Grief and loss

... and Prolonged Grief

Overview

Grief manifests in adults in many ways and is often similar in teens and children. They may experience anger, shock, sadness, guilt, or all of these emotions at the same time.

Supporting adults who are grieving is varied and depends on the individual, the nature of the loss, and several other factors. Grief counselling for adults, particularly those dealing with the loss of a loved one can have multiple purposes.

  • Talk about the deceased. People often want or need to talk about the person they have lost. Sharing memories of their loved one — including the person’s likes and dislikes, habits, and even faults — can help people work through grief. It may be the first time they have had an opportunity to adequately express their thoughts and feelings about the deceased in a truly safe space. Counsellors may ask bereaved people what advice their loved one might give them if they could speak to them or how they would want them to live their lives.
  • Distinguish grief from trauma. Counselling can help the bereaved separate their grief from the shock and pain that the memory of their loved one’s death causes. Some people become fixated on these memories — images of the deceased lying in a hospital bed or the phone call informing them of the death — and can’t move past them to begin to grieve healthily. Counselling can help grief sufferers minimize the trauma associated with these memories and recontextualize them to begin the grief process.
  • Deal with guilt. Guilt can be a severe issue obstructing the grieving process, particularly for adults. Spouses may feel guilty over things they did or didn’t do or say when their significant other was alive or that they are not grieving as much as they should be. Counsellors can support bereaved adults by helping them understand how these thoughts are unproductive and suggesting that the best way to honour their loved one’s memory is to live a whole life. They may encourage clients to take breaks from grieving and incorporate rituals that pay tribute to the deceased, possibly helping the bereaved overcome guilt.

When Grieving Takes Over your life

Grief is a natural response to the loss of a loved one. For most people, the symptoms of grief begin to decrease over time. However, for a small group of people, intense grief persists, and the symptoms are severe enough to cause problems and stop them from continuing with their lives. Prolonged grief disorder is characterized by intense and persistent grief that causes problems and interferes with daily life.

When strong feelings of yearning or longing for your loved one and/or thoughts and memories of them are so persistent and intense that it stops you from living your life in a meaningful way

Prolonged Grief

At La Ronge Counselling, we also focus on providing counselling for intense grief using an evidence-based therapy called “Prolonged Grief Disorder Therapy.” 

Prolonged Grief Disorder Treatment (PGDT) is a short-term therapy that addresses the issues that complicate grief and helps strengthen a bereaved person’s natural adaptive capacity. There are components of the therapy to help people get to know grief, manage strong emotions, think about the future, rebuild strong relationships, think about the death, revisit reminders of the loss and access living memories. PGDT delivered in 16 weekly sessions can make a dramatic difference in the life of someone with complicated grief. After PGDT, 70% of people are much improved (Columbia University).

La Ronge Counselling provides individual PGDT sessions. For CBT-i counselling to be effective, clients should be dedicated to following a framework of around 16 sessions. Each session lasts about one hour.

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