Grief counseling is like a sturdy bridge over a river's rough, treacherous water. Without that bridge, crossing the painful river of grief may seem impossible. Challenges may arise with the bridge in place, but inside, the sufferer understands that the crossing can be made in safety.
Grief has several stages; in some models, five stages are included. In other models, there are seven stages of grief. The reason for this variation is that the stages of grief are often loosely interpreted since everyone experiences them differently. One individual might spend a long time stuck in the "anger" phase, while another may feel no anger when a loved one passes.
The seven most common stages of grief follow:
Shock and Denial: Shock is among the first emotions you feel when a loved one passes; it is also normal to feel as though the news can't possibly be true.
Guilt and Pain: You may feel guilt when someone you love has died, and excruciating emotional pain is likely to accompany it.
Anger and Bargaining: Anger over the death of a loved one might be directed at someone else, or you might turn it inward toward yourself. Bargaining is sometimes part of the process: You may find yourself asking God to bring your loved one back to life, even though you know that it is not possible.
Reflection, Loneliness, and Depression: An extended period of loneliness and depression often takes over after death. This often happens weeks or months after the death has taken place, and it can be tough for others to understand your feelings. You may focus on the past and isolate yourself from friends and family members during this time.
The Fog Lifts: After weeks, months, or even years, people finally feel the fog of mourning begin to lift.
Reconstruction: Reconstruction follows closely on the heels of the initial upswing. Life begins to feel normal again.
Healing and Acceptance: This is the last stage of grieving, in which you accept that life has changed. You ultimately find yourself looking forward to the future while experiencing happy memories of your lost loved one.
How Grief Counseling Helps
Losing a loved one is devastating, and grief is not a one-size-fits-all process. Grief counselors understand the stages of mourning and are dedicated to helping individuals through the specific steps that are troubling them most.
When you think of difficult past experiences, it is likely that someone helped you through them in some way. Grief counselors help by facilitating the process of grieving, so you do not become trapped in anger, depression, or other negative emotions.
Asking for help may seem like a weakness, and it may feel difficult to place the initial call or send the initial form asking for a consultation with a grief counselor. In reality, taking that step toward the "bridge" is the best way to bring yourself closer to the other side of the river of grief, where