Find Support in Your Time of Need: How Bereavement Counselling Can Help
One of the most challenging and difficult experiences a person can have is dealing with the death of someone they love. There are so many conflicting emotions and they can all be amplified and so much more intense because of the circumstances of the loved one’s death, your relationship to the person and your history with them.
The desire to be helped is tempered by the knowledge that the thing that would most help is that person still being here but also logically knowing that’s just not possible. Something that could help to some extent is bereavement counselling. In this article we will guide you through some of the things you might want to consider if you are looking for someone to talk to about how you are feeling.
Who could help you?
What is bereavement counselling?
The death of someone close to you has a very unique combination of issues and factors surrounding it that are specific to each individual who has been bereaved. Bereavement counselling is tailored specifically to someone in your situation and takes into account these varied factors that you may or may not be experiencing.
Seeing a counsellor who specialises in bereavement may be something that you want to consider. All counsellors could theoretically help with bereavement issues though working with someone who has more than the average amount of experience with this issue could be particularly helpful to you. Your counsellor should provide an environment to talk which is supportive and safe. Somewhere you can process your thoughts and feelings and work through your grief at a pace that is right for you.
The range of emotions that come under the umbrella of ‘grief’ can be varied and, at times, intense. It is common for emotions like sadness, anger, guilt and loneliness to be part of what is experienced. There is also the possibility of more positive emotions such as happiness, joy and relief to be part of the grief process. Your bereavement counsellor will help you to navigate these thoughts, feelings and emotions and could even guide you towards solutions that may help you to process them more constructively than holding them all inside and not working through them.
Finding the Right Bereavement Counsellor
There are a couple of things to consider when you are looking for a specialist bereavement counsellor. The first and most important consideration is to know that the person you are working with is qualified and experienced in working with people who have been bereaved. All health professionals at the Sheffield Wellness Centre are verified as being qualified in the work that they do and have public liability and professional indemnity insurance. Different professionals have different levels of experience so we always suggest that you read their bio pages and ask questions about anything you want to know more about.
It is worth also considering that there are other bereavement services available (see the resources at the bottom of the page) who have a religious focus. For some people who are religious they will want a religious focus to their counselling in order to work with their existing beliefs. Some people who were brought up in a religion but have been non-practicing for a significant time may find that they turn to old beliefs in an attempt to cope better with the feelings they are having. And also, for those who have no religious affiliation it may be worth considering who is providing the support and the location they work from. A bereavement support session held in a church may not be the most helpful for someone who is neutral or opposed to religions.
Trust your gut instinct when it comes to who you choose to work with. To get the most benefit from the process you should work with someone who you feel comfortable with. You need to be able to trust them. When we first meet someone we almost always get a gut feeling about that person. Listen to yours. If it says that it has a good feeling about a particular therapist (which could be based on the smallest of inconsequential details) then it could be worth considering that therapist.
Location: Convenience is key
Something that is often not given the importance it deserves is where the therapist is located in Sheffield and also what type of environment they work from at that location. Many people when looking for bereavement counselling will search Google for something like ‘bereavement counselling near me’. The reason this is important is because travelling long distances to see a therapist when you are in a fragile state could be a challenge.
The journey home is often harder than the journey there. After nearly an hour of talking about personal and difficult issues it would be best to have the quickest journey home possible, especially if you are using public transport as your emotional state straight after the session could be precarious.
Consider also where the therapist works from. Do they have a room at home which they have made their therapy room or do they work from a more professional location? Being in someone’s home, even if that is a converted garage or a garden office involves stepping into the therapist’s personal domestic setting to some degree. Some people find this a little jarring, especially when talking about a subject as intense as grief.
What to Expect in a Bereavement Counselling Session
You should expect your bereavement counsellor to be non-judgemental and to treat you and your circumstances absolutely confidentially to enable you to speak freely about your thoughts and feelings. During the session you might be asked about various aspects of your relationship with the person who you lost. You might be asked details about how you are experiencing grief but they can equally help those who aren’t feeling grief despite someone close to them dying and feeling like they should be grieving.
With the counsellors' help and support you could explore the various emotions specific to you and your circumstances. Sessions usually last 50 to 60 minutes. Sessions are often weekly but this is not essential in some cases. Talk with your counsellor about what you would like and agree with them on something that suits both of you.
Duration of Counselling
This is something that is very individual but it is common for sessions to happen over several weeks to several months. Some counsellors specify that they offer short term, medium term or long term support. Others are more open ended and will adapt to you and your changing circumstances. Some therapists offer a course of sessions, for example six, with the option to check in after this point and see if more sessions might be needed. Your counsellor will specify how they tend to work and what to expect if you choose to work with them.
Benefits of Bereavement Counselling
For those who are struggling with issues around loss and grief there can be many potential benefits to talking with someone experienced in providing counselling for bereavement. Having the safe, dedicated space and time to talk about the person who died can be very cathartic for some. Developing strategies for coping with key upcoming moments in life like birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas etc can be very beneficial in helping you to move forward, rather than to move past what happened. Finding ways to deal with the smaller day to day moments when their loss is particularly noticed is also something that can come from these sessions.
You may want to consider talking to a bereavement counselling specialist if you have been struggling since being bereaved. Finding someone skilled and experienced is an important first step and you will find those people on this page. You are welcome to get in touch with the Sheffield Wellness Centre and we will help and support in any way we can. We will help you find someone who is likely to be a good fit in helping you so you can begin to process your feelings and begin to see how life could be without that person being here.
Further bereavement information and resources:
National UK wide support:
Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS)– UK Wide - “We are the only organisation offering peer-to-peer support to all those over the age of 18, impacted by suicide loss in the UK.”
Widowed and Young “WAY is the only national charity in the UK for people aged 50 or under when their partner died. It’s a peer-to-peer support group operating with a network of volunteers who have been bereaved at a young age themselves, so they understand exactly what other members are going through.”
Amparo – “We believe in the transformative power of counselling. As a thriving and developing charity and social enterprise, we’re here to help those who’ve been bereaved, suffered loss or experienced separation.” 0330 088 9255 www.listening-ear.co.uk
Sheffield specific support:
Sheffield Cruse – 1-1 bereavement support. Mon-Fri 9am-5pm. 0114 408 1408
Here to Hear – A multi-lingual and multi-faith bereavement helpline 0114 395 2127
St Luke's - specifically for those who are or for people who are close to those being cared for by St. Luke's
Sands – “We work to support anyone affected by pregnancy loss or the death of a baby; improve the care bereaved parents receive from healthcare and other professionals; and work closely with others to save babies' lives.”
Sheffield support groups for bereavement:
Crystal Peaks bereavement support group: 1-3 Peak Square, Crystal Peaks, Sheffield, S20 7PH: 07895 063 221
Bereavement Support – St Marie’s Cathedral: 0114 272 2522
Bereavement Support Group: St Aidan’s Church, 2 Manor Lane, Sheffield, S2 1UF: 0114 278 0707,
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