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Loss is a sad but inevitable part of life. It’s healthy for people to experience strong emotions after the loss of a loved one, pet, job, or relationship. However, these feelings can be so overwhelming that some need help working through them. Behavioral Health Associates of Broward’s (BHAB) grief and bereavement counseling can help people move through the mourning process and learn healthy ways to cope.
People often use the terms “grief,” “bereavement,” and “mourning” interchangeably, but each word describes a different aspect of the emotional impact of a loss. Grief describes the emotions that a person feels after a loss, while bereavement is the period in which a person feels grief. Mourning is the process through which people cope with the loss and learn to live their daily lives again.
In the face of loss, people often go through five stages of grief. While some people move through these phases in order, others may go back and forth between a few steps. Both ways of moving through the stages can be healthy. Furthermore, recognizing each stage can help mourners feel less alone as they process their emotions.
This first stage often happens immediately after people learn the news of their loss loved one. Without this phase, the shock of the loss can be too overwhelming at first. This part of bereavement is not just about not accepting the loss, but also gives people a moment to absorb and process the life-changing information. As such, denial can help mourners ease into grief.
It’s entirely normal for people experiencing grief to lash out in anger. This rage can come as a result of the extreme discomfort people feel as they come out of denial and start realizing the truth of the matter. Mourners may also feel anger as a reaction to the fear of what life looks like in the face of this loss. Unfortunately, angry outbursts can also cause people to become isolated when they really need personal connections.
Our well-trained and experienced team provide a compassionate, confidential, and safe environment for those affected by the loss of a loved one to express their anger, while also teaching them healthy strategies to cope with their anger outside of counseling.
Bargaining, Searching, and Yearning
The pain of loss can be so intense that people start trying to find any way to stop it. This often means appealing to a higher power and promising to change. During this phase, people may also wonder what they could have done differently. It’s completely normal for people to wish they would have acted differently in the past. It’s best to talk about what could have been done differently with an understanding and trained counselor who can then assist and direct the person in the right direction.
Depression, Disorganization, and Despair
When denial, anger, and bargaining do not stop the onslaught of emotions, it’s common for people to experience feelings of depression. They may have trouble living their daily lives, talking with others, and coping with the loss.
When this occurs, a BHAB counselor can help an individual experiencing depression to step out of their comfort zone and remind them that they’re never alone.
Accepting the loss does not mean that the mourner loves the other person any less. It does not mean that they are OK with what happened or that they do not miss the other person deeply. Instead, it means learning what life looks like after this loss.
Grief is a unique experience for each person in each situation. Several factors can influence how a person grieves, including the circumstances surrounding the loss and the mourner’s personality. However, there are some common signs of grief that many mourners experience:
Grief comes in all shapes and sizes, but some experts categorize it into three types:
People feel anticipatory grief when they expect the death of a loved one or some other type of loss. For example, anticipatory grief may occur when someone receives a terminal diagnosis. During this kind of grief, people may feel all the same emotions as they would after a death, even though the actual loss has not yet occurred.
“Normal” grief describes the emotions one feels in the moments, days, and months after a loss. It can include all of the symptoms of grief listed above. After a few weeks or months, mourners with normal grief return to some kind of normal life. Even though they still feel sadness or empty, they learn to live without their loved one.
“Complicated” grief occurs when the person in mourning cannot return to some version of daily life, even after several months of grief. The symptoms do not subside like they do with normal grief. People with complicated grief often need additional support, such as counseling, to work through this challenging period. With over 55 years of experience, our counselors have helped people deal with different types of grief.
During counseling sessions for grief, our therapists discuss the mourner’s feelings about the loss. This can provide a safe and accepting place in which they can talk about the loss. This can be especially important if the person is feeling isolated because others do not know how to speak to them about what happened.
Our therapists also give clients critical coping mechanisms. For example, a counselor may have the mourner write a letter to the person who passed. This helps foster feelings of connection, even with the person’s physical absence.
Most of all, our therapists can act as a companion through all the stages of grief. It can be helpful to have someone acknowledge and validate their feelings. Sometimes, just expressing those emotions in a safe place can help people process them. Furthermore, our trained counselors can monitor the mourner so they do not develop unhealthy coping mechanisms and disorders like depression or substance abuse.
It’s essential to remember that you do not have to have a mental illness to benefit from therapy. Although grieving is a natural part of life and not a disorder, people find that counseling helps them through this difficult period.
If you or someone you love is in bereavement, do not hesitate to call Behavioral Health Associates of Broward (BHAB). Our kind and professional counselors and therapists can help you work through the stages of grief healthily, where they can lend a listening ear and a safe place in which you can process your emotions.
Contact us today to set up an appointment at one of our two convenient locations in Broward county.
Coral Springs/Parkland: 11555 Heron Bay Blvd., 2nd Floor Coral Springs, FL 33076
Davie/Cooper City: 5890 South Pine Island Rd., Suite 201 Davie, FL 33328