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Category:  Articles » Self Improvement » Grief-Loss

 

Grief Counseling Reviewed

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2009-05-30 07:09:59     
Article by Maurice Turmel PhD

Back in my practice days I saw many individuals who were suffering the effects of grief and loss after having lost a close loved one. This could include a friend, spouse, child, partner, parent or other relative who had passed on suddenly due to illness or accident. Occasionally I was presented with a couple where one of them had recently received a terminal illness diagnosis and only had months to live. All of these situations were particularly traumatic in their own way.

With these latter couples, we would discuss what was happening and how each of them was dealing with their feelings. The diagnosed partner seemed to have the easier time, having accepted their illness and the eventual fatal consequences. I saw this type of reaction in my own family with a terminally ill brother-in-law and my sister. It was always the surviving partner who had the most difficulty with the situation because they would have to go on alone.

When it comes to grief counseling, no matter what the external circumstances, the goal was always to Listen! As a grief recovery counselor, this meant identifying the feelings behind the words so that this part of the client's experience could be relfected back to them. I would say things like: "So what you're feeling is scared, angry, depressed and/or sad." With each reflection I would ask them to check inside to see if what I'd offered was accurate. More often than not I was right. That began their introduction to listening to their own feelings.

Then I would instruct them to pay attention to that particular feeling and tell me more about it. They would then describe their feelings in detail along with whatever physical reactions might be attached to it. Tears would begin to flow as they related the physical and emotional reactions they were experiencing. This was the essence of my counselling approach for persons in grief, no matter what the precipitating circumstances.

It was not unusual for clients to ask about Stages of Grief and/or some theory they had heard about in their research on the matter. As interesting as this might be, I would point out that anything that distracted them from their feelings was a waste of their recovery efforts. In contrast, anything that helped them focus on feelings would always be the most beneficial. After a few challenging sessions, where painful feelings were addressed and released, the client would realize that this was the path to recovery. Not only that, but learning to identify, describe and release feelings as a general practice, would have benefits far beyond their successful grief recovery.

Our society is geared toward Externals, like stages, graphs, charts, outlines and theories. Good counselling focuses on Internals " feelings, emotions and physical reactions. In other words, counselling focuses on The Heart where we feel our life and where emotional healing takes place. Once an individual is properly focused they can take it from there. A few tools like Journaling, Writing Letters to your lost loved one, listening to favourite music and poetry will put you in touch with Your Heart. You can now heal because you are now Listening!

Grief recovery counseling can come in the form of an experienced therapist or a well crafted book resource that helps you focus on feelings. A fully narrated resource comes closest to the actual consulting room experience. Losing a loved one generates powerful feelings of bereavement and grief. A feeling approach to grief recovery takes advantage of this because those feelings are so close to the surface. For some, just a little push and some well focused guidance may be all an individual needs to get off on the right foot. We all need Permission to Feel, especially when dealing with grief and loss. Our heart and soul are ready to take us there and help us engage our innate healing capacity.

With any recovery process there can be many distractions along the way. In the case of grief recovery these can come in the form of stages, charts and graphs that are intellectually interesting but have no value in terms of your recovery. Most religions, even though well-intentioned, fall short on this matter as well. A good grief resource, counselor or support group can help you focus on the heart of the matter which is your feeling nature. Externals, even when interesting, can detract you from the task at hand - healing your broken heart.

This has been a brief overview of what grief recovery counseling, via a professional therapist or well-crafted grief resource, can provide. We reviewed why externals can detract from the process and why a program that focuses on your emotions and feelings is the key to a successful recovery. By applying these tools you will come to a point where thinking about your loss seldom brings you to tears. As the grief wound heals, what you are left with is the love in your heart. As Martha Stewart would say: "And that's a good thing."

Specialized in: Grief Counseling - Grief Counseling Help - Grief Recovery Counseling - Counseling For Grief And Loss - Counseling For Loss Of Loved One - Loss Of Loved One Counseling - Grief And Loss Counseling
URL: http://www.howtocopewithgriefandloss.com/Grief-Counseling.html
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