What Are Some Signs That I Should See a Grief Counselor?
Not everyone who has lost a loved one, necessarily needs grief counseling, however, if you find yourself experiencing one of the symptoms below, you might want to consider it. The duration and intensity of grief is different for everyone. Contrary to popular opinion, this writer believes that grief continues in one form or another for years after the loss of a loved one. In general, people seek out therapy when they are not satisfied with their lives or the way that they are feeling or functioning in the world. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms below it makes sense for you to seek out the opinion of a professional therapist. Some people also find it to be beneficial to seek out a bereavement group because this allows them to share their experience of loss with other individuals who are going through the same thing.
1) If you have thoughts of hurting yourself or someone else you should tell someone you trust and make an appointment to go speak with someone about your painful feelings and experiences. These thoughts of your own death are often accompanied by the thought that you cannot go on living without your loved one.
2) If your grief is so strong that it is preventing you from going on with your normal activities (i.e. you are not able to concentrate, sleep, eat, socialize, work, as you normally would) seek someone out to help you to process your grief.
3) If you feel so hopeless and depressed that it is difficult for you to work or socialize, speaking to a therapist will help you to explore what feelings you are turning in on yourself that are contributing to making it difficult for you to function.
4) If you feel so anxious that it is detracting from your ability to enjoy life or get the things done that you need to accomplish, speaking to a counselor can help you to relax.
5) If there is a sudden change in your behavior (i.e. drinking more than you used to) you might want to contact a counselor to explore what purpose the change in behavior (in this case alcohol) has been serving in your life since the death of your loved one.
6) If you hear voices when nobody is talking or see things that nobody else can see, it is a good idea to let a trusted family member or friend know, and to seek professional help.
Do you have experience working with a therapist? If so, was your experience positive or negative? If you have never been in therapy, what are some concerns that you have? Next time, we will speak about how to find a therapist and what things to look for in a counselor.