Grief Counselling Sydney [Loss & Bereavement]

Grief and Loss Therapy Sydney

Loss & Grief Counselling Information

Many of us have encountered the pain of losing a loved one, a shared experience that becomes more probable as we age. Relationships form an integral part of our human existence, extending beyond interpersonal connections to encompass the profound bonds we forge with places and possessions over the course of our lives.

Grief, an emotion intertwined with the conclusion or disruption of significant relationships, typically arises when faced with loss through death. However, the spectrum of grief is broad, encompassing situations such as divorce, relocation, fire, or theft. Not all severed connections prompt grief; rather, it is the bonds that have accrued meaning over time — relationships with cherished individuals (family, partners, friends, teachers) and connections to meaningful places or possessions (the house of one's upbringing, a photograph, a family heirloom) — that elicit this emotional response.

The manner in which people navigate grief is diverse. Some express their sorrow openly, with outward displays of emotion, while others grieve more privately, concealing their emotions from those around them. The duration and intensity of grief also vary, with some individuals swiftly overcoming it, while others require an extended period to navigate the grieving process. Each person copes in a way that aligns with their unique emotional landscape and the depth of their loss.

The onset of grief occurs when someone or something cherished is lost. The conclusion of grief arrives as one gradually recovers from the acute sense of loss, enabling a return to normal functioning without the presence of the departed person or thing. This doesn't imply an absence of lingering sadness or missing the individual; rather, it denotes the ability to carry on with life without being overwhelmed by the weight of that loss.

 

Stages of Grieving

Psychiatrist Mardi Horowitz delineates the trajectory of grief into distinct stages:

  1. Outcry: Upon the initial revelation or acknowledgment of a loss, individuals often undergo an initial outcry, marked by expressions such as screaming, yelling, crying, or internalizing the emotional upheaval. This phase is characterized by intense devastation and shock, typically challenging to sustain and of short duration.
  2. Denial & Intrusion: Following the initial outcry, those grappling with grief frequently navigate a phase where emotions fluctuate between denial, where the loss is momentarily set aside, and intrusion, where the impact of the loss is keenly felt. During this stage, individuals may find temporary relief from acute grief through engagement in everyday thoughts or activities, such as watching TV or attending to routine tasks. These periods alternate with moments of recalling the loss, rekindling intense grief. Oscillating between engagement and disengagement is a normal aspect of this process, serving as a crucial means to mitigate the overwhelming nature of grief.
  3. Working Through: As time progresses, the oscillation between denial and intrusion diminishes, leading individuals to spend less time dwelling on the loss and experiencing profound grief. During this phase, the overwhelming sense of loss gradually wanes, potentially taking days, weeks, or months to occur. Importantly, individuals begin to devise coping strategies to navigate life without the lost relationship, which may involve reentering the dating scene, forming new friendships, exploring new hobbies, or strengthening connections with family and friends.
  4. Completion: At a certain point in the grieving process, a sense of completion emerges, allowing life to resume a semblance of normalcy. While memories of the loss persist, the associated feelings become less painful and intense, ceasing to disrupt daily life.

Engaging in discussions about loss and grief with a professional bereavement counsellor or psychologist can prove beneficial in facilitating the grieving process, aiding individuals in processing their emotions and ultimately achieving a sense of completion.

 

How does grief counselling work?

 

In the therapeutic process, a counselor or psychologist typically encourages individuals navigating grief to openly express their thoughts and emotions regarding the loss, however at Grief and Loss Therapy Sydney we can take a patient through the grieving process without the need to give details about their personal lives. This has been found beneficial in cases where patients really struggle to put their situation into words and this is where Grief and Loss Therapy Sydney separates ourselves from the rest.

The goal is to foster a supportive environment that facilitates engagement with life in a manner conducive to recovery from grief. It is widely acknowledged among psychologists that relying on medication is not deemed an appropriate approach to addressing grief. Such interventions may hinder the emotional processing of the loss and pose a risk of addiction.

While the impact of loss can be profound and grief is inherently painful, it's crucial to recognize that grieving is a normal response to significant loss. With the right support, the intensity of grief tends to diminish over time. If you or someone you know is grappling with grief, whether stemming from a recent or past loss, seeking assistance from a bereavement counselor can be a valuable means of navigating through this challenging period.

 

What to do about Prolonged Grief

Occasionally, individuals encounter challenges in successfully navigating the completion of the grieving process. A sudden loss can complicate the resolution of grief, especially when there has been no preparatory time for the impending loss. The loss of a significant relationship, such as a spouse, partner, child, parent, or best friend, tends to have a more profound impact and is felt more acutely than the loss of someone less closely connected to one's life.

The perceived fairness of the loss plays a role in the grieving process; it is generally easier to accept the loss of an aged parent than the loss of a child. Deaths resulting from disease may be more comprehensible than those stemming from random incidents. Losses that challenge an individual's sense of fairness in the world are often more difficult to manage.

The level of support received by a grieving person is a crucial factor in their ability to 'complete' the grief process. Individuals lacking close social networks may find it more challenging to overcome their grief. Engaging in conversations with a grief or bereavement counsellor provides an excellent avenue for seeking additional support during the grieving process.

In some instances, many years may pass, and the grief associated with a significant loss remains unresolved. While this unresolved grief may not be readily apparent to others, the individual experiencing it may feel its impact on their life—hindering the formation of new relationships or causing overwhelming sadness. In such situations, it is imperative to seek professional help through counseling with a grief or bereavement counsellor.

 

If you are seeking to enquire about professional bereavement counselling by qualified Counsellors & Psychologists in Sydney feel free to book a free consultation here. We look forward to your enquiry.

Grief Counselling Sydney

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