What is grief? 

Grief is unavoidable. It is a normal response to loss and changes in life. Everybody has their own unique experience of grief, there is no “right way” to grieve. Although grief is painful to experience, you should still occasionally feel some positive emotions. Your grief should not be so all encompassing that your life is completely without pleasure.

Different cultures have very different rituals when it comes to grief, these rituals allow people to express their feeling of grief. Avoiding or missing out on these rituals could lead to unresolved or extended grief.


How long should grief last for?

There is no set pattern for grief, everyone experiences grief differently. Some people might take weeks and months, others might take years. However, normally there would be significant improvement within about one year.


What are the common symptoms of grief? 

There are three major types of symptoms. You may experience a mix of them:

  • Physical: fatigue, headache, change of appetite, crying a lot, feeling of heaviness, substance abuse
  • Emotional: sadness, anger, guilt, depression, confusion
  • Social: wanting to be isolated or always needing to be with someone, feeling lonely 

The feeling of grief could be like a wave, sometimes you feel better and sometimes you feel worse. Often festivals and meaningful dates can trigger the grief emotions, however you need to realise that the feeling will improve slowly even if some days you feel that your grief is getting worse.


What are the causes of grief?

Grief is what we feel as a response to loss:

  • Loss of relationships: death, abandonment, separation, divorce, abuse.
  • Loss of sense of self: moving on from a previous identity, professional burnout, trauma from suffering abuse, changes in sense of self due to illness, and other physical changes that affect your identity.
  • Loss of physical objects (treasures): objects that are connected to important or meaningful experiences.
  • Developmental losses: growth and maturation in life that creates a sense of loss from missing a previous stage of life such as comes with the end of childhood, life changes from ageing, and lifestyle changes during retirement.


How can Balanced Mind Counselling help you?

We will begin by doing talking therapies where you can express your feelings in a safe and caring environment. Through the sessions we will explore and work out the best coping strategies for your grieving process. The therapies include:

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT): through the therapy, we will identify all the unhelpful negative thoughts, and work out a decision-making framework to handle different decisions.
  • Behavioural therapy (exposure therapy): it can help you to recognise your fears, and through graded exposure, you can learn how to face your fears and challenge any irrational thinking patterns.

During our therapy sessions we will agree on your goals that we can work towards together. Normally we would take a two-stage approach to improving your wellbeing. Firstly, we would identify the problem and how it is affecting you, so that we can work on skills and behaviours that will provide some immediate improvements to your quality of life. Secondly, we would examine the root causes of any issues to prevent them from affecting you in the longer term.

At each and every stage, I will treat our discussions as strictly confidential.

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