Louise was in her thirties before anyone close to her passed away. She’s grateful she had so much time with her grandparents, but she’s pretty sure she should be further along in the grieving process by now. She still cries a lot, though she usually manages to wait until she’s alone, and instead of remembering them fondly, she tries not to think of them at all.
While this is a painful time, counseling can help the transition from pain to peaceful acceptance. Louise would benefit from some assistance in letting go of what was and accepting what is. Memories of loved ones should, after the grief has faded, leave us with good feelings, and counseling can facilitate exactly that.
Grief and Loss Counseling – Therapists and Counselors in Charlotte
One day, there comes a phone call that changes everything; perhaps it’s the end of a long disease or a tragic accident—these are some of our worst fears in life. Although we all know that death is a guarantee, we are rarely prepared when it happens. After the loss of someone we love, we experience many emotions, which often include sadness, loneliness, and regret.
Sometimes, we are able to recover from a loss smoothly and on our own. Many other times, especially depending on the circumstances surrounding the death of a loved one, we experience such intense and long-lasting emotions that help is needed to establish a new normal. This type of help is known as grief or bereavement counseling. If you have experienced the loss of someone you love, we can help you process these emotions and move on in a healthy and comforting way.
When Should I Seek Grief Counseling?
Grief isn’t resolved overnight. It can take months, and sometimes even up to a year, to come to accept the loss and remember the loved one with fondness instead of sadness. However, if grief is still painful to the point of interfering with daily activities after a year or so, it may be time to talk to a professional.
There are many other signs that grief is becoming overwhelming. Many people will turn to substance abuse or other unhealthy coping mechanisms. It is also common to become withdrawn from friends and family, lose interest in things you once loved, and replay the events surrounding the death obsessively, particularly if the death was untimely. These are all indicators that grief counseling would be helpful.
Other symptoms of overwhelming grief include (Wheeler-Roy):
Overeating or loss of appetite—Even daily stress can cause us to eat more than usual to comfort ourselves, and grief is much more than “regular” stress. Similarly, some people respond to emotional turmoil by loosing their appetite.
Sleep disturbances, including sleeping more than usual or not sleeping as much, or sleep plagued by tough dreams.
Aggressive or withdrawn behavior—It’s common for grief to cause us to lash out at others or avoid interaction.
Health flare-ups (often caused by the changes in eating and sleep patterns)—Though this isn’t unusual, it’s one of the reasons that it’s important to seek help if you need it.
Emotional instability—If you’ve just lost someone, it’s completely understandable that you might randomly cry at someone’s joke. It’s also understandable that you might feel the urge to laugh at an otherwise sad moment.
Hyperactivity—People often bury themselves in activity as a way to keep from ruminating too deeply on what’s troubling them. So too do some find they haven’t left bed in days.
Hopelessness—At some moments, it may feel like things will never be okay again. They certainly won’t be like they were before, but with the help of a grief counselor, you can regain your hope for the future.
How Grief Counseling Can Help
Despite what you may have heard about the stages of grief, it’s complicated and non-linear (American Psychological Association). In other words, we don’t experience anger, stop being angry, and then move into calm acceptance. The stages of grief can overlap. You may experience one part of grief, move into another stage, and then regress back to the previous stage. You may skip certain phases entirely. There’s no right or wrong way to grieve.
People from different cultures and religious traditions will all grieve in their own ways. In fact, many cultures with set grieving rituals find that they’re able to grieve and then move on from the loss in a relatively healthy way. Unfortunately, not all of American society has culturally-imposed grieving rituals, and many of us are completely unprepared for loss when it does happen. That’s where Thriveworks Charlotte comes in. Grief counseling can help you more effectively cope with the loss of your loved one. Thriveworks Charlotte counselors do this by helping clients:
- Accept that the loss has happened and acknowledge that going forward must occur
- Stay connected to the memories of the deceased in a healthy way
- Create a life without the deceased
- Develop coping mechanisms for when sadness hits
Thriveworks Charlotte Grief Counseling
Thriveworks counselors are educated and experienced in helping clients move forward after even the most tragic and unexpected losses. Whether you are experiencing grief after the loss of a spouse, a parent, a child, or even a pet, we can help you move past the overwhelming sadness. It may seem impossible, but the first step is reaching out for help. Thriveworks Charlotte therapists are experts in their field, and they are ready to put their knowledge to work for you. We understand that your need for help may be urgent, and with respect to that, we have appointments ready within 24 hours for new clients.
Let us help you put your life back together. Call us today at 980-581-3061.
“Grief: coping with the loss of your loved one.” American Psychological Association. Apa.org.
Wheeler-Roy, Susan. EdD. Bernard A. Amyot. MS, MA. Grief Counseling Resource Guide: A Field Manual. 2004. New York State Office of Mental Health. Omh.ny.gov.