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Grief Counseling Archives – Foundations Counseling

What to Expect in Grief Counseling (And Is It Right for You?)

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After losing a loved one, therapy can help you process your emotions. Read on to learn what to expect in grief counseling and whether it’s right for you.

Grief counseling is a specialized type of therapy that aims at helping people who have experienced the loss of a loved one. Sessions focus on assisting people with working through their sadness, dealing with lingering guilt, and learning the coping mechanisms that can help them move forward with their lives.

Keep reading to learn what to expect in grief counseling and whether it’s right for you.

How Long is the Process?

While grief counseling doesn’t follow the same timeline in every person, it’s not a usually a permanent therapy. Grief counseling is recommended for anyone who has lost a loved one. Young or old, this form of therapy works for anyone working through loss–whether that’s a parent, sibling, spouse, or friend.

Grief counseling is also called bereavement counseling, but the latter term refers to loss through death only. Grief can involve the loss of a person through a breakup or divorce or some other situation.

Learning About Grief

Part of counseling is learning about the grief process and what to expect as you cope with a major loss. During therapy, people are taught the normal grieving process, including familiar feelings and thoughts.

Patients learn how to distinguish what normal grieving looks like, as compared to other mental health conditions normal grieving and other conditions, such as depression, that can develop from grieving.

Many therapists go through the five stages of grief, which are there to help you identify the various forms your grief will take as you cope with the loss.

Normal feelings associated with grieving include fear, anxiety, disbelief, anger, and sadness. Additionally, some people feel physical pain during this period of grief.

What You Can Expect to Do in Grief Counseling

Whether you choose group therapy, individual, or both, here are some of the things you can expect to cover in grief therapy.

1. Work on Expressing Feelings

In grief counseling, people learn to express what they are feeling, no matter what that looks like. Sometimes, this step is difficult for those who have trouble expressing emotions, but learning to talk about grief is an important part of the process.

In therapy sessions, patients may be asked to talk to the deceased, as though they were sitting right there. Or, they may be asked to write letters that express thoughts and feelings left unsaid.

Other ways to get in touch with feelings include looking at photos or visiting a gravesite, or and remembering the lost loved one or object or visiting the grave of a loved one who has died.

2. Becoming Open to New Relationships

This part of the counseling process is there to help people move forward with their lives. This element of counseling helps people view their relationship to the deceased through a different lens.

While the memories of a loved one last a lifetime, talking to someone can help people learn to how to incorporate the past with the changes that come in the future. Part of bereavement counseling serves to help the patient keep their hearts open to new relationships–romantic or otherwise.

3. Find a New Identity

During the duration of therapy, the patient must also work through their identity. People view themselves through the relationships they have. A woman may identify as a wife, but when her husband passes away, that identity changes.

Or a person who has lost both of their parents may feel that they are no longer someone’s son or daughter. In any case–part of the grieving process is understanding how these losses can affect our identity.

Patients may find new purpose in focusing their energy on other existing relationships–strengthening friendships after losing a spouse. Other may find doing volunteer work to helps fill a need to care for others.

When it’s Not Just Grief

Grief is not a mental disorder. Though it looks like depression, the pain is usually temporary, and something everyone goes through at one point or another.

When someone you care about dies, you can expect to feel sad, angry, confused, but if these feeling do not go away, you may need some extra support.

It’s not as if we go through all these stages and then come out the other side all shiny and new and ready to get back on with life. Loss stays under the surface of our lives and continues to permeate long after it first happened. Sometimes all it takes is a specific date, a place, or a song, for all of that grief to come surging back.

Symptoms of depression include insomnia, sadness, changes in appetite, weight loss, and fatigue. If you think you may be depressed, ask your grief counselor for a referral.

Grieving? Call Foundations Counseling Today

Ultimately, grief counseling serves as a way to help patients transition from a dark period marked by loss, to a new, productive path forward. And, arguably the best way to honor someone you love, is to live your best life, rather than continuing the bereavement process.

Of course, getting better takes work, and in many cases, a major time investment. In therapy, patients will uncover the deep emotions they are experiencing during the process. From there, they’ll learn to cope with those emotions and live a normal life.

There is no need to grieve the loss of a loved one alone. If you need help getting through this difficult time, contact us today.

 

Sleep, appetite, Irritability,

5 Signs of Depression

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Following a particularly difficult day or a stressful situation, we have all found ourselves feeling a little off. Or perhaps more upset than usual. It’s human nature to respond to life’s stressors emotionally. Sometimes the reaction is more extreme than merely sadness or feeling upset over events and it is actually a medical conditions known as depression, which requires treatment from a qualified healthcare professional.

There is more than one reason that can cause a person to become depressed. It can affect anyone at any time. Research has shown, however, narrowed down several factors that can increase a person’s odds of becoming depressed. Whether it’s the weather, hormones, our own brain, childhood trauma or loneliness contributing to an increased probability of depression, they all come into play.

Weather

During the long winter months, the sun is much further away from the Earth. This leads to people spending less time outdoors and have less sunshine in their lives. This has been linked to more cases of depression during the winter months. Humans are able to think more clearly during the spring (find something to cite). A lack of sunshine can also lead to a Vitamin D deficiency, which has also been linked to an increased likelihood of depression, according to a study by Hoogenkijk. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18458202)

Brains

How many times have you found yourself at a social event and things are not going the way you wanted? Whether you feel slighted socially, disappointed or the person you wanted to talk to isn’t there, these little daily occurrences add up. Sometimes our brains take these disappointments and begin a negative inner dialogue that exacerbates the situation. Its human nature to set up expectations for ourselves and sometimes these expectations are not met. This is naturally unsatisfactory but, that inner voice can make it so much worse. We have a tendency to compare yourself to those around you and feel cheated out of status, money, friends, etc.

Once that little voice starts talking, telling you how much you have failed and that no one likes you, you’re heading for more than sadness. Add on all the little stresses of daily life piling up on you while this voice is talking, your stress hormones will go into overdrive.  This is the perfect recipe for depression.

Childhood

While some people are more prone to respond to stress with depression, there are certain childhood factors that can increase someone’s odds of struggling with depression more than their peers. Abuse, poverty, trauma and a death of a loved one during childhood can contribute to a person being less capable of brushing off stress easily. This increases your likelihood to go into a fight, flight or freeze when faced with challenges.

Loneliness

Humans are social creatures. We crave belonging to a social group. When we find ourselves without community, it can lead to depression.

We are all human and it is inevitable that life will not always go our way and we will find ourselves hurt and stressed out. Even though it is possible to shut down the negative voice in our heads, that initial comment can hurt. With all these factors going on, it’s important to be well versed in the symptoms of depression so you can recognize if you’re sad or depressed.

Depression is more than feeling blue and crying. Here are 5 symptoms of Depression so you can pinpoint if what you’re feeling needs medical attention.

1. Irritability

Do you find yourself flying off the handle much more than usual? Reactions that are bigger than the situation calls for may be an often overlooked symptom of depression

“Where there is anger, there is always pain underneath.” –Eckhart Tolle

2. Change in Appetite

Another common sigh that you may be experiencing more than sadness and are depressed is a change in your eating habits. Whether you are eating too little or too much and it has led to a significant weight gain or weight loss, those are both symptoms of depression.

3. Sleep Patterns

Staying in bed all the time and finding it difficult to get up and participate in normal, daily activities is a more well-known symptom of depression. The lesser known counterpart is finding yourself unable to sleep and getting far too little rest is another symptom of depression.

4. Isolation

When life is not going our way, its human nature to pull away while we are hurting. It becomes a sign of something more serious when the isolation is extensive and causing complications with family, friends and daily activities. When you are not just pulling away to tend to a wound but remain isolated from your life that is a sign of depression.

5. Tasks

We all have days where the laundry piles up and the dishes are stacked high in the sink. It can feel overwhelming. Those are normal, universal things we all face. It becomes a sign of depression and could become more problematic if you are consistently overwhelmed with daily tasks and find yourself unable to start of complete tasks.

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” –Ernest Hemmingway

Whatever factors are causing your depression, it’s important to understand what’s going on and look for the common symptoms in order get the treatment to help you resume your daily activities. You are not alone in this. At Foundations Counseling, we can help

Foundations Counseling| http://www.yournewfoundation.com/ | 469.215.0314 | 6401 Eldorado Parkway Ste. 210 McKinney, Texas 75070