Grief counselling is necessary when a person is so disabled by grief or so overwhelmed by a loss that their normal coping mechanisms shut-down.
Grief counsellors believe that people experience and display their grief in many different ways.
They state that grief can lead to a feeling of helplessness and withdrawal from family and friends.
When it comes to coping with the loss of a loved one, people are often left with feelings of sadness, anxiety, anger, loneliness, guilt, isolation and confusion.
What are the impacts of grief?
- Inability to cope with change
- A feeling of being disorganised
- Unable to concentrate
- Poor sleeping patterns
- Explicit dreams
- Loss of appetite
Why is grief counselling necessary?
- It provides a support system
- It brings closure
- Failure to deal with grief can lead to emotional complications further down the line
The five stages to rebuild shattered lives
- Impact: shock, denial, anxiety, fear, and panic
- Chaos: confusion, disbelief, actions out of control, irrational thoughts and feelings, feeling despair, feeling helpless, desperate searching, lose track of time, difficulty sleeping and eating, obsessive focus on the loved one and their possessions, agony from imagining their physical harm, shattered beliefs
- Adapting: bringing order back into daily life while continuing to grieve: take care of basic needs (personal grooming, shopping, cooking, cleaning, paying bills), learn to live without the loved one, accept help, focus on helping children cope, connect with other grieving families for mutual support, take control of grief, slowly accepting the new reality
- Equilibrium: attaining stability and routines: re-establish a life that works all right, enjoy pleasant activities with family members and good times with friends, do productive work, choose a positive new direction in life while honouring the past, learn how to handle people who ask questions about the loss of a loved one
- Transformation: Rethinking individual purpose in life and the basis of identity; looking for a meaning in the face of tragedy, senseless loss; allowing to have both painful and positive feelings about the loss and become able to choose which feelings to focus on; allowing personal discovery that leads to strength, improving a better concept of self; learning how to talk with others about the personal healing journey without exposing pain; becoming supportive of others trying to deal with their losses
Grief counselling services
Families South Africa (FAMSA) is a long-established organisation that helps people to deal with personal loss by coming to terms with their grief.
FAMSA states that dealing with loss is one of the life’s most difficult challenges and transitions.
Everyone experiences the loss of a loved one at some stage in their lives, and helping people to cope with their grief is just one of the services provided by FAMSA.
- Highly trained and experienced counsellors will walk alongside you throughout your journey of grief, whether individually, as a couple or a family group
- Grief counsellors will help you through the healing process
- Your loss could be that of a parent, spouse, sibling, close friend or colleague
- Sometimes even the loss of a beloved pet can evoke feelings of despair
- Counsellors demonstrate how not to overlook or disregard the significance of a loss
- Where appropriate, FAMSA also offers sessions for large groups and organisations
- There is no “right” or “wrong” way in which to deal with grief
- There is no definite time frame within which people need counselling – some need immediate help, while others only realise their inability to cope further down the line
- Failure to reach out for help could lead to stumbling blocks when trying to establish and maintain meaningful relationships
- Dealing with death is multi-faceted – it could be a sudden event such as an accident or suicide or inevitable due to old age or a terminal illness
- FAMSA provides help, support and guidance throughout the grieving process
They are another South African organisation that helps people deal with grief brought on by the loss of a loved one.
- Reluctance to discuss the loss of a loved one
- Becoming emotionally unstable when the subject of the loss is mentioned
- Speaking in the present tense about the deceased
- Displaying suicidal tendencies
- Expressing feelings of guilt, moodiness, hostility and impulsiveness
- Becoming overwhelmed by loneliness
- Excessive drinking of alcohol, or substance abuse
- Refusing to show any emotion, indicating denial or avoidance of grief
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Displaying unhealthy psychological tendencies
- Resisting any form of counselling
Life Counsel explains that grieving is an experience of anxiety and deprivation that manifests itself through behaviour, emotion, thought process, physiology, spiritually and inter-personal relationships.
So tt is not only the death of a loved one that can trigger the onset of grief.
Other forms of grief can include:
- A child leaving home
- Losing a limb
- Debt and the resultant loss of property
- Ageing and the loss of youth
- Broken relationships
Other grief counselling organisations
Other grief counselling organisations available in South Africa include:
Grief counselling is necessary when people become so disabled and overwhelmed by their loss that their normal coping mechanisms shut down.
So Grief counselling provides the necessary coping tools to deal with the grieving period.
It also encourages healthy discussion and unleashes emotional expression.
also, it teaches creative thinking, to approach the challenges and changes that follow a loss.
Guidance from grief counsellors teaches the ability to reach logical conclusions and to demonstrate that there is hope even in one’s darkest hours.
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