The Unique and Unpredictable problems of Grief
This article is by the psychotherapist in Islington at the Angel Wellbeing Clinic and it looks at grief and how therapy or counselling can help.
‘It is sweet to mingle tears with tears. Griefs, where they wound in solitude,
wound more deeply.’ Seneca, 1st Century AD.
One of the most common reasons for coming to see a psychotherapist is the death of a loved one. For most people the variety, complexity and intensity of reactions to such a loss is distressing, disorienting and frightening. The experience of grief can profoundly change a person’s experience of life, affecting their feelings, thought patterns, physical sensations and behaviours. When the deceased person is central to someone’s life and plans for the future, it can seem as though the whole world has been thrown into disarray.
Every person’s encounter with loss will be unique and there isn’t a normal or predictable grief process. In fact, some people may feel guilty for not experiencing the grief that is ‘expected’ by themselves or others. For other people, bereavement may trigger traumatic memories of previous losses. Very commonly people who are bereaved feel completely alienated from others, as everyone’s response is different. They may sense that their family, friends or acquaintances are avoiding them, are insensitive to their pain or even getting impatient with them. Alternatively, other people may feel guilty or confused when they don’t experience the grief that is ‘expected’, or berate themselves for missed opportunities when the person was still alive.
So how can psychotherapy or counselling at the Islington clinic help? Clients are likely to be feeling vulnerable and in need of emotional support and care. They need to be able to recount their stories and express the pain and intensity of their grief. Counselling at the Islington clinic offers an opportunity for people to share their experience and gain comfort and understanding from doing so. Just having someone who will take the time to listen, understand and sympathise, is crucial. However, a psychotherapist or counsellor is also trained to offer insight and help people gain awareness by exploring the underlying meaning and reasons for their thoughts and feelings.
Therapy and particularly psychotherapy gives people the chance to reflect upon their experiences, question and reconsider the important things in life: their attitudes to life and death, how they see themselves and other people, and how they determine new ways of being in the world. This is the process of grieving which I aim to assist; helping people to learn how they can live with their grief, adapt to their new situation and rediscover a sense of hope.
If you think that you or someone close to you may need such support, please feel free to contact me at the Islington clinic. I would be happy to answer any queries about psychotherapy or arrange an initial assessment.
Jane Dawson (MBACP).
If you wish to make an appointment with the Islington psychotherapist for therapy or counselling please click below.