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All of our therapists are offering online counselling at this time!

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Counselling for Grief and Bereavement

Have you experienced a loss? Our expert therapists in Toronto & Vaughan are here to help you work through it.

What is Grief?

Grief is a natural response to losing someone or something that was important to you. The emotional suffering we feel when facing loss can feel overwhelming. The more significant your loss, the more intense your grief can be. 

 

Grief is a lot more than just “sadness”. It can significantly disrupt your physical health and sleep. You may even find yourself experiencing difficult emotions like regret and guilt. The pain and loss associated with grieving can feel unbearable. 

There is no “right” way to grieve. Grieving is a very individual process which can vary from person to person. There is also no particular timeline. Some people may feel better after a few weeks, for others the grieving process may take years.

 

What Causes Grief?

The most commonly associated loss that causes grief is the death of a loved one. However, any loss can cause grief. 

Common causes of grief include:

  • Divorce or breakup

  • Health problems or difficult diagnoses

  • Job or financial loss

  • A miscarriage or abortion

  • Retirement

  • Death of a pet

  • Loss of a dream or hobby

  • A loved one’s serious illness

  • Loss of a friendship

  • Loss of safety after a trauma

  • Moving or leaving home

 

Grief can leave you feeling exhausted and like you have nowhere to turn. Many people try to ignore reminders and memories and “get on with life”. While this may feel temporarily effective, ignoring the grief will not make it go away. Seeking counselling or therapy can help you deal with the difficult emotions surrounding your loss and finally find peace of mind. Source: apa

What are Commons Symptoms of Grief? 

 

Common signs and symptoms of grief may include:

  • Intense sorrow, pain and rumination over your loss

  • Avoiding reminders of your loved one or extreme focus on reminders

  • Intense and persistent longing for lost person or situation

  • Problems accepting the loss

  • Anger or denial

  • Numbness or detachment

  • Bitterness about loss

  • Feeling that life is meaningless

  • Lack of trust in others

  • Loss of pleasure or joy in life

  • Fatigue, aches, and pains

 

While normal grief wanes over time, complicated grief may linger or get worse. In some cases, it may turn into situational depression. If your grief is disrupting your daily life, interfering with your relationships, or causing you to isolate yourself from others, it may be time to seek help. You don’t have to carry this burden alone. Source: Mayo Clinic. (2019). Grief: Symptoms.

Will My Grief Go Away if I Don’t Seek Help?

 

For many people, grief will subside as time passes. However, for some people grief lingers and continues to disrupt relationships, work, or well-being. Grief can even take a toll on physical health due to its impact on appetite, stress levels, and disruptions to sleep. When grief lingers it can lead to depressive episodes, substance abuse, and physical illness. There is no exact cut-off for when you should start to feel better after a difficult loss. Seeking support can help you better manage difficult symptoms at any stage.

What Methods used in Grief Therapy?

  1. Supportive Counselling Supportive counseling emphasizes the provision of empathy, active listening, and emotional assistance to individuals undergoing the grieving process. The counselor endeavors to establish a secure and accepting atmosphere that encourages individuals to openly express their emotions, thoughts, and concerns. The primary goal of supportive counseling is to validate the individual's unique experience and assist them in navigating the complexities of grief.

  2. Complicated Grief Treatment: Complicated Grief Treatment (CGT) is a scientifically supported therapeutic approach tailored for individuals grappling with intricate or prolonged grief responses. CGT integrates components from cognitive-behavioral therapy and exposure therapy. Its primary objective is to assist individuals in facing and working through the distressing emotions linked to their loss. Moreover, CGT aims to help individuals establish a connection with the departed while adapting to their absence and ultimately reconstructing a purposeful and fulfilling life. Source: Julie Loebach Wetherell

  3. Mindfulness-based interventions: Mindfulness-based techniques, such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), exhibit potential in the realm of grief counseling. These approaches center around nurturing a state of mindful awareness, fostering nonjudgmental acceptance, and cultivating self-compassion. By practicing mindfulness, individuals can effectively observe and acknowledge their grief-related thoughts and emotions, without succumbing to overwhelming distress. Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7775995/

  4. EMDR & Trauma Focused: When grief coincides with traumatic experiences, trauma-focused therapies such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) or Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) can potentially provide assistance. These therapeutic approaches facilitate the processing and resolution of traumatic memories and related symptoms, all while addressing the challenges associated with grief. Source: European Journal of Psychotraumatology 

 

Counselling for Grief in Vaughan & Greater Toronto Area

We are the largest counselling service provider in the Vaughan and our office in Toronto West Village is now open. Our team of therapists are here to help you better understand your current challenges and learn effective ways to overcome them. We offer cutting edge counselling and coaching to individuals, families, and couples.

 

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