Coping with Grief and Loss

What is it?

Coping with grief and loss can be very difficult. Bereavement refers specifically to the process of recovering from the death of a loved one, whilst grief is a reaction to any form of loss. Both encompass a range of feelings from deep sadness to anger. The process of adapting to a significant loss can vary from one person to another, depending on his or her background, beliefs, relationship to what was lost, and other factors.

What are the symptoms?

Grief is associated with feelings of sadness, yearning, guilt, regret, and anger, among others. Some people may experience a sense of meaninglessness, and others can feel a sense of relief. Emotions are often surprising in their strength or mildness, and they can also be confusing, such as when a person misses a painful relationship.

When a person’s grief-related thoughts, behaviours, or feelings are extremely distressing, unrelenting, or incite concern, a qualified mental health professional may be able to help.
Counselling and therapy is an effective way to learn to cope with the stressors associated with the loss and to manage symptoms with techniques such as relaxation. Each experience of grief is unique, complex, and personal, and therapists will tailor therapy to meet the specific needs of each person.

What are the therapies that can help?

Therapy may help a person to:

  • Come to terms with the reality of the loss
  • Work with the emotional pain, anger or guilt
  • Re-adjust aspects of their life without the significant person
  • Rebuild connections and relationships with others
  • Build ‘living memories’ which recognise the quality and importance and irreplaceable impact of the person in their loss
  • Build awareness and meaning that this has for the person now

Types of therapy that can help to cope with grief and loss include:

Related issues

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Useful Links

NHS – Dealing with grief and loss