Tag: Bereavement

It’s Good to Talk

“Treatment intended to relieve or heal a disorder.” This is the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of what therapy is and yet if you suggest the idea of therapy or counselling to some and there is often an instant rebuttal or refusal to even entertain the idea.

There is a stigma surrounding counselling or therapy which when taken down to its bare bones is “I don’t need a therapist/counsellor because I am not crazy!” This misconception over the years has led to a lot of people trying desperately to deal with something on their own that they simply can’t also an increase in the number of people who think there is no way out other than that one last resort.

It is simply not true. Did you know that the majority of patients that counsellors and therapists see are simply people dealing with difficult life transitions like divorce, health challenges, relocation, death of a loved one, work stress and family or parenting issues. These are normal, everyday problems that some people find it easier to deal with if they talk through with someone and that someone just happens to be called a counsellor, therapist, psychologist or another name along those lines.

Most people who initiate counselling do not have a serious mental illness. They have life challenges or are going through difficult life-cycle transitions that may be taxing their current ability to cope. This, in turn, may be adversely affecting their well-being and ability to function as well as they would like.

Counselling provides confidential support. This means that everything you discuss with the counsellor is private, between you and the counsellor. Counselling is a process of talking about and working through your personal problems with a trained professional. The counsellor helps you to address your problems in a positive way by helping you to clarify the issues, explore options, develop strategies and increase self-awareness. For some people, just the process of telling their story to a counsellor, and being listened to, is helpful.

So, if you are going through one or more of these challenges at the same time, you’re not alone. The effects are often cumulative, which is generally referred to as a ‘pile-up’ of stressors. Counselling during these times can be extremely helpful in providing both the support and skills to better address these life challenges.

Ultimately, it is an invaluable investment in your emotional, physical and mental health, an act of courage, not weakness, and a gift to those whose lives you touch.

I’m more than happy to help if you are going through something or would like to chat about how counselling may be able to support you.  Contact me, John on 01202 303722.

How To Help Those That Are Grieving


One of the worst experiences we are faced with in life is loss and bereavement. Some people will be fortunate to have never experienced any kind of grief and unfortunately others are all too familiar with the feelings of loss and bereavement.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines grief as “intense sorrow, especially caused by someone’s death.” This is as good a description as any, though I’m unsure any words can truly describe the feelings of grief.

We all deal with it in our own ways whether it be to talk about it or to hide away from the world until we’re forced back into society. There is no right or wrong way to deal with grief though there are perhaps methods that are better in some respects. The trouble comes when you are not the person experiencing the grief but the one trying to support the bereaved through their loss.

What should you say? What should you do? Will anything you say or do actually be what they need? All one can do is try.

Here are a few ideas on how to help:

  • Never avoid someone who has been bereaved. It’s confusing and hurtful. Texts, emails and letters are all acceptable – it’s the contact that matters. Grief can make you feel scared and alone. Saying “I’m sorry” is enough if you can’t think of anything else.
  • Never tell someone how they’re feeling, because grief is incredibly individual. Just be there to support them.
  • Don’t stop someone crying. Even saying “don’t cry”, meant helpfully, can seem as if you are shutting them down. It’s OK to be silent while someone sobs, just give them a reassuring, gentle touch to let them know you are there.
  • Save the flowers for three months after the bereavement, when everyone else has fallen away and it seems everyone has forgotten. The bereaved person will still be grieving. It’s getting back to ordinary life that can hurt the most.
  • Don’t be afraid to mention the person who has died. Often people will avoid mentioning them or their name because they don’t know what to say or feel awkward, however this can often be more painful than a stroll down memory lane to remember the good and happy times.

Let the grieving person guide you. If you are there to be a support, allow their grief to guide you along the correct path of comfort.

If you need any help or advice, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.