Counselling For Bereavement

Bereavement Counselling Hounslow I offer counselling for people going through a bereavement, who have been devastated by loss and grief.

Bereavement is a form of grief, mourning or intense sadness arising from the loss of a loved one. Loss and grief is not only experienced after the death of someone close, but also following a divorce, separation or by the abandonment of a family member. When someone dies or leaves you, it can feel like that person has abandoned you and left a gaping hole in your life. This can also be experienced a physical sensation of pain or absence. Literally, as if a piece of you is missing and causes physical pain, especially in the heart, chest or belly. You may seek to comfort yourself by being close to physical mementos or reminders of that person. You may even hold onto soft, warm objects like a pillow to comfort you.

When someone you care about suddenly dies or leaves you may not have time to recover or heal your wounds. Bereavement is about going through a range of intense emotions and trying to come to terms with the loss, but not necessarily moving on. Though people may wish the pain of loss and grief to stop, it may recur well into later life. You may have heard about the five different stages of grief promoted by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, but how one moves through grief is different for everyone. Not everyone experiences loss the same. Adjusting to life without that person and finding a place to keep your memory alive.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross claimed the five stages of grief are:

1) Denial and isolation - where someone who is grieving is unable to accept that a person has gone, as a defence which buffers intense shock.

2) Anger - as the shock gradually wears off the intense pain of loss is deflected as anger, either onto others around you or even the person who has apparently abandoned you.

3) Bargaining - when you express a need to regain control by making a pact with God or a higher power to bring thae loved one back to us, even when we know someone is dead.

4) Depression - is the stage when you have abandoned all hope and a deep sense of distress, loss and sorrow sets in. This might even lead to a sense that life is meaningless.

5) Acceptance - this derives from the lessening of intense emotions and the realisation that life must continue for yourself and others. It may be described as moving on, but does not mean you have forgotten about the person so dear to you.

The experience of Bereavement:

The experiences of bereavement are a normal and natural part of the loss you feel. They will take time to settle down and may ebb and flow in intensity or duration.

  • prolonged and intense grief, sorrow and mourning
  • intense feelings of loss and abandonment
  • deep feelings of anger and guilt
  • the physical pain of loss
  • panic attacks or distress
  • hopelessness and despair
  • drinking excessive alcohol or drugs
  • sleeplessness and exhaustion
  • erratic changes in appetite

During bereavement it is important to find ways to mourn, deal with your loss and express grief. Bereavement is normal, but it can be prolonged. There are usually four stages of bereavement:

Coming to terms with the loss really happened – most of us experience severe shock and it takes time to believe our loved one has gone. After loss, you may find yourself looking out for that person or wake up and forget they have gone. You may feel a part of you is physically missing and find it hard to grieve.

Experiencing the pain of grief – grief is the agony you feel inside with the loss of a loved one. Grief is complex. Some people cry for days, get angry & lash out, others withdraw and grieve privately. Grief may include: sorrow, longing, guilt, numbness, anger, hopelessness, loneliness and despair. Some people lock their emotions away, but painful as it feels it's important to let yourself grieve and share it with others.

Trying to adjust - once you have accepted loss and expressed your emotions, you can begin to adjust to a new life. The realisation that other people’s lives move on, while yours has been ripped apart can feel like a blow. In time, however, you will heal.

Tolerating the loss - one day you may get to a point where you always remember the person you lost - but you will also begin to move forward. This is not a bad thing. It does not mean you betrayed your loved one; it simply means you have found a way to cope and survive.

When should I ask for help? Feelings of distress and despair are normal after grief unless they go on too long. If you feel like you’re no longer coping, you may need help from a counsellor. Reasons for needing professional support include: you drink or take drugs, you have suicidal thoughts, you’re acting recklessly, or violently.

Counselling for bereavement helps you cope more effectively with loss. Specifically, bereavement counselling offers an understanding of the mourning process; exploring areas that prevent you from moving forward or helping you resolve conflict. It can help you to adjust to a new sense of self. You may never stop missing the person you lost, but with time and support, you can begin a new life and new sense of purpose.

As a bereavement counsellor in Twickenham aims to get you to the point where you can function normally, however long that takes. One day, you will find happiness and meaning again; by finding ways to remember the person, like anniversaries, or creating a memorial. You should be able to preserve your loved one’s memory and honour their life without letting their absence destroy you.

At Counselling in Twickenham there is also support for a variety of other issues.