Couple Therapy: Psychological counseling in grief
The overall goal of grief counseling is to help the client / survivor to complete any unresolved issues with the deceased and to be able to say a final goodbye.
In the sessions the therapist establishes specific objectives, below I describe some of them.
- Increase the reality of the loss. Helping the client / survivor to make the loss real is one of the basic goals of psychological counseling in grief processes. When someone loses a loved one, even if death is expected, in general, there is a feeling of unreality, a feeling that the loss has not really happened. The role of the therapist is to make the client more aware that the loss has truly occurred and that the person will never return. Open and honest communication is very important for the client, talking about the moments prior to the communication of the death, how it happened, who told you, where were you, how was the funeral if there was one, or if not, how honor memory in another way.
- Help the counselee deal with both expressed and latent emotions. Because of her pain, the survivor may not recognize many of her feelings or may not feel them to the degree necessary. Some of the most troublesome feelings are anger, guilt, anxiety, and helplessness. Anger probably comes from two sources, one frustration and the other a feeling of helplessness. Anger can be directed towards others, such as the doctor, the priest, a relative, etc., but also towards oneself in the form of guilt or depression. People who survive a death can feel anxious and fearful, much of this anxiety comes from the helplessness of thinking that they cannot continue and survive alone. The role of the counselor is to help them recognize through cognitive restructuring that they can function independently and independently and that it is a matter of time. The feeling of sadness is normal, but sometimes crying is not enough, it is necessary to help the person to identify the meaning of the tears and this meaning will change as the process of grief progresses. Sadness must be accompanied by the awareness of what has been lost, just as anger must be directed appropriately and effectively, in doses, so that feelings and emotions do not overwhelm us.
The therapist will help to emotionally relocate the deceased, when the time comes, thus promoting the continuity of the survivor's family, social, work and personal life.
- Encourage them to say an appropriate goodbye and to feel comfortable going back to life and daily routine. The elaboration of the grief takes time and there are certain moments that are particularly difficult such as the third month after death, holidays, the first anniversary of death, etc.… the therapist's job is to help the client anticipate and prepare in advance , thus avoiding unnecessary set backs.
- Since all people are different, there is a wide range of behavioral responses in grief, so the process that each one needs will be accepted as good. Continuous support is important for the client, especially in the most critical moments that appear during the first year. Hope, compassion, and committed acceptance, as well as a broad perspective of existence are very important factors in a healthy grieving process. Support groups are often very successful too.
Therapists use different very useful techniques in grief counseling, such as, for example, we use evocative language in which the emphasis is on accepting the reality that surrounds the loss, we also use symbols, such as photographs, clothing, objects of the deceased, as well We encourage the client to write and express their thoughts and feelings, the drawing tool is enormously useful, the role-play, cognitive restructuring, the memory book, meditations, guided relaxation, etc.… The grieving process will be accepted as natural and from honesty, realism and hope and you will achieve a healthy and definitive duel.