Grief Counseling

Grief is complex and comes in waves. Learn how to surf it differently.

Grief Counseling

In-Office and Remote Grief Counseling

Grief is a natural response to loss – like the death of a loved one and ending of a relationship or career. It can bring on overwhelming feelings of sadness, heartache, and anguish. At times, the pain of grief can cloud these options and we can feel lost. No matter how challenging life seems, you have options.

I offer both in-person and online grief counseling to face these challenges and create healthy coping mechanisms in the wake of a loss.

All people experience grief at some point in their life, but the challenges that follow are unique to everyone. Speaking with a professional grief therapist in a relaxed, compassionate environment is an essential step in navigating the grieving process – and restoring the natural balance of your life.

Our Process to Help You Deal With Grief

What Happens in Grief Counseling?

Grief can take many forms – and changing the relationship with it is a different journey for every client. Our process to providing counseling and finding a healthy, balanced outcome for grief looks like this:

  1. We’ll take a 15-20-minute phone call before the appointment to talk about what’s going on and how you are feeling.
  2. We’ll discuss how grief is impacting your life – and those around you.
  3. We’ll work together to identify and create a treatment plan to understand and help your feelings of grief.
  4. We will work in sessions to focus on connecting with your internal world, create space for complex emotions, build awareness of how grief affects you, and understand how you react to certain feelings.
  5. We’ll develop strategies and tools to cope with feelings of grief and use them to help you feel more in balance.
  6. Eventually, clients can create more effective skills to ease the pain of grief and feel more in control of their emotions.

Grief can take an emotional, physical, mental, social, and spiritual toll – all of which can have debilitating effects on everyday life. Grief counseling is a valuable and constructive way to manage emotional pain and improve your headspace on a day-to-day basis.

What Does Grief Feel Like?

Grief is one of the most misunderstood mental challenges people face. Grief is common to human existence and actually quite helpful to healing.

Grief was commonly characterized by the Kubler-Ross model in five stages:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

These stages are not always linear – grief can be wildly unpredictable with good days and bad days. No matter what emotion a person is feeling, grief often creates the misconception that there is no end in sight.

Symptoms of Grief

The symptoms of grief can feel different to everyone affected. The severity of how grief shows up in our lives is the deciding factor in whether you should seek out grief counseling. The symptoms of grief include (but are not limited to):

Common Ways Grief Shows Up In Us

Sadness or Uncontrollable Sadness

Mental Symptoms

Troubles concentrating
Constant thinking about the loss
Low self-esteem
Increased/decreased dreams
Difficulties making decisions
Self-destructive thoughts
Believing you are responsible for the loss

Physical Symptoms

Changes in sleeping patterns
Weight gain/loss
Changes in appetite
Increased startle reflex

Behavioral Symptoms

The need to stay constantly active
Changes in work performance
Blaming others
Increased forgetfulness
Excessive crying

Causes of Grief

Grief is a very normal, natural reaction that all humans experience in their lifetime. People grieve for many different reasons – and the causes of grief are more or less infinite. Some of the most common causes include (but are not limited to):

Death of a loved one
Death of a pet
Changes in relationships and/or friendships
Unemployment/loss of financial security/career ending
Changes to way of life

Should I Seek a Grief Counselor?

Seeking out the help of a professional is one of the most important – and often the hardest – steps in changing your relationship with grief. Building awareness and managing your symptoms with the help of a grief counselor is a productive and healthy way to find balance in the wake of complicated grief.

If you are looking into grief counseling, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the grief feel like it will never end?
  • Are these feelings negatively impacting my everyday life?
  • Is this mental challenge causing my job performance to suffer?
  • Are my feelings of grief hurting my relationships with friends and family?
  • Is my grieving process causing me to lose sleep every night?

If you answered yes to any of these questions – and grief is taking a noticeable toll on your daily life, it’s time to look into a professional grief therapist.

What Happens if Grief Goes Untreated?

All too often, people challenged by grief choose to bottle up or suppress their emotions. Failing to confront these feelings – and not deal with them in a healthy way – could lead to other life challenges.

If our grief is taking a toll on our daily life, and we do not work to help ourselves, it can result in a number of difficult challenges, including (but not limited to):

Suicidal thoughts
Increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and other physical illness
Long-term struggles with daily life – work, relationships, normal activities
Drug and alcohol abuse

Grief resulting from a significant loss can be extremely difficult to overcome. People dealing with ongoing symptoms of grief can take several intentional steps to change their outlook. No one can heal the pain in a day, but seeking out the help of a grief counselor can be an effective step in rebalancing the intensity in your internal world - which can help people lead healthier lives.

Treatment Programs for Alleviating Grief

Grief counseling isn’t about forgetting your loss or pretending it didn’t happen. The goal of our sessions is to identify the best ways to understand and connect with your internal world. Emotional pain inside us needs to be understood and healed the same way physical pain needs to be understood and treated. We need to go inside, see what is there, and heal that pain. And you can do it!

Given the circumstances, there are several treatment options available. These include (but are not limited to):

counseling anxiety therapist

(Psychotherapy or Talk Therapy)

Counseling, psychotherapy, and talk therapy is the intentional process of helping people alter unhealthy patterns that exist in their internal world. In these sessions, I help clients develop strong, healthy strategies for coping with grief. We’ll work on:

  • Understanding how your loss is affecting your inner landscape.
  • Becoming aware of your symptoms and managing the effects.
  • Creating new patterns of dealing with grief that is individualized for you. 
  • Finding new options for connecting with others socially - which can act as buffers against mental hardships in the future. 

My number one priority is creating a safe, healthy environment where clients feel comfortable sharing their feelings and challenges in their grieving process. Counseling sessions last about 50 minutes but may run for 75 to 90 minutes. There are no certified grief counselors out there but I am confident in my ability to help people in times of incredible sadness.

group therapy

Group Therapy

Social connection is one of the most effective tools in coping with feelings of grief – and easing the symptoms that come with them. In group therapy sessions, we’ll work to:

  • Find a clearer perspective of how grief affects you and those around you.
  • Understand how your loss – and your reactions to grief – impacts others.
  • Develop stronger skills to relate to others in your coping process.

As a group facilitator, my goal is to create a general sense of understanding, compassion, and inclusivity. Group sessions last around 90 minutes.

Family Having Fun Outdoors

Family Therapy

Grief is commonly shared within families. These sessions are for families when grief has taken a debilitating toll. The goal of family counseling is to:

  • Understand how grief is impacting the family as a unit.
  • Discover ways to improve communication.
  • Create and strengthen problem-solving skills as a group.
  • Alleviate the symptoms of grief as a whole.

My family therapy sessions are built on trust, open-mindedness, and empathy. This is the only way to see true progress as a group. Family sessions last about 50 minutes but may run for 75 to 90 minutes.

anxiety medication

Medication for Pain

Some people who are grieving deal with tremendous amounts of pain that can affect their lives. In times of incredible pain, some look to the option of medication to manage their symptoms. 

Medication may be an option - in addition to grief therapy – and we don’t take this approach lightly. No matter how severe the situation may be, all of my clients have complete control over what goes into their bodies. If a client wants to try medication to alleviate their symptoms of grief, we will have a long, in-depth discussion about the potential outcomes. 

If a client wants to try medication, I will refer them to specialists in mental and physical health.

Resources Available for Grief Management

To learn more about grieving – and managing the symptoms you may be experiencing – there are many resources available. Here are some good ones to look at:

Frequently Asked Questions

Grief is characterized by the feelings we experience after a loss. It is a natural response that all humans experience at some point in their lives. It may be brought on by the death of a loved one, pet, loss of a job, life changes, and so on.

Grief is a journey that is unique to everyone experiencing it. Many people challenged by grief claim they experience symptoms unpredictably – as a sight, smell, or feeling may trigger certain emotions. Some people experience symptoms early on after their loss, while others may find the most difficult times in the following weeks, months, or years. There is no single way to cope with grief – and everyone experiences symptoms and treatment differently.

Symptoms of grief can vary - and are unique to everyone. The common symptoms of grief include (but are not limited to) sadness, agitation, shame, anxiety, restlessness, changes in appetite, changes in sleep patterns, struggles concentrating, and so on.

The process of alleviating feelings of grief is different for everyone. However, there are several ways to get the grieving process moving in the right direction. These include (but are not limited to) psychotherapy, group therapy, family therapy, meditation, support groups, yoga, and medication.

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this. There are so many factors and variables involved to accurately predict how long someone will grieve. Seeking out grief counseling is an effective way to efficiently develop strategies for coping with symptoms and living a happy, healthy life in wake of a loss.

Let’s Get in Touch

You are not alone in coping with the challenges of grief. 

Grief counseling techniques and social connections are helpful options to find light at the end of the tunnel. Those who dedicate themselves to their mental wellbeing and work to create a strong internal balance will change their lives. Based on my experience in this field, I believe this to be true without exception. Everyone can heal - and those who are intentional about caring for themselves reap those rewards.

My grief counseling services are available to help clients gain courage and strategies to change their internal struggle following a loss.

Get in contact today for individual or group therapy sessions.

Local grief counseling is available in-person at my Brentwood, TN office, over the phone, or via Zoom. 

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