Bereavement Counselling

Leamington Spa, Warwickshire

Grief and how we respond to it differs based on who we are, whom we have lost and how much our day to day life is altered. You may also experience loss following the ending of a relationship, redundancy or losing a pet. It is unique in its impact, course and meaning to each of us. Our immediate response following a death is probably shock, numbness and a sense of disbelief.

In the months after, however, this numbness turns to intense feelings of separation, pain and yearning. Psychiatrist Beverly Raphael describes this phase in the following way:

“The absence of the dead or missing person is every where palpable. The home and familiar environs seem full of painful reminders. Grief breaks over the bereaved in waves of distress. There is intense yearning, pining and longing for the one who has died or is no longer present in our lives. The bereaved feels empty inside as though torn apart.”

The Seven Stages of Grief

The Seven Stages of Grief - click to enlarge

During the counselling we will explore:
  • How you might want to honour that person's life and your time with them
  • What is your biggest strength that will enable you to get through this loss
  • What will help you in the 'Reorganisation' phase of the loss chart
  • How you will know when you have reached the place of 'Moving On' and what that will look like
'Letting Go' Rituals can help:
  • Light a candle and pause
  • Look at photographs of the person
  • Create a Memory Box
  • Allow the feelings to come
  • Speak aloud about the person (alone or to someone else)
  • Plant a tree or flower to nurture as a memory to the person you have lost
  • Releasing balloons at the end of the funeral service or on memorable days like birthdays or anniversaries
  • Create a memory page on www.muchloved.com

I often recommend the book Healing Your Grieving Heart - 100 Practical Ideas by Alan D Wolfelt which many clients have found enlightening.

Grief is often described as the 'absence of presence'. You may feel totally overwhelmed, that you cannot deal with the loss and a heightened distress with focusing on the loss. We will work towards you having the capacity to (Machin 2001):

  • Balance the emotional social and practical consequences of the loss and its consequences and having an optimistic life perspective
  • Make use of social support and emotional resources
  • Make sense of the loss
  • Accept the loss and acknowledge the existence of the sorrow box that remains

In time you will be able to have and cherish the good memories of the person you have lost and look back with love, warmth and affection. It may take many months to face the loss and its important to accept that its normal to experience guilt, anger, denial, sadness or emptiness. There is a big taboo talking about death so I acknowledge that its a brave decision to come for counselling where your pain is confronted but it can help you reach a place where you are able to move on.

Pet Bereavement Counselling

This is something that I specialise in, having had personal experience of losing seven dogs over the years. Losing a pet can be traumatic and the feelings powerful and deeply intense. You are often left with a real sense of sadness and emptiness.

I can help you work through this by offering support and understanding and helping you to make sense of the loss of your beloved pet.

Bereavement Counselling for Leamington Spa, Warwick, Kenilworth & South Warwickshire