Many of the feelings associated with loss and bereavement are most unpleasant to experience. Losing someone close to us can shake the very roots of our existence, threaten our current identity, and bring up for reappraisal our deepest beliefs and values. The death of someone in our family or immediate circle is a major life crisis, which according to the Chinese, brings both danger and opportunity
Grieving is a natural process. It is an in-built human healing mechanism. When allowed or encouraged grieving helps us to face our loss, feel and express whatever feelings it has evoked and slowly and gradually let go, adjust over time to what has been lost and meet whatever life brings with energy and enthusiasm.
Grieving is not a disease. The “dis-ease” occurs rather when you do no t grieve. Grieving actually eases the pain. When your innate healing mechanisms have not been conditioned or damaged, you will grieve naturally, if not interfered with, and recover eventually, in the right conditions and environment. When, then, might you need to go to a Counsellor or Psychotherapist? If you yourself would like to, then try a few sessions. Discuss the problem with the therapist, check out what you want and expect, and see if s/he is able to meet those expectations. It is important to understand that it is you who must do the grieving, not the therapist. The therapist will not be doing anything for you, but simply acting as a guide or facilitator for your grieving.
If you do not have sufficient support from friends and family, you may want to get some professional help. In order to give good support, listeners need to have some ‘free attention’ for you. If they also are grieving, their attention will be involved with their own grief and there will not be enough left for you. Friends, outside the family or close circle, are often most helpful. But if you are not fortunate enough to have such friends, or enough of them, or if they are involved in the situation, you may need a professional grief counsellor or therapist.
If the death you are grieving has been particularly violent or distressing, you may need professional help. Again it is a question of free attention. Few non-professionals are able to listen at length to the details of certain illnesses and deaths, such as suicide or murder. If you have been bereaved in such a way, you may need to talk over your experience again and again. Listening to your experience may just be too much for some people, even the most supportive of friends. Listening may remind them of their own fears, and hence their free attention goes to themselves and away from you.
Trust yourself as to whether you wish to seek professional help.