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Ultimate Guide to Grief Counseling

Ultimate Guide to Grief Counseling

Last updated on 16 Nov, 2023

Grief is the emotional response to a loss. Grief Counselling is the therapy used to heal grieving. It is a day-to-day functioning psychotherapy after a major loss. This process requires a professional Counselor to heal a person with different practices and techniques. 

Grief is the stage when a person goes through after a loss. Counseling is the process that helps to cure a person who is going through grieving. This blog gives you a detailed view of how to counsel someone with grief and effective grief therapy. 

What Is Grief Counseling?

When you lose something that makes sense to you, it can be a painful process. Grief can be both physical as well as emotional responses when you feel after a disaster or a traumatic event. The loss of a loved one is termed Bereavement (1). 

Grief Counseling is taken into consideration as a therapy that helps you to cope with your loss (2). When a person is in grief, it becomes difficult for them to share their emotions with friends, family. The person is then suggested to visit a Grief Counselor so that he can undergo the therapies and techniques of Grief Counseling suggested by the professionals. 

Different Types Of Loss And Grief Counseling

Grief Counseling helps you to control your emotions as well as help to cope with loss. There are different types of Grief Counseling-

Grief Therapy

Therapy for grief helps in addressing both physical as well behavioral problems. This therapy enables you to fight the trauma after losing a loved one (2).

Complicated Grief Therapy

According to a study, about 15% of people experience complicated grief when they lose a loved one. Some of the symptoms are-

  • Intense and emotional pain

  • Feeling empty and left with no hope.

  • urging to be reunited with your loved one

  • constantly thinking about the person’s death and the cause of his demise.

  • difficulty taking part in happy moments of the deceased person

  • You try to avoid everything that reminds you of the loved one

  • a lesser sense of own identity

  • Detachment from friends and family

  • lack of desire to make plans or any excitement to deal with.

If any of these symptoms reflect, then you are suffering from complicated grief, which generally lasts for one year or longer (1).

Traumatic Grief Therapy

This generally happens when you are unprepared to lose someone. This happens when you witness your loved one severely injured or dead in front of your eyes. This grief might last for a long period. It might last for hours, days, months, or years. The feelings are very strong and frightening. You should immediately consult your doctor after a Traumatic Incident or Grief (1).

Besides these three main types or classifications, there are other two Grief types. They are Broken Heart Syndrome, Depression and Grief.

Grief Therapy Techniques


There are several grief therapy techniques, some of which are listed below:

1. Cognitive restructuringThe approach holds that our thoughts influence our feelings. It is usual for the grieving person to experience some irritational self-doubts. For instance– I am all alone. 

Cognitive behavioral therapy for grief helps by using both cognitive (thinking) and behavioral techniques (doing) to manage clinical symptoms of anxiety and depression that are common with grief. 

The role of the counselor is to identify the thoughts and convert them to functional and realistic ones. This technique is generally used in challenging thoughts of false guilt.

2. Writing Writing is a free expression of thoughts and plays a crucial role in Grief Recovery. Writing can make you feel light. It helps to express your thoughts and expressions freely. The counselor can make the client write honest letters to express his thoughts. It is an authentic way of promoting the free expression of thoughts and feelings.

3. Roleplaying This is a particular way effective in helping the client adjust to the new environment after the loss of a loved one. The counselor can engage in Grief Counseling either as a facilitator or they can create possible new behaviors for the new environment.

4. Evocative language Using tough words by the counselor, like “your daughter is dead” rather than” you lost your daughter,” thus induces the client to face reality. This should only be used if there is a strong bond between the Counselor and the client. Or else this seems to be insensitive. Timing plays an important role in this technique. The Counselor influences the person to speak about the deceased in the past tense. This makes the person acknowledge reality and grow through the past.

5. Memory book This book includes the stories of past significant events and memorabilia. These include photographs, poems, drawings, etc. The role of the book is to bring everyone together and reminisce about the memories. This book has the potential to ease the painful events associated with loss (3).

6. Nootropics Research shows that using Armodafinil enhances the secretion of hormones such as dopamine, commonly termed the “happy hormone, " which helps elevate the positive mood in people. This efficacy greatly benefits people with grief and overcoming past traumatic experiences. People can now get Armodafinil at discounted price at Healthmatter.

These are some other techniques that grief counselors or therapists may use:

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) : This is a form of psychotherapy that influences you to accept negative feelings and circumstances so you can begin to focus on healthier patterns that can help you reach your goals.

Play Therapy This therapy helps in building constructive behavior patterns and helps process unresolved emotions in a child. This is used to gain insights into a child's thoughts. 

Art Therapy : This therapy uses creative forms to express your emotions and promotes healing. It can be effective for people of all ages, including children, who may struggle to communicate their feelings.

What are the uses of Bereavement Counseling?

There are basically three benefits of Bereavement or Grief Counseling:

  •  Validation and permission to heal: When a loved one is dead, it hurts.  People will advise you to move on. Denial, anger, negotiation, and depression are some of the stages that come before the last stage of healing, which is acceptance. Grief counseling allows you to take the time you need to heal.

  • Forming a new relationship: Grief counseling is a process where you learn to create a new connection with the person you lost. Your counselor will talk to you about all the happy and sad moments you spent together. You may even have a feeling of guilt for surviving while another person died. It’s better to remember that these are just emotions, and you can easily get through.

  • Progress Tracking: A professional grief counselor can help you with marking your progress in a diary. Alternatively, they may help you remember back to the first week or month of therapy to appreciate your progress (4).

Interventions For Grief And Loss

Grief Counseling Interventions are very effective for people as it provides a supportive environment to process their grief and emotions, thus healing in their own time. 

Some of the effective grief counseling interventions are-

  • Group therapy- It consists of multiple people that come together to discuss their loss, thus providing a safe space for people to open up and talk about their feelings. 

  • Individual therapy: It is a one-on-one session with qualified Clinicians And Experts for managing grief. It helps people manage their emotions through mindfulness practice and relaxation exercises. 

Coping with the Loss of Friends in Recovery

The unfortunate side of recovery is that one will inevitably develop friendships with people who relapse. Recovery can be challenging. To make matters worse, not everyone will survive it. Not only will one grieve their loss, but many will also feel guilty. When losing a friend in recovery, it is not uncommon to wonder if you could have done something to help them. The combination of guilt and sadness leads many to think about giving up their sobriety.

Grief counseling and support, along with Nootropic usage, are vital to overcoming these feelings of hopelessness. Armodafinil reviews indicate its potency towards providing a positive mood in the user and overcoming any sense of guilt or negative thoughts. Sometimes addicts need to be reminded that, no matter what is happening around them, their recovery is still worth something. Taking small steps and not giving up faith in oneself is the key to recovery. 

Clinical Evidence On The Effectiveness Of Grief Counseling

According to many pieces of research, Grief Counseling can be an effective way to heal and manage your grief.   A study made in 2017, published in the journal Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, it was found that the people participating in Grief Counseling after losing a partner or a loved one relatively reported fewer symptoms. These findings were found to be effective in the long run.

Another study laid down certain observations made in 2015 and published in the Journal Counseling and Psychotherapy Research.  Some of them are laid down below:

  1. It was easier for the person to socialize. It was easier for the person to talk to others rather than family members or friends.

  2. It was easier for them to normalize and validate their experiences.

  3. Grief counseling helps with unhelpful thinking patterns related to anger and guilt (2).

Benefits Of Grief Counseling


The response to Grief counseling might vary from person to person. The techniques for grief counseling provide the following benefits.

  • As we have mentioned earlier that the initial stage of grief is denial and shock; grief counseling helps to accept the reality and loss. It provides enough time to heal and recover. 

  • It helps one process the emotions like guilt, anger, regret, etc., that follow after acceptance. Counseling sessions will help to reflect on the happy memories and overcome the unpleasant memories and feelings.

  • Counseling will help to understand the grief stages, enabling the person to control the feelings and recover.

  • It is common for individuals to feel that they have not grieved enough, have been suffering for too long, or are not grieving the right way. All these will deeply root the misery. Counseling helps to realize that there is no definite way to deal with such sadness; individual experience varies.

  • It can assist a person in grieving without being ashamed or weak.

  • Tracking improvements will help to motivate them to heal further. Moreover, counseling can foster the need for self-care, like getting enough sleep, practicing mindfulness, etc.

Our final thoughts: Grief Counseling

Grief Counseling is a type of customized therapy specifically designed to help you out in recovering from pain after a loss. The different stages of Grief, as coined by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in 1969, might vary from person to person. The stages are signified as— Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Acceptance is considered as the last stage of the grieving process. When you feel too heavy inside and can't take your emotions out, you should immediately visit a professional counselor. 


People with complicated grief that lasts for a long duration results in the activation of neurons in the brain’s reward center. It can cause grief addiction.

Yes, grief can alter the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin.

Grief can change the neurochemicals and hormones in the brain, which can cause insomnia, loss of appetite, anxiousness, and fatigue.

Yes, grief counseling is essential to process and overcome sadness. Unaddressed grief can result in complicated grief, affecting one’s physical and mental health and deteriorating societal and personal relationships.

According to the Affordable Care Act, mental health is essential; therefore, most health insurance plans cover grief counseling.


  1. What is Grief Counseling,  Webmd

  2. What is Grief Counseling,  Verywellmind

  3. Techniques in Grief Counselling, counsellingconnection.

  4. Benefits of Grief Counseling, redoakrecovery


Disclaimer: We do not provide any medical advice.

The contents of HealthMatter are for informational purpose only and is taken by a thorough evaluation of research papers and Journals. We do not provide professional medical advice, treatment, or diagnosis. We advise all readers to consult a physician before consuming any medication mentioned on the website.