Grief counseling is a form of psychotherapy that aims to help people cope with the physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and cognitive responses to loss. These experiences are commonly thought to be brought on by a loved person's death, but may more broadly be understood as shaped by any significant life-altering loss (e.g., divorce, home foreclosure, or job loss).
Grief counseling is commonly recommended for individuals who experience difficulties dealing with a personally significant loss. Grief counseling facilitates expression of emotion and thought about the loss, including their feeling sad, anxious, angry, lonely, guilty, relieved, isolated, confused, or numb..
Grief counseling facilitates the process of coming to terms with the loss that the individual has experienced, and processing through the natural progression of feelings that might come with different stages of coping with the loss. Grief counselling sessions also encompass segments on increasing an individual's personal and social resources to cope better with grief. There are various types of grief that individuals might go through.
Anticipatory grief refers to a sense of loss before the actual occurrence of loss. This can occur when a loved one has a terminal illness, or one is personally being diagnosed with a chronic illness, or when one faces the imminent loss of some human function.
Normal grief is the natural experience of loss and emotions accompanies the death of a loved one, and usually subsides in intensity over time.
Grief that is prolonged and resultant in severe behavioral concerns such as suicidal ideation, addictions, risk-taking behavior, or displaying symptoms of mental health concerns. In these situations, more in-depth counselling and psychotherapy would be important in helping the individual recover from the traumatic loss.
Disenfranchised grief is grief that is not made known to others, such as in the case of a young mother who aborts her child without the knowledge of her parents or others. Another example can be in the case of an extramarital lover whose lover passed on. In these cases, the grieving process is compromised as they are unable to process through this grief with others and receive the social support they need to overcome their grief.