When something unexpected and tragic happens, you may find yourself struggling to deal with the sense of loss and pain that all too often accompany such events. The way people deal with an unexpected or severe loss will vary from person to person, but everyone has a sense of grief. While grief is normal, grief that seems excessive either in duration or severity may indicate a need for grief counseling.
What is Grief?
Although feeling sad or unhappy with an event is certainly a part of grief, grief is not defined by one specific feeling. Rather, grief is the reaction one has to loss, and it can run across a spectrum of feelings: sadness, feelings of guilt, anger (both at oneself and others), a sense of regret over things one did (or did not do) that cannot now be changed, and other similar emotions are all a part of grief.
Although everyone's experience will differ, there tend to be five stages of grief for most people.
- The first stage is denial, wherein the person affected has difficulty believing the situation is or has happened.
- Next is anger: anger at oneself, at others, or even anger at a higher power such as God.
- Third is bargaining, wherein the grieving party attempts to cope by trying to effect a change in the situation.
- Following this is depression - this is the stage where many people tend to get stuck for prolonged periods of time.
- Finally, acceptance is the final step, wherein one accepts what has happened, makes peace with it, and moves on.
Is There a Problem with Experiencing Grief?
There is nothing wrong with experiencing grief. Some people believe that it is a sign of weakness; however, nothing could be further from the truth. Any time you experience a sudden change, or perhaps a major event that was not unexpected but about which there was not much you could do, there will be some feelings of grief that come along with that.
While grief is not in and of itself a problem, prolonged grief, or grief that is more extreme than what you might expect, can give rise to other issues such as depression, emotional and psychological issues, and so on. For this reason it is important to know when it is time to get help.
Grief Counseling Can Help You
If you are experiencing grief and you seem to be unable to recover, or it seems to be beyond what you think you should be experiencing, grief counseling can help. There are many ways to approach grief counseling--from individual one-on-one time with a counselor to group sessions with others who are experiencing grief--and no one approach is best.
Remember that grief is a very complicated thing, and so your therapist or counselor should be able to assist you in developing a way to learn to cope with your grief given your specific situation.
Should you seek grief counseling?
Ultimately, only you can determine whether you should seek grief counseling. However, remember that although grief is a normal part of coping with a major change, it should begin to get better with time. Further, although your loss is unquestionably important to you, grief should not be so severe that it interferes with your normal ability to function.
If your grief has lasted a long time, or if you find yourself unable to function the way you need to, you should consider seeking out grief counseling. There is no need for you to try to bear this load alone; instead, you should seek out a professional who can help you deal with your emotions and assist you in moving on towards a happy and productive life. Contact me for more information. I am are here to help you.