Different Stages of Grief & Grief Counseling

Different Stages of Grief & Grief Counseling

Grief counseling helps people cope up with the loss of any kind. Grief is a human’s reaction to loss. The loss can be of any kind, whether it’s the death of your loved ones or losing your pet. Grief hit the rich and poor alike.

It does not matter if you have prepared yourself in advance; the emotion can knock you on your back. Grief can be physical or abstract. Physical grief is felt when you lose someone, and abstract grief cannot be measured as you do not lose a person but your feelings.

Grief Counseling

This is a type of psychotherapy that helps people get through with loss. This loss can be emotional, physical, spiritual, or cognitive. Most people consider the death of a loved one to be the only type of grief, but that is not the case. Even losing a job can wreak havoc on the person’s overall mental health.

The counselors believe that every person who has faced a loss in his lifetime should opt for psychotherapy to cope with that loss. It is a fact that everyone has his way of expressing grief. Some people disconnect from the world while others develop anger issues.

The recent pandemic has left many people in a state of grief, especially the healthcare staff. Counseling is important for these people and those who have lost their loved ones to the disease. Therapists, psychologists, and counselors can provide counseling for grief.

Kubler-Ross Grief Model

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross developed a model for different stages people go through after the death of a loved one. She later wrote that these stages could also be applied to grief. Following are the different stages of grief:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

Denial

This stage comes directly after the loss when the person goes into denial to save himself from the unwanted emotions. The person becomes numb to the feelings and is not ready to accept that their loved one has left them or has lost their dream job. The person will either cry uncontrollably or will not cry at all because he is not ready yet.

Anger

After denial comes anger, this anger can be directed at the person lost or on the person who the patient thinks is responsible for their loss. This anger is misguided and often hurts other people. The patient can also get angry at himself. Most people take ages to come out of this phase because anger is better than sadness. People also develop anger issues, and they might need counseling for that as well.

Bargaining

This is called the ‘what if’ stage. The person battling grief starts to build a scenario around the ‘what ifs’; this hurts more than the loss itself.

Depression

This stage involves isolation. The overwhelming feeling of sadness and confusion is startling for people. They isolate themselves from others and let the sadness overwhelm them. Their moods are heavy. Most people cry a lot during this stage.

Acceptance

This is the point where all stages lead to. Here you accept what happened to you. You feel relieved because you have shed all the ‘what ifs’ and the sadness. It takes a lot of time to reach this stage. There is a different timeline for healing, but all will turn out well once you achieve this stage.

The Benefits of Grief Counseling

Grief counseling was not the norm in the old ages. People died of grief and a broken heart. The reason was that they did not have an outlet for the anger and sadness. Sometimes, grief counseling is not necessary as people will go through the stages of grief. Grief counseling is necessary for people when their loss interrupt their daily life. When they cannot perform normal functions, they must go to therapy. Counseling helps them cope better with the situation. Most people are ashamed to go to therapy of any kind. Going to grief counseling is nothing to be ashamed of.

Methods of Grief Counseling

There are two methods of grief counseling:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Acceptance & Commitment Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

This is a type of therapy during which the psychologist helps you analyze different underlying patterns responsible for your grief. People identify the negative thoughts that are responsible for their destruction. This therapy will help you destroy the negative thoughts and patterns. The different techniques the psychologist will apply are:

  • Role-playing
  • Journaling
  • Relaxation Technique
  • Distraction Technique

Acceptance & Commitment Therapy

This therapy asks people to embrace their feelings and fight the negative feelings rather than feeling guilty for those feelings. ACT forces people to face their emotions rather than hide from them. There are six processes of ACT that make up its core:

  • Acceptance
  • Cognitive Defusion
  • Being Present
  • Self as Context
  • Values
  • Committed Action

The psychologist will choose one of these two therapies for grief counseling.

Grief Counseling for Kids

Grief affects people of all age groups, whether adults or children. It is widely observed that children react differently to grief. People younger than five years think of death as something that can be reversed, and they think the same for divorces. For them, this loss is temporary, and everything will get back to normal after some time. Three therapies help children with grief:

  • Play Therapy
  • Art Therapy
  • Narrative Therapy

Self-Care

Self-care is also necessary for people who are battling with the loss. While therapy is important, self-care is compulsory too. Most of the time, people try to console others, but they forget to take care of themselves. What you can do:

  • Take a Walk
  • Eat healthy food
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Spend time with family and friends
  • Try to attend social gatherings

Summary

Grief should be counseled like any other mental illness. You should treat it just like you would treat depression or anxiety. Do not let grief consume you to the point where you cannot function normally. Try grief counseling so that you can treat the problem before it turns into a disaster.

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