About Grief Counseling
Grief is essentially a reaction to any significant loss. There is no time-frame that is “normal” for moving on from loss, which can make it difficult to determine whether or not you may need grief counseling. If you find yourself struggling to function, it is likely time to seek additional help. It’s important to remember that therapy does not necessarily mean committing to weekly sessions for a significant period of time. Brief therapy, with just a few sessions may be all you need to let go and begin to move through your grief.
Grieving is an active process. Often people will say “I don’t understand why this still upsets me, it has been years since he passed away.” When asked if they have ever really allowed themselves to grieve, cry, feel bad, etc, they say something along the lines of that there was too much to do. Perhaps they planned the funeral and had to be the one to “hold it all together” for the rest of the family. Maybe they had young children and a full time job, busy lives are a good reason that many people push grief away rather than actually experiencing it. Until we allow ourselves to grieve, the grief will never leave us.
There are also times that people around us or society does not acknowledge the depth of our grief. The loss of a beloved pet is sometimes as difficult if not more so than the loss of a relative we were not very close with. We share everything with our pets, our happiest times, our most difficult times, they live in our house with us and our present for most of our activities. Many pet owners cannot even close a door without a dog or cat attempting to connect with them. For some, a pet may become their biggest support after another loss such as the loss of a spouse or child. There is not “wrong” way to grieve and we may feel grief after any kind of loss.
Here are some examples of things that it is common to grieve:
- Death of a loved one, even an estranged loved one
- Divorce or the end of a relationship
- Death of a pet, or loss of a pet as a relationship ends
- Loss of a job
- Moving to a new area, even if the move is positive and wanted
- Life transitions like a child going away to college or a retirement
- Chronic illness and the loss of our health
- Chronic illness of a partner or loved one
- Aging and the feeling that we missed out or compromised our dreams and now it is too late
- Natural disasters such as hurricane, tornado, etc that have caused a loss
- Loss of a home and belongings to fire or eviction/foreclosure
- A friendship that ends due to the person moving or simply growing apart
As you can see, there are many things that we may grieve beyond a loss due to death. If you feel like you are having difficulty moving through your loss, consider making an appointment to talk about it with a professional.