How Can Therapy Help With Bereavement..... by Dafina Ganeva

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We all at some point in our life experience bereavement. Losing someone very close to us can make us feel the greatest emotional pain ever. Ripped from inside, empty, deeply depressed, sad, angry, desperate, losing all hope, joy and meaning in life and all that and the same time. It can make life extremely difficult for a long period of time. Simple every day tasks may feel impossible to accomplish for a while. And even though all that is very normal it might feel to us at the time as if we are the only ones who have ever been there and as if it will never get better. 

Losing my father when I was 13 years old was one of the most difficult things that ever happened to me. Therapy wasn’t popular back then and there and the adults around me were keener to help with my physical needs but didn’t know what to do with my emotions. So I had to carry that unresolved grief with me for the next 10 years of my life. Unable to speak about my father without bursting into tears or re-living the trauma of his death again and again.

 Getting the support we need during that extremely difficult time in our life can have an enormous effect on our future mental health. It is very important to allow ourselves to grieve and go through the grieving process in our own pace. Therapy can help with that by providing the space for us to do that. Talking about the loss, crying, exploring our feelings of anger or guilt in a safe environment can be life-saving. 

As a bereavement counsellor I have heard so many heartbreaking stories. Losing a baby, a child, a parent, a sibling, a friend, a suppose and sometimes more than one at the same time. All very different stories. All very sad. All unique. And yet people always say to me the same things. ‘No one wants to listen about it anymore.’ ‘I don’t want to upset people with my sadness.’ ‘I need to be strong for the ones who need me.’ ‘Life has no meaning.’ ‘It is so unfair.’ ‘How can I carry on?’ 

And they all do. They carry on. Some of them even stronger than before. As we don’t get over grief and grief doesn’t disappear. We learn how to live with it. It becomes part of who we are and then we grow around it.                       

Dafina Ganeva