Grief Counseling Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Grief Counseling

Counseling For Loss & Life provides individual and family counseling services for people suffering from grief. For many years now, counseling for loss of loved ones has been using compiled information to help people who are grieving from the loss of loved ones, to give them the lost security, hope and peace. The information is gathered from many sources such as websites, letters that welcome people's input. The best source of information is from the compiled letters from children, adolescents and adults that serve to be useful in the months and years that are yet to come and deal with people who have lost themselves in the grieving of their loved ones. These letters are quite purposeful because they contain matter that share experiences of how others dealt with the loss of your loved one into one's life.

Grief counselors are highly trained mental health professionals who bring a family-oriented perspective to mental health care. They evaluate and treat mental and emotional disorders and other mental health and behavioral problems within the context of the individual suffering from grief. Grief counselors will typically ask questions about the roles of the individual, patterns, rules, goals, and stages of development, and then work with the individual, couple, or other subsystems of the family to change interaction patterns so that the problem can be resolved.

In general, the impression that grief is as an emotional state associated with the death of someone and the loss that comes with it. Ever human being experiences a turmoil of emotions after a loved one's demise. The range of emotions a person going through grief experiences includes sad thoughts, low feelings, and irrational behavior. There are many different stages that one goes through in experiencing the journey through the grieving process. However, every person experiences differently at each stage. Therapists believe that an important fact to remember is that grief is a manageable process but the pace at which a person recovers varies differently.

There are several possible ways that an individual may be suffering from grief; it could be due to financial difficulties, emotional, behavioral or relationship problems might have been identified in a couple, an individual family member, or in the family as a group. At least initially, these problems might seem to have little or nothing to do with financial problems or even loss. It is even possible that efforts by the family to resolve a relationship problem will lead to overspending, thereby creating a financial difficulty that didn't exist previously. For example, a couple that is trying to deal with marital discord may spend excessively on a vacation in an effort to revive positive feelings toward one another. Similarly, following a divorce, the non-custodial parent may spend beyond his or her means to compensate for perceived losses in the relationship with the child. When these efforts fail to solve the problem or even compound it, the individual involved may seek counseling, identifying the relationship problem as the primary issue. In the course of treatment the relationship between financial and emotional difficulties may become evident. Sometimes, the problems result in the end of many relationships, whereby; individuals will end up suffering from grief because of the loss of the loved ones.

Stages of Grief:

Shock / Denial

Denial is a form of shock that is a stage that one goes through when one experiences trauma. Denial is basically a defense mechanism in our mind that allows us to generate traumatic information at a slow pace without fueling our emotional areas. When a person is in denial, one experience a feeling of numbness, disbelief, restlessness, and/or confusion. In denial a person is unable to concentrate efficiently because the mind becomes weak and hazy. Even very simple tasks conducted everyday become difficult to carry out. Some how this allows a person to make their minds healthy mentally provided stagnation does not occur. Movement of information takes place when feelings of loss and grief are accepted. Many cases indicate that a friend or loved one can act as the catalyst to this awareness by being there to help the victim of grief confront the denial.


The person suffering from grief feels a strong sense of unfairness. The person suffering from the pain of the loss is at times overwhelmed by the sorrow and can be the cause of the person wanting to bargain out of the injury. Under such a situation, the person might consciously or unconsciously, seek refuge with a higher authority. This higher authority may be the God of one's religion or it could even be someone like a doctor. When the person seeks help from God, one feels that magically the person may come back to us if we offer enough worship. Often, our prayers are in the following words: "I will be a better person, God, if you let Jane come back home to me" or "Please God, Take me instead of my son!" This phase of grief doesn't last long since it is brief, and the counseling session tries to give back the person suffering with things that are important to them or simply try to ease the suffering caused by the loss.


Another stage of grief is when a person goes through extreme cases of anger because they become victim to the unfairness caused in the grieving person. We perceive anger to be something that is as bad or wrong or something we have to overcome no matter what. Anger is an emotion just like there are emotions of happiness, sadness, joy, and excitement. Anger is not a state of being bad or good; it is basically when a person is a neutral state. It is not the state of emotion of being in anger that is bad; it is however, what one is capable of doing when angry because it seems to cause the most destructive type of actions. It is important to explain what anger is because people over the centuries have misunderstood to believe that anger is sinful or bad or wrong. This is why it is important to teach people how to deal appropriately with anger. When there is too much anger it turns into inward depression; but when anger turns outward it changes into a state of rage. What counselors try to do is get the people suffering from anger to express their anger through talking and voicing their anger without using violence. This is a healthy approach to deal with this emotional state. Counselors use exercise, meditation, yoga, and martial arts as general routines for dealing with anger.


The stage of depression is linked to what most people call "grief" whereas the other stages are not really looked into in some situations. Depression is a part of the grieving process just as important and sometimes more legitimate than the other stages. When our defenses of anger and denial breakdown, depression is the outcome. The loss suffered by the individual changes into an acute emotional pain. This leads to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. The length of this time of sadness varies, but the frequency is recurring as well. This can cause a person to feeling depressed and then at times feel like things are getting better, and then, all of sudden we might feel even more depressed. Even after coming to a point of accepting this phase, the person will go through certain moments where the sadness comes in. This symptom is normal and part of the stage of depression. Counselors help people move out of this stage, by helping them to regain their sense of identity and to deal with the loss in their own way.

Symptoms of Depression:

The symptoms are characterized by activities of daily living when personal grooming activities such as, bathing, dressing, eating properly, and life-responsibilities such as responsibilities at work, cleaning one's home, are not really looked after. This leads to becoming isolated from others, crying at the drop of a hat, eating disorders, too much or too little sleep, mental and physical fatigue, and even thinking about suicidal thoughts in our minds.

Acceptance and Hope

Gradually, with the acceptance of the grief comes a decrease in the anger and depression of a grieving person. There is a gradual move from being hopeless to hopeful. Evidence shows that the life patterns begin to stabilize. Slowly the person victimized begins to reconnect with others, and value the things in life that are important to the person. Following this stage is the stage of awareness of oneself. When a person becomes aware of the grieving process, one is able to identify and recognize where one is and what one feels. This opens the doors to finding a way to deal with each stage and the emotions entailed. In the end, we must once again rebuild our identity without the suffering person becoming active one again in our lives. Before we know it, the loss and the grief become a part of us. The worse part is…

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