It’s important to understand that many people who are bereaved will heal on their own without the intervention of medical measures or even counselling psychology. Grief is a normal phenomenon as a response to loss. When the loss is of a loved one, we call this a bereavement. Under normal circumstances, the best course of action is a sympathetic ear and a hug, and this is enough for people to make their way through their grief and eventually come out of the other side and get on with their lives.
However, not everyone has someone close to who they feel comfortable confiding in. It may be that you don’t want to be a burden, or you’re simply alone after the loss of your loved one.
Bereavement therapy at Essential Feeling
This is where the bereavement therapy at Essential Feeling comes in. We offer that loving touch, a warm and cosy space in which you can relax and process your bereavement and grieve with the comfort of a trained therapist. It’s not counselling per-se, but you have the opportunity to open up and for the tenseness in your muscles to relax without the pressure of professional psychology counselling for your grief.
Look for the signs
There are two major circumstances where a program of professional medical treatment of grief and bereavement may be useful and it’s important to look out for these signs:
1. When the grief from the loss of a loved one triggers depression
One of the symptoms of grief is feeling sad for a period of time, but a serious clinical type of depression is very different. We all know that because the loss of a loved one is so severe this could trigger a major depressive episode which is more serious than simple grief which people get over with a little tender love and care.
There are lots of aspects to the vulnerability experienced through tragic loss but someone who has a past history of depression either themselves or as a family history may become more vulnerable. In the first instance, a quick doctors appointment may not be a bad idea.
When a grief triggers a depression, then this makes everything worse. The grief is more difficult to get through and has significant consequences on its own. One of the things to look out for is whether the bereavement has triggered a major depressive episodes. If this is the case, then this is when the grief should be treated through the normal way that doctors would treat any other depressive episode, such as with drugs and so forth.
2. The pain of the bereavement just doesn’t heal on its own.
Most of the time supportive loved ones and time is all it takes for someone’s grief to heal. But for 5% to 10% of individuals time doesn’t help and healing doesn’t occur. Intense prolonged non-healing that lasts for more than 6 months is then likely to continue for years. At this point, deep grief will take a stranglehold on the individual and will interfere with their overall health and wellbeing as well as daily functioning. At this point, the bereavement increases the risk of a number of illnesses and psychological treatment from an accredited psychologist who has a practice speciality in bereavement can make a major major difference. Traditional medication may also help.
Daily symptoms of grief
When someone is still suffering from the daily symptoms of grief on a daily basis they will show certain behaviour. For example, they may have a preoccupation with the person who died on a daily basis. Or they may display acute pain or non-acceptance of the death, for longer than 6 months post the person dying. This is called complicated grief. This is a complication and extenuation of grief. In this instance grief treatment from psychologists who understand the mental effects of grief is necessary. And can be life saving. This specialist treatment from counsellors can help bring someone back from their bereavement. This will assist them in progressing forward having gained the support they need for healing to occur.
In one study of complicated grief, a specific form of psychotherapy can be curative. Some medication can help and may help in combination with the counselling and psychotherapy. There is work ongoing at the moment to look at the specific combinations of medication and psychotherapy.
If you would like to know more about these studies and how medical research into counselling psychology is supporting them, please feel free to watch this video.