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Everyone Grieves Differently in Grief Counseling

There’s no right way to grieve

When a loved one dies, it’s difficult to cope with that loss. People grieve in a variety of ways. There’s no right way to say goodbye to someone you care about, and don’t be surprised if when you’re grieving you experiencing an array of emotions. Some people find themselves in a state of shock, while others are angry at their loss. If you’re sad that your loved one is gone, that’s natural. You don’t have to explain yourself or your grief. There are many ways to grieve, and we’re going to talk about the unique ways to say goodbye.

Anger and Grieving

Losing a loved one is a painful experience. Not everyone deals with grief in the same way. Some people become angry after a loved one dies. If someone you love passes away suddenly, you might have a hard time coping because you didn’t get to say goodbye. It could create frustration and anger in you. It’s difficult to understand the rage connected with death.

Sadness and Grieving

The most common emotion associated with grieving is sadness. It’s natural to experience sadness when you lose a loved one. They’re not here on this earth with you. You miss laughing with them and sharing initimate details about each other’s lives. These moments are gone, and it’s understandable that you’re sad about that.

Nostalgia and Grieving

It’s difficult to accept when someone you love dies, and one way that you may cope is to be nostalgic. Many people look at old photos of their loved one, remembering the good times, and celebrating that person’s life. Nostalgia can help people get through the hard times of grieving.

Shock and Grief

Some people find death traumatic especially when it’s sudden. For example, when someone dies suddenly, it can be shocking to those who love them. When a person dies who is young, people who love them may be shocked.

A Secret About Grief Counseling

Have you heard of the various stages of grief? They are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Most people believe that these are the common phases of grief that people believe one goes through after a loved one dies, however these people are wrong. Well, not exactly. Let’s learn more about this.

Who created the stages of grief?

Most people believe that when someone dies, they go through the five stages of grieving. Dr. Elizabeth Kubler Ross identified the stages of grief. As mentioned above they are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. In reality, Julia Ross was working with terminally ill patients who were trying to accept the fact that death was imminent. They went through a series of steps to face the fact that they were going to die.  Dr. Kubler Ross documented these stages in her book including one entitled “On Death and Dying.” When she interviewed these terminally ill patients, they seem to go through similar phases. That’s when she developed the five stages of grief. The phases of grief, unlike many people assume, do not refer to what a person goes through when they lose a loved one, but rather what terminally ill patients experience when they come to grips with the fact that they’re dying.

What you feel when someone dies

I know a woman whose mother died when she was 18 years old. She went through a variety of emotions. She was shocked at first and after her mother passed away she partied a lot to escape her feelings of sadness. One might say she was in denial. She didn’t want to deal with her mother being gone because her mother was also her best friend. It’s hard to lose anybody but it’s brutal to lose the person who gave birth to you. A therapist told this woman that she would go through several stages of grief. These stages are the ones referenced above. However that therapist was wrong. The woman was extremely angry about her loss and she didn’t want to accept that her mother was dead. Eventually her anger subsided and she was able to come to a place of acceptance. However she did not experience the other stages of grief. The point is, not everyone copes with loss in the same way.

The stages of grief do apply when a loved one dies

Even though initially the stages of grief were created by Kubler Ross to talk about how someone who is dying copes with that concept, they also are relevant when it comes to losing a person you love. For example, even though the woman I referenced above did not experience the stages of grief in chronological order, many people do. I know a woman who lost her father and went through the stages of grief in order. At first, she couldn’t handle the fact that her father was dead. She was in a phase of denial because her dad was abusive towards her. Then she became angry when she realized that she didn’t have a chance to confront him about the abuse before he died. After the anger, she went into the bargaining phase; she wished that her father was still alive so she could have time to resolve her resentment. After she realized that she wasn’t able to solve these issues, she became depressed. Finally, in grief counseling, she talked opened up about the abuse. She was able to express how much her father hurt her. During these sessions, she came to a place of acceptance.   

How grief counseling helps after a loved one dies

Grief counseling is a specific type of therapy that allows people to cope with a loss. Losing someone that you love undoubtedly hurts. It’s difficult to figure out how to deal with that pain, which can be excruciating. Imagine how it feels to lose your spouse, someone you’ve spent your whole life loving? When you see a grief counselor, you’re able to talk your feelings out and express that pain aloud to a professional who cares. A grief counselor knows about how painful it is when someone you love dies. Whether you are working with a therapist in your area or an online counselor, you’re getting help to cope with your loss. There are so many different ways to lose a loved one, and a grief counselor can help you work through your feelings about death. When you’re grieving, at times it feels like it won’t end, but it will. Consider going to counseling to talk about your grief. The pain may feel like it will never stop, but as the stages of grieving show, there is hope. You will heal in time. The right support, and that includes seeing a competent mental health professional.

Getty photo by kaipong

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