Grief and mourning are natural responses to loss, however, some people get stuck in their grief.

Everyone experiences grief when they lose a person, place or thing that is beloved, precious and meaningful to them, but stuck grief can lead to depression. This sense of hopelessness can trigger thoughts of suicide. 

Loss & Change

After a loss, there is a period of mourning and it can be a difficult time when you feel overwhelmed, as if life is pointless; you may become anxious, angry, weary, numb, unable to concentrate, forgetful … however, mourning doesn’t last, and eventually the waves of grief subside. In time, you can begin to find interest in life and other people and begin again.

People grieve not only for what has been lost, for the person who has died, the career cut short… but for what hasn’t happened; for the child a woman couldn’t have, for an education interrupted by poverty or family breakdown.

Every change in our relationships and circumstances involves loss, and every loss a change. Change can bring new opportunities: as one door closes, another opens. Endings are beginnings.

Managing change, especially changes over which you have no or little control can induce anxiety, anger, fear and a loss of a sense of self. Such changes might be losing a job, getting divorced, a death, becoming seriously ill and disabled, having to leave your country, home, neighbourhood. When the loss and change seem too great, people can become unwell with a variety of psychological and mental health conditions. Support from counselling can help you gradually work through these losses and begin to feel able to face your new reality.

In some cases, the losses and change are experienced as trauma.

Trauma and PTSD

Going through or witnessing a frightening, disturbing event can have an impact which is difficult to come to terms with and move past. If so, we talk about being traumatised by what has happened. When we talk of trauma, we mean both the event that has happened (traumatic) and also how it leaves us feeling (traumatised.)

The impact of trauma can be short-lived or long-lasting. For those exposed to and experiencing ongoing traumatic events and situations, especially in childhood, recovery takes a long time. This is known as complex trauma and survivors can struggle with many psychological and emotional difficulties. Sometimes, the impact of an event is so disturbing that it is re-experienced in the present as a flashback. This is called post-traumatic stress disorder.

People may experience complex trauma when they have been subject to or witness extreme violence, sexual assault and rape, have experienced repeated neglect and harm in childhood, have been in wars or forced to flee their country or region, have been subjected to persistent cruelty and bullying.

Counselling can help you overcome the short or long-term impact of trauma. The work is slow and sensitive ensuring that you are not re-traumatised by the counselling itself and you feel in control of what is happening. The aim is to stabilise then work through the traumatic events mourning both what happened and what was lost as a result of the events. Finally, the work focuses on looking forward again and starting to live with greater self-belief and confidence.