Grief Counseling

Are you feeling depressed after losing a loved one?

How can grief counseling help me through my grief and loss?

The sadness of grief and bereavement needs its own special approach.

*Are you feeling crazy, confused, numb, angry, lost?

*Do you think about dying, yourself?

*Do you feel like your world has been torn apart and you don’t yet know how to survive, or whether you even want to?

*You may have headaches, stomach aches, lethargy, and other physical symptoms from grief and from depression.

grief-counseling-dark-claudiaGrief Counseling can help you.

You can work through this pain. Your pain needs a witness, an honoring. All of these symptoms are normal. I have experienced all of them, myself. I have worked with bereavement groups for many years, and have seen others (and myself) move through the tasks necessary for rebuilding their lives. You can experience this, too. The dark clouds will lift.

Grief is such a tender thing to write about. To even think about. So, I would like to start with a poem.

It is a fearful thing to love what death can touch.

A fearful thing to love,

hope, dream: to be –

to be, and oh! To lose.

A thing for fools this, and

a holy thing,

a holy thing to love.


your life has lived in me,

your laugh once lifted me,

your word was gift to me.

To remember this brings a painful joy.

Tis a human thing, love,

a holy thing,

to love

what death has touched.’

(Mishkan T’Filah, CCAR)

Grief is not limited to death. Grief is a natural response to any loss or change. We may experience the loss of a loved one. We take many leavings in our lives. Jobs end, we move, friends come in and out of our lives. Our health may change. Relationships end. Deaths and losses have been likened to “a tear in the fabric of our lives”.

But, recovery is also a natural response! It is an innate call to live, and this can be done through grief counseling. At first we experience a free fall or a dark tunnel. We may not be able to believe that there is a light at the end. But notice that you have continued to put one foot in front of the other. In order to take a step forward, we have to then pick up our back foot. Even if it feels plodding in the beginning.

You are all experts in your own grief. We each grieve in our own way. I know how I grieved when my husband died, but I don’t know what it is like for you when your loved one dies. We each have a personal history. Your world is forever transformed by the loss or absence of your loved one. The grief you experience is intimately tied to your sense of who you are.

Have you experienced any of these losses recently? Or even many years ago. Sometimes memories of loved ones pop up very unexpectedly. Working though grief is an affirmation of who you are.

Let me help you through grief counseling to gently revisit your world, the world you thought you would/should have, and help you reconstruct your world though reflection and action.

Phases and Tasks of Grief:

Different grief experts describe the stages, we pass though and how grief counseling can help you.

Shock – is a bodily defense against being overwhelmed. It protects us with numbness and disbelief.

Denial Our body shuts down to protect us. It is a place of resting, continued disbelief. We may feel disoriented, fear losing control, feel in limbo. This can be frightening, and only intensify our pain. The task of this phase is to accept it.

Pining and Searching – We may search, pine for our loved one. The reality of the loss looms. This takes time.

We find ourselves expecting the deceased to appear. We see him/her in crowds. The phone rings and part of us thinks it will be our loved one.

Feeling the Pain of Grief – This is the work of grief. It is working through the pain of loss. It is important to remember that feelings are biochemical and psychological responses to our environment. We may be flooded, feel like we are going crazy or losing our sanity.

Grieving affects our feelings, our thoughts, our physical sensations, and our behavior. Here is a partial list of normal manifestations of grief that you may be experiencing.

FeelingsDo you feel angry? Resentment? At the situation, at him/her, at God? Do you carry guilt, even though you know on some level that it was not your fault.  Are you terribly lonely? Sad, depressed? Is your self-esteem lower than usual?  Perhaps your feel bitter or envious of others. Do you wonder not only how to live again, but whether you even want to go on living? Do you feel helpless?  Some people feel relief, fatigue, and may want to withdraw.

ThoughtsAre you caught in disbelief?   Are you preoccupied and want to tell and retell your story?  You may experience confusion, have a sense of the deceased’s presence, or hallucinate your loved one.  Do you find it hard to concentrate?

Physical Sensations –   You may experience a hollow stomach, tight chest or throat. You may feel breathless, have a dry mouth, head ache, diarrhea. Some people feel oversensitive to noise. Do you feel weak, or have low energy?

Behaviors – Is your sleep impaired? Are you eating too much or too little? Do you just want to withdraw from people, or do you feel the need to always have someone around? You may be restless, crying, sighing.   It is also normal to carry around treasured objects of your loved one.

AngerIt is normal to be angry at your loved one for leaving you, for dying. Art you angry at God? I believe that that shows that you are in relationship with God, and that anger is ‘an authentic form of prayer.’

Depression – can be gut-wrenching. (See all those feelings above!) You may have intrusive thoughts.

Acceptanceis a process of finding a new meaning for your life. You may ask “Who am I”. You find new roles, and slowing adjust to a world in which the deceased is missing. You will be able to find a new place for the deceased in your life. You will always be in relationship with your loved one. You will realize that life does go one, and that you are a part of it!

Bargaining – is necessary for hope to emerge. You can accept the loss, and remember with less pain, and also go forward. You can struggle with new patterns.

Reconciling your loss – You find new directions, new purposes in your life. A sense of healing emerges.

Let me help you travel through these stages and tasks. You don’t have to do this alone. The clouds will lighten and lift.




Call me, Claudia Trevithick at 720-242-9241 for a free initial 20 minute consult or just call me to set up an appointment.