The experience of grief is a reaction to loss. Perhaps the first thing one thinks of is the death of a partner, spouse or other significant person in one’s life. Of course this can be devastating and grief counselling may help the bereaved person through this difficult time in their life.
The experience of grief is not limited to a reaction to the death of someone close. There are many kinds of losses. Any event that involves change is a loss that requires the processes of grieving and transition to a new way of living, building a new life. Grief counselling can be helpful in supporting the bereaved person and in helping them to make the adjustments needed to move forward in life.
Middle adulthood (45 to 65 years old) is a period when significant losses can occur. Examples include separation/divorce, estrangement from family members and reduced career opportunities. Other events involving grief are moving house, children leaving home, retirement, retrenchment, being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness such as breast cancer or sustaining a debilitating injury. Loss of hope is a major challenge and grief counselling may be helpful.
The person dealing with a major loss must ultimately accept it and make changes (psychological, behavioural and social) in order to adjust to their ongoing life. Grief counselling can facilitate these processes.
Different people will grieve in different ways; there are individual differences in the intensity of reactions to a loss, the degree of impairment, and the length of time a person experiences great pain.The meaning the grieving person attaches to their loss is a significant determinant in the process of adjustment.
If you undertake grief counselling, you will first be helped to talk about your loss and all the circumstances surrounding the loss. As Shakespeare said via Macbeth “Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak knits up the overwrought heart and bids it break.”