Grief is what we experience after a significant loss in our lives. It is most commonly associated with the loss of a loved one, but can also apply to the loss of a job, home, pet or other significant thing or possession in our lives. There are many emotions we go through, as expressed in the “Kubler-Ross Model”—more commonly known as the five stages of grief or loss. The stages are:

    • Denial
    • Anger
    • Bargaining
    • Depression
    • Acceptance

Not everyone experiencing grief will go through each stage, and the stages will not necessarily occur in order. The factors involved in the loss will also determine the length of the grieving process and the severity of emotions we feel. The strength of the relationship of the person you lose, the support group around you, how someone passed away and other factors in your life will all have an effect on your grieving process.

Grieving is an important and necessary process. Some people will try to push off the grieving process to care for other family members, focus on other events in their life, or just to avoid it all together. This can allow the pain from the loss to grow or linger. Grieving allows us to deal with our emotions and face the reality of the situation. When grief is suppressed, it only makes the process more difficult later on.

Talking about the loss of a loved one, looking back on fond or painful memories are subjects that can be difficult to talk about, especially with other friends or family who might be going through the same grieving process. A therapist will listen intently to what you have to say and provide you with an outlet to express your emotions to work through the grieving process. This is extremely helpful and can prevent you from dealing with bouts of depression. Grief also might bring on emotions that are unfamiliar for some people because they have not experienced them before. A therapist can help to explain these feelings and offer ways to effectively deal with them.

The loss of a loved one will never completely stop hurting. You will be reminded of that person from time to time and it may be difficult to think about them. Counseling is not a “cure” for grief, but a way to manage the feelings you have during the grieving process. Remembering the good times you experienced with your loved one and having positive thoughts about them are effective ways to overcome the sad feelings that accompany grief.

If you have recently experienced a difficult loss in your life, we are here for you. Call us to schedule an appointment today to start receiving counseling.