Bereavement, grief and loss counselling.

Bereavement counselling, Grief and Loss

Bereavement is a distressing but common life experience. Sooner or later most of us will experience the death or loss of someone we love.

Generally the subject of death is still a little taboo, we think and talk about death and loss very little, perhaps because we encounter it less often than previous generations did.

For them, the death of a brother or sister, friend or relative, was a more common experience in their childhood or teen years, but better health and longer life expectancy means for most of us, our loved ones live longer.

We do not have much opportunity to learn about grieving, or how it feels, the right things to do, what is ‘normal’ or how to come to terms with it.

In spite of this we have to cope when we are finally faced with the death or passing of someone we love. Bereavement counselling can help to move us through the normal cycles of grief.

The Grieving Cycle

Grief is not just one feeling, but a whole host of feelings and emotions which take a while to get through and which cannot be hurried.

Although we are all individuals, the order in which we experience these feelings is very similar for most of us. Grief is most commonly experienced after the death of someone we have known for a long time.

However, sometimes the relationship was not long standing, but it is still incredibly painful as in the case of miscarriages and still birth.
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Grief is not just one feeling, but a whole host of feelings and emotions which take a while to get through and which cannot be hurried.

The stages of Grieving

Denial is a conscious or unconscious refusal to accept facts, information, reality, relating to the situation concerned. It’s a defence mechanism and perfectly natural.

Some people can become locked in this stage when dealing with a traumatic loss bereavement counselling can help with this.

Anger can manifest in different ways. People dealing with emotional upset can be angry with themselves, and or with others, especially those close to them.

Knowing this helps keep detached and non-judgemental when experiencing the anger of someone who is very upset. Anger linked bereavement counselling is effective and will help you to move on through the stages of grief.

Bargaining, traditionally the stage for people facing death can involve attempting to bargain with whatever God the person believes in.

People facing less serious trauma can bargain or seek to negotiate a compromise. For example “Can we still be friends” when facing a break-up. Bargaining rarely provides a sustainable solution, especially if it’s a matter of life or death.

Depression also referred to as preparatory grieving. In a way it’s the dress rehearsal or the practice run for the ‘aftermath’ although this stage means different things depending on whom it involves. It’s a sort of acceptance with emotional attachment.

It’s natural to feel sadness and regret, fear and uncertainty. It shows that the person has at least begun to accept the reality.

Acceptance Again this stage varies according to the person’s situation, although broadly it is an indication that there is some emotional detachment and objectivity. People dying can enter this stage a long time before the people they leave behind, who must necessarily pass through their own individual stages of dealing with the grief.

Whilst the dying person may have accepted their passing, their loved ones may need a lot of support, bereavement counselling offers this support.

Bereavement, Grief and Loss – How it may feel

Paul Parkin Online Counselling, Therapy and Life Coaching.

Paul Parkin Online Counselling, Therapy and Life Coaching.

It is common for a state of agitation to be strongest about two weeks after a death, but is soon followed by times of quiet sadness, stress and or depression, withdrawal and silence.

These sudden changes of emotion can be confusing to friends or relatives but are part of the normal way of passing through the different stages of grief.

Although the agitation may reduce, periods of depression may become more frequent and reach their peak between four to six weeks later. Intense grief can occur at any time, sparked off by people, places or things that bring back memories of the deceased person.

Other people may find it difficult to understand or embarrassing when the bereaved person suddenly bursts into tears for no obvious reason. At this stage it may be tempting to keep away from other people who do not fully understand or share the grief.

However, avoiding others can store up trouble for the future and it is usually best to try to start to return to one’s normal activities after a couple of weeks or so. During this time, it may appear to others as though the bereaved person is spending a lot of time just sitting, doing nothing.

In fact, they are usually thinking about the person they have lost, going over again and again both the good and the bad times they had together. This is a quiet but essential part of coming to terms with the death.
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Dear online counsellor,

I lost my Mother 15 years ago today, I am as tearful today as the day of her funeral when I collapsed by the graveside. I am just not getting any better, my Mother was my life and I cannot seem to move on past the grief stage.

I have so many things left unsaid and I am in so much pain, I could not be with her as much as I wanted to be and i feel so guilty about that every day. I have tried to contact her through a spiritualist. I am so depressed. Please, please help.


Dear Liz,

Reading your message I can see that you are hurting so much. I feel the barrier to you moving on from your mothers death is “the many things left unsaid” which you spoke of. I would like to help you using a technique to actually get those unsaid feelings out and “said” to your Mother.

The technique is very successful and often gives clients the closure they need to go on with their lives, which is what I am sure your Mother would want you to do.

You sound as if you were very close to your Mother, and she will have known that too, even if you were not able to be with her as much as you wanted to be. I hope to hear from you soon Liz, in the meantime have a look at my page on depression.

Best wishes bereavement counsellor – Paul Parkin, online counsellor (therapist) and online life coach

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