Berkshire Counselling and Psychotherapy Services

Bereavement Counselling/Psychotherapy in Reading, Wokingham, Woodley and Berkshire

Loss is an integral part of life but is not the easiest part of life to deal with especially if that loss is sudden or happens violently. Loss of a job or loss of money/business can trigger the same shock and bereavement process as loss of a loved one but it is not that well recognised or sympathized with.

Bereavement is the loss of a loved one and the process of adjusting and learning to live without that person in our lives. It is a natural process that the brain goes in shock and refuses to accept that reality for a few hours and sometimes days; else the person has episodes of talking/behaving as if the person is around and part of his/her life plans. This is the first phase known as the denial phase of grieving. Then the phase of disbelief/rage/anger will set in where the grieving person is angry that his/her life has become so disturbed; she is missing the dead person so much or missing the role that person had in their lives and yet cannot be angry at anyone. The body system feel enraged and angry that the dead person has abandoned, neglected and left us behind even though the logic knows there was no choice involved in death.

The third phase of bereavement is depression where the system accepts the fact that the person is gone and shall not come back. The loss is felt and depletes the energy, motivation and will to carry on with life for the people who are left behind. The body carries on functioning and the mind copes with daily chores but emotionally the person is numb and cannot see a future of laughter, happiness or satisfaction without the dead person; the bereaved person is idealized, her things are cherished, her words are replayed by the mind and scenarios of her life keep hurting us as we remember her presence in the kitchen or bedroom or garden; especially if it coincides with special occasions e.g. birthdays, christmas times become difficult for those left behind.

Then the fourth phase sets in the negotiation phase where the loved ones start negotiating with themselves as well as those around them that what happened maybe happened for the best and it is time to move on; they move into a phase of talking to the dead person as being dead but still hearing them; they may agree to go to a party because they think their dead relative would have wanted them to go and find that they can laugh again. They may try dressing up believing there is the loved one watching over them and find that they can feel good again. This is a phase tinged with guilt and it can revert back to previous stages but then the stages can last for hours rather than days.

The fifth stage is acceptance and moving on with life. Nature has donated us this wonderful brain that does tend to forget and file away memories and new memories replace the old ones; the loved ones are always remembered and talked about with love and a few tears but the mind will move back to the present and start preparing for the future again, dreaming again about a lifestyle where happiness, joy and belonging can happen again.

The five stages of grieving in bereavement do not necessarily happen in a neat order. some people may stay in denial longer others may find the depression phase lingering longer. but generally speaking a person will go through these phases in a linear or circular way and it is important to understand where they are at to support them appropriately or else normalize their feelings that they are not going crazy.

some years back when a wife or husband would get angry with their partner for 'cheating and dying' on them leaving behind the kis for example, family members would chastise that person but now we understand that the bereaved person is not meaning what he/she is saying but rather grieving for the loss. usually a grieving process can take around six months give or take a few months. For children Bereavement can take the shape of going in cycles of grieving the stages in one day or few days; getting better and finding the cycle triggered again by a reminder from a scene on T.V. or a mother cuddling their child or going back to school and remembering their parent picking them up after school. Children express a lot in the anger phase as their needs are multiple as children and their loss thereby is multiple as well.

When the lost family member is a key person in our lives bereavement process can get disturbed by several factors. The guilt is stronger so the person may not allow the denial phase to move on. They would rather deny their loss and pretend it was not so bad because deep down they know that if they open up to the loss they will crumble and feel their guilt (real or imaginary). Some people can stay in the depression phase for longer especially if that loss meant many other losses e.g. a husband losing his wife might find it difficult to move on if he is of a shy nature and could only bond with his wife. He might find it difficult to imagine life giving him another chance again and the hopelessness of a future can add on to his bereavement process.

People usually come for bereavement counselling when their loss process, their bereavement process interferes in their functional life. Unfortunately we live in a world where we need to work and look after the kids and the kids have to go to school and perform. So when children are showing 'acting out' behaviours at school after loss of a parent, e.g. aggression, depression, clinging behaviours boarding on anxiety, sleep issues, food intake issues then parents seek counselling for their children with those issues.

As for adults seeking bereavement counselling, they need it when their work is suffering, alcohol or lack of sleep is interfering with their professional lives after loss of a loved one or the depression is bringing side complications of lack of focus, motivation or else procrastinating problems.

What does Berkshire Counselling and Psychotherapy offer with Bereavement Counselling?

Amreeta Chapman has over fifteen years experience working with loss be it loss of loved ones or loss of integral parts of the self e.g. job, love partner, business or money. Addressed above are some of the reasons why people seek bereavement counselling and Amreeta, as a Psychotherapist/Counsellor will assess with you the client, your needs, your goals and keep the work goal oriented. there is a fine line between helping clients accept what is the normal part of the grieving process and has to be given time and space to carry on its process.(we live in a culture and era where pain seems to be a 'no-no' but pain is a part of our life, physically when we fall down and emotionally when someone dies) and those aspects of the bereavement which are interfering with functioning: the client has lack of sleep, work motivation, is crying all the time at work, cannot get up in the morning or else is too depressed. Along with respecting the grieving process Amreeta's job as a Counsellor is to help client function back in themselves and their school, jobs and responsibilities.

Most clients need 6-8 sessions of counselling to start functioning as well as understanding and allowing the process of grieving to carry on with less disturbance to their functional life. But for people whose loss is sudden or violent or else have not been grieving for years and now have fallen into a deep depression or anger problem, then sessions can last up to 12-15 sessions to cover the above goals but also deal with the trauma of unprocessed memories.

For more information or questions call Amreeta on 0118 926 9978 or 0786 129 3634. You can also email her your questions by clicking here. Please note that she may be with clients so do leave a message as she aims to answer you within two to three hours. Amreeta understands you are making a huge step ahead by contacting her and she will definitely answer you by call or mail whichever you prefer!

Practices in Reading/Caversham, Wokingham/Bracknell, Woodley/Twyford, Windsor/Slough, covering Berkshire.

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