Grief Counseling: Benefits of Seeking Out Support
With the death of a loved one comes a whole host of burdens and losses, from the need to make funeral plans to the loss of companionship, intimacy and shared activities. Grief is its own unique experience, which needs to be processed, examined, and ultimately accepted. Grief counseling helps individuals, families and couples understand, express and heal. We’ve put together a list of counseling techniques and approaches used in counseling.
Common Grief Therapy Approaches
- After a loss, we may find ourselves mentally & emotionally consumed by thoughts and feelings surrounding our loss. When provided a safe and nurturing environment, we can share our story of loss, allowing for us to become more familiar with this strange and apparent emotion. Telling a story, sharing a memory, or speaking about our losses helps us understand our perceptions, feelings and beliefs. Telling our story reflects our values and allows us to face the grief instead of avoid it.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- This well-known therapy approach is focused on learning to recognize and restructure thinking patterns that are limiting your growth. CBT is more “action oriented” and allows for clients and therapists to measure progress easier than with other approaches. Another benefit of CBT is the emphasis on learning new skills, called coping skills, to manage difficult emotions or create new behaviors that move clients towards their goals.
- Art therapy allows for creativity and flexibility in the therapy room. Though it may seem less structured, Art Therapy approaches set clear intention for expression, communication and processing. Just as Narrative Therapy encourages verbal processing, art therapy encourages non-verbal processing through traditional art such as painting and drawing, along with other forms of creative expression such as dancing, singing, role playing and poetry writing. Many people seek out Art Therapy to help with healing from loss and grief because it allows for a variety of interventions that can be tailored to individual needs
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
- This emerging technique emphasizes the importance of accepting all emotions, thoughts and feelings just as they are, absent from avoidance, over-thinking, or feeding into thought-patterns that slow the healing process. ACT can also be helpful for clients who are experiencing “chronic grief” or “complicated grief”, this is, grief that lasts for more than a year after the loss. The reason ACT can be helpful for complicated grief is because complicated grief tends to be rooted in unprocessed emotions and rigid, self-damaging beliefs surrounding the loss. ACT can help break these thinking patterns and introduces a mindful approach to experiencing and processing emotions.
- Group Therapy is a great support for those experiencing loss, whether that loss be recent or not. The groups are made up of individuals who share similar experiences and can safely connect with others in a nurturing and accepting environment. The main reason that Group Therapy has been so successful as a treatment for grief is because it normalizes the experience of grief that can often feel confusing and strange.
Mind By Design provides grief counseling services and offers a variety of approaches. Kristin Justice, LAC, specializes in grief, loss & healing. Click here to learn about our grief counseling services or to work with our grief specialist, Kristin Justice, LAC.
You can also call or text us for more information at 609-300-6481.
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