' before they died?" We distract ourselves with these questions in the hope of postponing what is to come.
Depression. For those who have experienced a loss, sadness and regret may begin to dominate feelings, while practical considerations may also be a source of anxiety as worries about funeral costs and financial stability set in.
Acceptance. Reaching this stage does not come easily and does not come for everyone. If the death of loved one was sudden and unexpected, it may take an incredibly long time to start seeing beyond the anger and/or denial. This phase of mourning is generally marked by withdrawal and calm.
While it is natural to experience emotions such as anger, shock and sadness when you hear that you have a life-limiting illness, if you continue to feel unable to cope with the situation to the point where you are unable to do any of the things you want or need to, it may be time to speak with a counselor or arts-based psychotherapist who can help you express these difficult emotions.
Allow us to provide a supportive and compassionate experience for you to express your feelings of frustration and sadness. Let us support you and your family through compassionately creative counseling and arts-based psychotherapy services. Contact us and reconnect.
We are located in Downers Grove and frequently see clients from Downers Grove, Aurora, Bolingbrook, Burr Ridge, Countryside, Darien, Elmhurst,
Glen Ellyn, Hickory Hills, Hillside, Hinsdale, LaGrange, LaGrange Park, Lemont, Lisle, Lombard, Naperville, Oak Brook, Oak Brook Terrace, Oak Park, Riverside, Villa Park, Warenville, Westchester, Westmont, Wheaton, Willowbrook, Woodridge, and Western Springs.
Counseling and arts-based psychotherapy for individuals, groups and families looking for help with children, adolescents, stress, relationships, motherhood, creative parenting interventions, life transitions, trauma, anxiety, depression, divorce, grief/bereavement, autism, communication, caregiving, terminal illness, and career counseling.