Bereavement and loss: the cost of grief
Updated: Nov 4
Welcome to blog 10 of 2022. With each blog, we focus on a topical theme of counselling therapy, which I hope will inform you in your decision to seek therapy or to become a therapist.
I have been invited to facilitate a workshop on November 26th for the 2022 Bereavement Conference 'Decolonising Grief: From Marginalisation to Inclusivity', which is hosted by ONLINEVENTS. So. recently, I've been thinking a lot about grief.
As a therapist, it's inevitable that bereavement, being a part of the human experience, features in my work. Clients seek a space in which to acknowledge their loss, express their grief and understand its process.
Loss of a loved one is painful; it can be harrowing. The same may be true for other kinds of loss.
Loss of a loved one is painful; it can be harrowing. The same may be true for other kinds of loss. Grief may be due to the loss of a home, job, identity, friendship group. It may be a response to a gradual loss or change over time, such as aging, a health condition, the erosion of the planet.
Although grief is not considered to be a clinical condition, there are common symptoms that can affect both our physical and mental health. Some symptoms may be similar to depression. Lack of focus, a lowered immune system and physical pain may also occur. Which is why some of us visit our GP and seek counselling when experiencing grief.
Loss and grief that does not conform to a social or cultural norm may be denied or suppressed for fear of judgement.
What warrants loss and grief is often dictated by society: who or what we can grieve for, in what way and for how long. Consequently, grief that does not conform to a social or cultural norm may be denied or suppressed, for fear of judgement. This can be an isolating experience, causing psychological wounding, adding to the pain of grief. People of minoritized groups may not feel free to express their grief beyond the privacy of their homes or outside of their community. Grief can be multi-layered.
Rituals for mourning differ according to custom and belief. But across cultures, there are key strands to the process of grief:
Adjusting to being without
Holding whilst moving on.
There are several stages, not necessarily linear, in this process. Grief can be complex. It may be personal, familial, communal, societal, ancestral or multi-layered. Time is needed to adjust to a way of living after loss.
With such losses, we may respond in a similar way to the loss of a loved one, yet judge ourselves or feel judged by others for our sense of loss. But, in order to heal, it is important we acknowledge our loss along with our emotional responses to it.
If you are experiencing grief and feel that you are struggling to cope, counselling can help.
You may find the following links helpful: