Bereavement and grief counselling in Manchester

Bereavement counselling involves supporting individuals who have experienced the loss of a loved one. Counselling helps them work through their grief as well as perhaps learn coping mechanisms to help. Bereavement counselling is recommended for anyone, of any age, whose loss seems overwhelming or whose life is being adversely affected by their grief.

Bereavement counselling aims to help an individual explore his or her emotions. At the first meeting, the bereaved will likely be asked about his or her loss, about his or her relationship to the deceased, and about his or her own life. Answering these questions often means tapping into sadness or anger, so emotional outbursts should not be censored. Crying and yelling may come naturally during bereavement counselling and certainly will not offend me.

It is now commonly accepted that grief involves a five-stage cycle of denial anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. The cycle can be experienced by those who have suffered a loss, or those who have been informed that they themselves are terminally ill and may die soon.

Denial

They say this is the first stage of grief, occurs when an individual refuses to accept that their loss, or the news of their impending loss, is true. This is often simply ignoring all evidence to the contrary and continue as if a loved one will be coming home soon, or they will not be facing their own death. Denying the truth may be a conscious or unconscious choice and may last for varying degrees of time. However, particularly when presented with the body and burial or cremation, individuals often have no choice but to pass into the next stage.

Anger

Its easy for people who have suffered a loss or been informed of their own terminal illness to become overwhelmingly angry. They may be angry at their doctors, angry at themselves, angry at other relatives or friends, angry at the deceased or even angry with their religious deity for allowing this situation to occur. Often, however, this anger burns itself out eventually and this emotion may be replaced with the next stage.

Bargaining

This is more prevalent for individuals who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, a period of bargaining will likely occur in which the individual attempts to wheedle a deal with their religious deity. For example they may attempt such bargains as “If you take away the pain, then I will…” or “If you let me live, then I will…” Individuals watching a loved one suffer may also attempt such bargains, such as “If you just let my sister live, I will…” Sometimes this bargaining may also occur irrationally after a death, in which an individual begs for their loved one to be returned to life in exchange for whatever price such a bargain would demand. When this does not work, the result is often the next stage of grief.

Depression

When an individual is facing death, the depression that is experienced often stems from the first steps in accepting their own mortality. You may feel sad, anxious, scared and even a certain amount of regret or guilt. For people who have lost a loved one, depression may include the same emotions as they will just be beginning to realise that their situation is irrevocable and they really must continue to live without the presence of the deceased in their lives. These first hints at acceptance then lead into the last stage of grief.

Acceptance

People approaching their own deaths may come to accept this fact long before their relatives and friends do so. This acceptance may come many months or even years before their death will occur, and it will often prompt the individual to examine their current way of life and decide what is enormously important to them. These decisions sometimes influence the individual to change their way of living, such as moving to an area that they have always wanted to live, take a trip that they have always wanted to take, change careers to a sector in which they have always been interested, or stop working all together. Individuals who have recently lost a loved one will likely come to the acceptance stage after they have become comfortable with the fact that the deceased will not be returning to them. This may also spark life changes, though major decisions such as to move houses, change careers or have a baby should be put off for at least a year until the individual is certain that this is rationally the best decision.

However with these five stages they may not necessarily go in this order or present itself to you but if you do feel like any of the stages I can help you through this by talking and offering coping mechanisms to guide you through this time.

Get help today!