Grief counseling is a form of therapy administered to individuals who are coping with the death of a loved one. Emotions that follow death of a loved one can sometimes feel uncontrollable. Grief counseling helps assist individuals through the process of overcoming the emotions and grief that they encounter. Because every person is different and everyone experiences and expresses their grief in different ways, this is a very personalized process. There is no way of telling how a person is going to react to grief until it is encountered. Anything from laughter to anger can be expressed by an individual coping with grief. Grief counseling encourages the individual to express the emotions they are feeling and what they are going through. Through expression they are able to explore and work through the grief.
Grief is wide spread and almost everyone experiences grief at some point throughout their lifetime. Because there are so many individuals that experiencing depression (see figure 2), it is important to take control of the grief and assist individuals to work through the grief instead of allowing it to lead to depression.
When an individual is going through the grieving process, they typically go through many stages. There are seven stages that are commonly recognized as the stages that individuals go through. They are as shown in figure 3.
Grief counseling has proven to be effective in almost all cases if executed correctly. The debate lies however, in if it is proper to disturb the body and brain’s natural way of dealing with grief. Individuals that disagree with grief counseling say that it causes a disturbance with the body’s natural way of dealing with things and is therefore not as effective as thought to be. It is actually seen as harmful to the individual if the individual seeks grief therapy when it is not necessarily needed. The vast majority of people believe that the benefits are great and harm obsolete. It is important to remember the different types of grief when discussing counseling services. These are anticipatory, sudden loss, and complicated. When therapists are assessing the individual and how they are going to move forward, the type of grief they are experiencing is an important aspect that comes into play. Dealing with grief is something very difficult that most everyone has to go through at some point in their life. Some people are able to get through it on their own, others with the support of the loved ones around them, and some need to seek assistance from an expert. Greif counseling has developed as a relatively recent discovery of the harms of not being able to overcome grief. We have been able to assess the brain and what happens when grief is not dealt with; often times PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) or Depression. Figure 4 and 5 show the severe long-term effects this has on the brain:This is why it is vital to an individual’s mental health to deal with the grief. Grief counseling offers guidance through the grieving process and helps to work through the grief in healthy more productive ways. If individuals are able to seek grief counseling to help them cope with their grief, it can be extremely helpful and rewarding. Grief counseling is something that is readily available to individuals in need. There are many private practices in which to seek help. There are also churches, non-profits, online forms and blogs, telephone hotlines, and county funded counseling to seek out. There are many ways to get help, even if the individual does not have a lot of extra money to spend on therapy.