Grief Counseling: Is It Worth Trying?

These last few weeks have been extremely difficult as I deal with the recent death of a close relative. I’ve experienced death in the past, but this time, it’s definitely hitting me harder. With this being my first time grieving in this way, I am realizing how beneficial it is to seek help when battling with a huge loss. As I start the journey of searching for the right counseling services to help me process everything, I thought, “why not share what I’ve learned so far with my readers?” Ultimately, I think grief counseling is worth a try - here’s why: 

Recognizing The Seven Stages Of Grief

Experts say that there are different stages of grief; seeking counseling following a loss or difficult experience can help you to understand these stages, and work through them. You might not experience all 7 stages in order or at all, but knowing what to expect and that what you are feeling is normal can lift some of the heavy weight off your shoulders. 

The first stage is shock/denial. In this stage of grief, you might deny that what happened actually happened, and have difficulty accepting it. In the second stage, pain/guilt, you feel intense pain, and possibly guilt, about what happened, even if it was not your fault. During the third stage, anger/bargaining, you could feel intense anger toward the situation, and think about things such as, “if I can have them back, I will never do something bad again.” The fourth stage, depression, might consist of great sadness. Self-isolation is prevalent during this stage, and you might lose interest in things you once loved. 

Upward turn is the fifth stage. This is the beginning of feeling better, but you do not yet feel completely alright. During reconstruction, the sixth stage, you might begin to address how your new life will be following your loss. In the final stage, acceptance/hope, you can recognize that while your loss will never be okay, you have much to look forward to in your own life, and are ready to move forward with your future. Seeking the help that you need by attending counseling will help you to move through these stages as you encounter them. 

Focus On Yourself Again

After a heartbreaking loss, it is really hard to focus on yourself. You are worried that if you focus on anything else, that you will forget your loved one, and trust me - you do not have to forget about them. But, there comes a point where you have to try to focus a bit more on yourself for your own mental health and overall wellness. Counseling can help with this significantly. A good therapist should help you replace your negative emotions during the grieving process with more sustainable and happy ones. Having someone to talk to during this process definitely helps significantly and it can make things a lot easier to process. 

Don’t think this will happen overnight though. There is definitely not a set schedule when it comes to how you should be acting or what you should be doing. Everyone is different and grieving takes time. A grief therapist knows this and will work through each stage with you - at your pace.

Choosing Your Counselor

When you go through a devastating loss and you realize that it is time to talk with a counselor, you might be stuck on where to start when it comes to finding a professional therapist. I recommend starting with Google because you can easily search for therapists in your area. For example, if you live in Lawrenceville, you could type in “Therapist Lawrenceville GA” and quite a few options should come up. There’s even a few other helpful resources for your search such as Therapy for Black Girls and Psychology Today

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Then, your next step is to find a good fit for yourself. You want a compassionate therapist to help you through the healing process and places such as Ray of Hope Counseling Services strive to make you feel safe, secure, and connected while guiding you through the process. Ray of Hope Counseling Services might be a good option for you because they have seven convenient locations throughout Georgia and accept all forms of insurance and Medicaid. They can help with depression and anxiety, addiction, stress and anger issues, and more. If you are battling with grief, anxiety, or depression, I highly recommend reaching out to someone, such as the counselors at Ray of Hope Counseling Services. You will benefit from it significantly in the end.

No matter what, always remember to take it one step at a time. Grieving has been super stressful for me, so it’s honestly been hard to wrap my brain around seeking therapy. But, I’ve learned to be patient with myself through the process. Healing is a journey that cannot be rushed.

-m.

Have any other tips for grieving? Share them in the comments!