Bereavement counselling aims to help clients who are suffering to cope with the confusing and chaotic event of losing a loved one. Clients may suffer from anger, guilt, overwhelming sadness shock, forgetfulness and an inability to concentrate. Overall, experts believe that there are four stages of bereavement. Initially a person must accept that their loss is real and then experience the pain of grief. The sufferer must then adjust to life without their loved one and start putting their energy into something new so that they can move on. Bereavement counsellors aim to help their clients move through these stages smoothly as a supportive and objective aid.
A client’s own family and friends may also be suffering from the same bereavement so it is useful to talk to an objective therapist as well. It is time to seek help when the person cannot function in daily life, sees no point to getting out of bed or neglects themselves or their loved ones for example. Bereavement can be a long lasting period either side of 18 months. Therefore, clients may also wish to see a counsellor a long time after the death of their loved one if they feel they haven’t emotionally progressed.
In some cases a client may seek pre-bereavement counselling if their loved one is suffering from a long-term incurable illness. In this case, therapists can help a client or their family to cope with their overwhelming emotions at this stressful time. Therapy for children facing this event may also be beneficial.