Grief is a natural response following the loss of a loved one.
After the death of a loved one bereavement occurs, and during this period, grief and mourning can be part of the process of healing.
Every person grieves differently, and there is not one way to grieve. You may feel sadness, shame, guilt, anger and fear. Sometimes grief becomes complicated due to unresolved or traumatic grief.
Grief is not a linear process, and there is no set time to move from the different stages. You can experience grief for not only the death of a loved one but any major life change: divorce, chronic illness, infertility.
Stages of grief
It is recognised that there are five stages of grief that you may pass through: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
You may not move through these five stages sequentially. You might repeat a stage before you move on or you might get stuck in one stage. You might even experience emotions that have nothing to do with the five stages listed here at all.
How you deal with your emotions through grief is unique to you. There is no set timetable for grief. Depending on whether the loss is sudden or expected will impact how you process the grief.
How does counselling help?
Counsellors cannot provide you with all the answers, but they make an effort to provide you with a clearer understanding of the grieving process. Supporting you in exploring some of the more uncomfortable emotions that you might not want to discuss with family and friends, who might not understand what you are going through or do not want to hear.
Counselling can help you to adjust to a new reality without your loved one and learn coping mechanisms for when emotions feel overwhelming and look at areas holding you back from moving through each of the stages of grief.