Grief is a natural reaction to the death of a loved one or a major life change such as divorce or illness. For some people, the grieving process can cause acute mental and physical anguish that, left untreated, can persist for months or years. Grief counseling is a form of therapy designed to help resolve the feelings of helplessness, anger, sadness and anxiety that accompany loss. The process of grief counseling is different for everyone, but the primary benefit of such counseling is to help people and families work through and recover from loss in a healthy manner.
Grieving produces an array of powerful and intense emotions and, for some people, suppressing these emotions can lead to problems later in life. Facing a painful loss is one of the most important steps in the grieving process. For people who have problems expressing themselves and those who have extensive responsibilities that serve to distract from their loss, grief counseling can help them process their feelings while simultaneously coping with the changes in their lives. For many, working through loss in grief counseling sessions can prevent the negative physical and emotional side effects that come from ignoring emotions after a painful loss.
Though everyone expresses grief in his or her own unique way, two of the most common feelings associated with loss are loneliness and isolation. For this reason, grief counseling is often most beneficial when performed in a group setting. The advantage of group counseling is that it allows people to develop relationships with others who can empathize with their loss. Sharing in group therapy sessions can help to create healthy emotional connections even as grieving people feel most isolated from family and friends. Another critical benefit of grief counseling as a group is the helpful exchange of information; for example, people dealing with serious illnesses can find out what to expect in the future and learn from the experiences of other group members.
One of the benefits of counseling when grief strikes multiple parties, including couples and families, is that it allows individuals to work through their grief in their own fashion and on their own timetable. Everyone responds to loss differently. In grief counseling sessions, learning to understand and respect the grieving process of a loved one can go a long way toward promoting compassion and avoiding divisions among family members.
One of the realities of loss is that it can have serious psychological ramifications. While grieving is healthy after suffering a loss, clinical depression is not a normal response to loss. One of the most critical benefits of undergoing grief counseling with a professional is that signs of depression can be identified early and effectively treated.