Grief Counseling

grief-counselingAre You Struggling To Move On And Feel Like Yourself After A Loss?

  • Has someone you loved passed away?
  • Do you feel isolated, alone, and misunderstood? Have your friends started distancing themselves from you?
  • Do you feel consumed by the loss of your loved one?
  • Does the pain feel intolerable –       almost physical?
  • Has the loss thrown your extended family into turmoil?
  • Does the idea of enjoying life seem impossible, even absurd?
  • Are you struggling to balance the demands of day-to-day life and the devastation of loss?
  • Does it seem unfair that the world continues as if nothing happened, not acknowledging that your loved one is gone, while you are barely hanging on?
  • Are you losing hope that you will ever get over this loss?
  • Do you wish you could find a sense of peace and healing in the midst of great pain?

Loss is never easy. You may have lost someone recently and feel consumed by despair. Or, your loss may be more distant, and you are terrified that the pain will never go away.

You might dread going out, even to the grocery store, because of the chance that something will remind you of your pain. Maybe the world seems incredibly unfair, and anger is a constant companion, lurking under the surface. Perhaps you wonder if you will ever be able to live normally again. You assumed time would heal all wounds – but it may not be, and you are losing hope that things will ever get better

If you have lost someone you love, you may feel afraid, overwhelmed, despairing, hopeless, alone, or angry. Perhaps you feel torn between your own needs and desires and those of your loved ones. You may be facing the confusing world of wills, banks, and death certificates and feel unsure of how to advocate for yourself. Perhaps you feel guilty for even focusing on yourself.

Maybe your thoughts and feelings are interfering with those who are still with you – your children, husband, wife, parents, or other significant relationships. Or maybe work has become a constant struggle, even the basics. Regardless of the context, grief can interfere with your ability to relate to people.

Regardless of cause of your grief, loss is one of the most difficult things that human beings face. It’s not uncommon to feel a complicated mix of emotions, from anger, to sadness, to shame, to relief, to hope. Or, you may be feeling utterly numb. No matter what you are experiencing in this moment, there is no wrong way to grieve, and there is hope that you can get back to living a rich and fulfilling life – even if in the current moment that idea seems ridiculous.

There Is No “Right” Response to Loss

If you feel utterly paralyzed by grief, you are not alone. The pain that you may be experiencing now comes from the love you feel for those you must say goodbye to. There is nothing simple or easy about that process, and you do not have to feel ashamed of or resistant to your emotions – even the overwhelming and dark ones.

Everything in our world has a beginning, a middle, and an end. In many ways, our modern culture over-emphasizes the beginning and middle, and we have lost the art of ending things. Yet, the way we approach the ending of things can be just as meaningful and profound as the way we approach the beginning.

Every person is different, and every person has different needs and emotions. There is no perfect or right way to approach saying goodbye. But, you can find a way that is right for you. Most people are familiar with the cognitive aspects of life, focused on thinking and problem-solving. However, the emotional part of life is just as important. As you struggle with grief and loss, you can come into greater contact with the experience of feeling. The pain will be there. But, with help, you can find ways to experience the positive, fulfilling parts of life again. The pain is not optional. Continued suffering is.

Grief Counseling Can Help You Find Peace

For over a decade, I have helped people find healing and comfort in times of great loss. I have worked in many different settings, including hospitals, clinics, community settings, and private practice. And, I have experienced my own loss. Although I may not share your unique experience, I understand that overwhelming, devastating process of saying goodbye.

Grief counseling can provide you with a safe space to speak openly about your emotions, without fear of judgment. It can be incredibly helpful to sit and talk with someone who is there to listen to you, no matter what you have to say. In sessions, you can be present with your suffering without feeling any pressure to be anything other than what you are in the moment. We can approach those unbearable feelings with care, support, and compassion – letting you lead the way at a pace that is right for you.

Depending on your situation, you may need different types of support. If you are in the midst of difficult life situation and need specific coping strategies, I can help you access your strengths and navigate your next steps, while offering you a place to turn when you feel emotionally overwhelmed. In sessions, our focus may be on coping rather than moving through feelings. On the other hand, you may need support and comfort as you move toward those most difficult emotions, someone to be with you as you experience those indescribable feelings of loss. Or, you may need to process and work through your relationship with the person you lost – seeking to make sense of an important part of your life. Of course, these options are not distinct. Often, therapy incorporates several or all of them.

Loss can feel incredibly isolating. Many friends, family members and medical care providers may not understand how you feel and suggest things that aren’t helpful or push you to move forward before you are ready. Often, other people have such a hard time being with other people’s suffering that they try to “fix it” or help you by making suggestions, telling you what to do, or telling you how they got over it. Maybe they are telling you to “look on the bright side” or “just to get out there and do something” or “stop focusing on the negative feelings,” but you only feel unsupported and misunderstood.

In my experience, each individual is unique and it’s important to note that where you are and what you need right now is particular to you. I can act as your guide so you don’t have to feel so confused or alone. In sessions, you can take the time to understand what is true and authentic for you.

When faced with the loss of a loved one, it is completely normal to experience a variety of emotions, such as anger, frustration, and guilt. Grief counseling can help you accept and process of unraveling painful emotions and come to a place of healing. I will not tell you how to feel or what to do. In sessions, you can discover a sense of clarity that can help you move forward according to your own needs. You don’t have to feel isolated and alone. With help and support, you can find meaning in the process of ending.

You may feel that grief counseling can help you find peace, but still have questions or concerns…

I Feel So Much Pain Already. I Don’t Want to Go Deeper.

The purpose of grief counseling is not to hurt you or to dive deeply into your pain. You may not want to enter into that emotional place yet. However, I invite you to remember that stifled feelings will still be there. They can build up and spill out in different ways, potentially making it difficult for you to function day-to-day or to care for yourself and others. There may be times when you have no desire to approach your painful feelings. At other times, you might feel ready to face them. And, I believe in your ability to face difficult emotions, accept them, and work through them.

What Can You Do? You Can’t Heal Me or Bring My Loved One Back.

I wish that I had the power to prevent or reverse your loss. Although I cannot, I can offer you support as you go through this process of grief. I can be present for you when you need someone compassionate to turn to. I can help you move authentically through this experience and come to a clear understanding of what you need to feel peace and comfort.

I’ll Feel Selfish If I Spend Time in Grief Counseling 

You may feel as though you can’t take time for your own emotions when other people are suffering around you. You may need your resources to help your loved ones. However, when you take some time to care for yourself and to process your emotions, you might find that you feel renewed and better able to focus on the needs of those around you. Your well-being matters – A LOT!

You Are Not Alone

With caring and understanding, I can support you through your unique experience of grief. And, it is incredibly important to me that you work with a therapist who can truly address your needs. I invite you to give me a call me at (415)-935-4605 for a complementary 15-minute phone consultation. You can ask any questions about grief counseling and take your time to decide if I am the therapist for you.