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Person Talking to a CounselorThe grief associated with loss of a loved one can really send a person for a tailspin. While some people walk through the five stages of grief as they mourn, some really struggle with the emotional trauma of loss. For many, the pain doesn’t seem to lessen over time. If that sounds like you, it may be time to seek help and support for dealing with this death. Here are some things to consider when it comes to finding a grief counselor.

Do I Really Need a Grief Counselor?

How do you know if you need additional support for dealing with the death of a loved one? After all, is it fair to put a time limit on how long grief should be felt? Ask yourself the following questions and be honest with your responses:

  • Do you find yourself either dwelling on or obsessing over how the person died?
  • Are you experiencing survivor’s guilt or other feelings of blame concerning the death?
  • Are you depressed or contemplating suicide?
  • Are you struggling with substance abuse or addictive behavior?
  • Have you dealt with multiple deaths in a relatively short time period?
  • Do you struggle to get through your typical daily routine, including fulfilling your responsibilities to yourself and others?
  • Are you experiencing angry outbursts, panic attacks, loss of appetite, inability to sleep, crying and other signs of emotional distress?
  • Do you avoid people, places or things that remind you of the dearly departed?
  • Do you feel that you’re alone in having to face the reality of the loss?
  • Have your relationships with other people changed for the worse since the death?

If you’ve answered yes to one or more of these questions, you may benefit from seeing a therapist or other professional who specializes in counseling the bereaved. However, if you’re still not sure about talking to a therapist, you may also consider a support group. Online forums, virtual groups and local groups, if available, can offer some much-needed support.

What Do I Need To Know?

It’s important that you seek the services of a credentialed professional. There are various types of therapists and counselors out there. You’ll want to talk to someone who is trained and experienced in dealing with bereavement. It’s important to think carefully about what you’d like to get out of grief therapy. Consider these questions:

  • Do you need advice and guidance, or someone to mostly listen?
  • Do you have age or gender preferences when it comes to working with a therapist?
  • How often do you want to talk to a grief counselor and for how long?
  • Are you wanting face-to-face sessions or will virtual conferencing work?

You might not have solid answers to these questions until after you’ve started seeing someone, but you should consider them as you start your search.

Where Do I Start My Search?

As with other service providers, referrals from people you know can be a great starting point. Recognize that you will likely have different needs than other people, so referrals shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all. If you plan to use health insurance to pay for visits, your provider may have a directory of professionals where you can begin your search. Such a directory should provide not only contact information but location and availability. Perhaps your employer offers an employee assistance program. If so, there may be a list of providers available through this benefit. Search engine results can also yield options for finding a grief counselor who can help.

Death can be emotionally traumatizing for anyone, and sometimes you need the support of others to process this loss. There are a number of options available for finding a grief counselor. Recognizing that you need professional help is a big step, and you should be commended for it.

Category: Loss

Grief self care counseling

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