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Grief and Loss – Helen Mason Counselling and Associates

Grief and Loss

Grief is the natural response to loss and adjusting to such a loss and coping with grief may affect your emotionally, mentally and/or physically. Grief is about coming terms with the fact that something major in your life has changed and that nothing you can do will make it the way it was. Grieving can be triggered by many types of events, for example the death of a family member or a friend, disability following an accident, the passing of a family pet or in response to a community disaster such as a flood. The intensity and duration of the grieving process is individual and this loss may affect different people in different ways.

Common signals of grief may include:

Physical – social withdrawal, for example avoiding people or places that remind you of the loss, crying, feeling tired but not sleeping properly, changes to appetite, feeling restless or ‘edgy’ .

Emotional – shock and disbelief, relief, sadness, anger, guilt and/or remorse.

Cognitive – vivid dreams or nightmares, feeling confused and/or having difficulty concentrating, being preoccupied with the loss.

How is grief treated ?

The grieving process varies between people and some may benefit from psychological counselling to help them process the loss and to gradually resume the normal activities and joys of life. Psychological strategies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can assist in targeting unhelpful thoughts and behaviours to enable the grieving person to focus on the positive aspects of their life while remaining respectful to those who have been lost.

Along with psychological skills counselling, family group therapy may assist in enhancing communication between family members at this difficult time, especially when children are encompassed in the grieving process.