7 Ways Bereavement Therapy Can Benefit You
Everyone experiences loss differently. The way you grieve will differ from the way your loved ones grieve. Similarly, how you deal with one loss might be different from how you deal with another. While there’s nothing wrong with these different grieving processes, your unique way of processing emotions can make it harder to find the understanding and support you need during this time. This is where bereavement therapy comes in. A professional grief counselor can walk you through the different steps of your grieving process. They’ll help you work through your emotions and experiences in a healthy, constructive manner that allows you to cope with the loss and eventually move forward with your life. Read on to learn more about all the ways bereavement therapy can benefit you after the loss of a loved one.
Learn More About the Grieving Process
When most people think of grief, they imagine periods of deep sadness. While this is certainly part of the process, it’s not the only emotion that comes with loss. You may experience feelings of denial, loneliness, anger, or even guilt. Grief is a complicated process full of many complicated emotions, but bereavement therapy can help you make sense of it. There are many ways to conceptualize and understand the grief process. One of the most widely known models is Elisabeth Kübler-Ross's five stages of grief model, which breaks down the grieving process into five emotional states: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Another common model is the Four Tasks of Mourning theorized by William Worden. This proposes that individuals experiencing grief must accomplish four tasks: accepting the loss, working through the pain, adjusting to their new reality, and maintaining a connection to their loved one while moving on with their lives. Looking at the grieving process through these and other lenses allows you to understand where your own emotions come from. This in turn makes it easier to process your feelings and find a healthy way to move forward.
Identify Your Specific Grieving Method
In addition to helping you understand grief as a whole, bereavement therapy aids you in making sense of your own specific grieving method. There are two main styles of grieving: intuitive and instrumental. Intuitive grieving involves the visible expression of emotion, such as talking about the loss or discussing your feelings with another person. Many people think of this as the “normal” or stereotypical way to grieve. At the other end of the spectrum is instrumental grieving, which focuses more on actions rather than emotions. An instrumental griever might process their emotions by taking on a lot of projects. As a result, many people view instrumental grieving as a way of avoiding the issue rather than working through it. For the most part, people use a mix of these two styles to work through loss. Bereavement therapy can help you identify which method of grieving helps you best and how you can use both to your benefit.
Give Yourself Space To Express Emotions
The death of a loved one often comes with various tasks and responsibilities you have to complete. Perhaps you’re arranging the funeral, reaching out to family members, or simply dealing with the other factors of your life at the same time. This can make it hard to acknowledge your feelings of grief—especially if you’re trying to support others through their own emotions. Bereavement therapy offers a safe space where you can let yourself feel these emotions. These sessions provide an outlet for you to mourn, rage, and express your fears without worrying about taking care of those around you. It’s important to give yourself that space. The sooner you let yourself feel these negative emotions, the sooner you learn how to handle them in a constructive manner.
Set Goals To Move Forward
Like many forms of therapy, one of the ways bereavement therapy can help you is by establishing realistic goals to get you through the grieving process. When you’re dealing with heavy emotions, it’s easy to feel like life will always be this way. Setting goals allows you to break the process into manageable steps, allowing you to gradually move forward with your life. You and your grief counselor will work together to create realistic steps for you to take at a healthy pace. This helps ensure you don’t overwhelm yourself by creating unrealistic goals. Instead, you can make a list of manageable accomplishments that allow you to slowly adjust to your new daily life and all the regular tasks and challenges that come with it.
Find Constructive Ways To Cope
As you establish realistic goals for yourself, you also need to explore constructive coping mechanisms. Just as everybody grieves differently, everyone uses different strategies and resources to handle their loss. Unfortunately, there are both healthy and unhealthy ways to cope. It’s important to steer clear of mechanisms like excessive drinking or sleeping. Bereavement therapy helps you discover coping strategies that benefit you without causing additional harm. Through these sessions, you can explore constructive coping mechanisms such as exercise or support groups.
Work Through Harder Periods
Emotions are rarely clear-cut or straightforward. The grieving process isn’t always linear. You are likely to experience setbacks and bad days. However, this doesn’t mean you’re losing progress or moving backward. It’s just another part of dealing with the loss of a loved one. When you participate in grief counseling, you give yourself the tools you need to handle both the ups and downs. Bereavement therapy also provides a solid, healthy support system for you to fall back on during harder days.
Accept This New Reality
Acceptance is a major step in the grieving process. When a loved one passes away, the reality of that loss doesn’t always hit you immediately. It can take time and effort before you reach a point where you can accept the loss as a real thing that happened. Part of the challenge is that accepting your loss means accepting a world without your loved one. Opening yourself up this part of the grieving process can be daunting. However, grief counseling helps you face this new reality with the assurance that life will still go on.
Grief is a normal part of life that you should never be ashamed of. Bereavement therapy gives you a place to normalize that grief and process your emotions in a safe, nonjudgmental environment. At Soulistic Hospice, we believe this is an important resource for anyone dealing with the loss of a loved one. You can learn more about our bereavement therapy and other grief counseling services by visiting our website today. Get the help you need to take care of yourself and build a healthy life on the other side of this grieving process.
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