Grief and Bereavement - How does therapy help?
Updated: Apr 7, 2022
There’s one thing that will happen to all of us on this earth, but no one really wants to talk about. Death - and for many of us – the bereavement that comes for those that survived.
How can therapy help me get through the grieving process?
Grief is not a linear process – it doesn’t have a clear start or finish. You might have heard of the stages of grief – Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance – these stages, too, are not linear. It is common for folks to jump back and forth between the different stages and in no order. Grief is a deeply personal and unique experience for everyone.
Therapy can be helpful to provide a safe space to process your grief deeply and thoroughly. Outside of therapy, when one expresses grief (and possibly healthful crying), it is common for a communicative partner to try and stop the other person from thinking too deeply or crying uncontrollably. This is because most laypeople are not trained or equipped to handle such raw displays of emotions. Also, their desire to have you stop crying also puts a roadblock on what really is a healthy release, as sad or painful as it is.
Therapy, instead, gives you the room to express yourself. Instead of a barrier, I will provide you with an open space to let the let loose what has been painfully contained. Whether it’s allowing you the safe space to reflect and sob, or intellectualize and ventilate, individual therapy can be the container you may need to healthfully get through grief without having the feelings of being burdensome on less-equipped friends or family.
Group therapy is also an excellent option, and I recommend “Our House” group grief therapy at a couple locations in Los Angeles. Our House provides affordable group grief therapy for those that have experienced a loss within one calendar year of an individual's death. They also place you into appropriate groups with people that have faced similar situations, eg, adult children that have lost parents, parents that have lost children, etc. Being with like-minded individuals in a contained environment can be the haven someone may need to get through the most intense portion of their grief.
What is the difference between grief and bereavement? We might have heard these terms used interchangeably, and there are unique specifiers that differentiate the two.
Grief has to do with the feelings that come after loss. This loss might be a job, pet, or person, or it marks the end of a life event, stage of life, or goal that you’ve completed. Grief can occur after both “good” or “bad” events.
Bereavement is grief associated with a person, a loved one. Bereavement is specific to a human being, whereas grief is a general umbrella term encompassing the emotional process.