Grief Counselling 

Many people are unaware that almost everyday of our lives we experience grief.  From not being able to spend our day as we wish (having to go to work), to experiencing a traumatic loss (losing a loved one in a car accident).  While these extremes of loss produce completely different levels of reaction, each individual will also have their own way of processing their grief/loss. 

Since the days of Elizabeth Kubler Ross's work on the stages of grief, counsellors have described the cycle of grief as one where many people experience the same emotions, but experience these in a different order and a different intensity, according to a number of factors.  These factors include the type of loss or grief event, the relationships the grieving person had with the loss object or person, the unexpectedness of the grief and more.


Grief, even when it is protracted, can be processed gradually and resolved, by re-adjusting to life post-loss as a new inevitable reality. 


Experiencing Loss

To experience loss, we need attachment.  There are many theories about why humans and some animals make emotional attachments to others.  Survival could be one reason. Some theorists argue that it is purely biological, whilst others argue that attachments form due to the need for safety and security. John Bowlby (1980) supported the latter view. 


We learn attachment behaviour from the time we are born and this affects our relationships throughout our lives.  If we learn to trust and have steady, dependable care, we are able to grow up with high self-esteem and independence.  We are also able to love and be loved.  The greater the attachment, there is obviously the greater potential for loss.  We may experience many losses throughout our lives, the loss of a loved one, a pet, a job, financial security, but we may also experience the loss of potential, that is, what might have been – the job we might have had, the parent we never knew and so on. 

Is there a Difference Between Stress, Crisis and Grief?

In psychology, a stressor is any force or pressure which acts upon us and causes changes. These changes may be in our thoughts, feelings or behaviour patterns and are often maladaptive in the long term. Stress itself is the result of a stressor. The stressor is the cause, and stress is the effect.

As such, any event or situation which causes us to change somehow serves as a stressor. In the short term, stress can be useful. It helps our bodies to resist infections, it stimulates us to mobilise our energy ready for fight-or-flight, it can help us to combat infections, and so on.
However, enduring or chronic stress often produces maladaptive responses and is more often associated with poor health. Crisis, trauma and grief are examples of stressors which can disturb our psychological wellbeing and often produce long term effects. 

Severe Stress

Some stress persists for a long time; while other stress may fade rapidly. Acute stress occurs when we experience a sudden event, such as a car accident. This can trigger the onset of a stress reaction.  Whilst the response may be very intense and debilitating for a time, the duration of the reaction may be relatively short-term so that once the person has come to terms with what happened, the outcome, and the prognosis - they are able to deal with it, readjust, and move forward.

Learning More about Grief Counselling with our 100 hour Distance Education Course

Grief Counselling is a specialist field that involves a high level of mastery and awareness of one's own loss experiences and grief reactions.  Clients who require grief counselling may range from children who have been sexually abused, to elderly people who have lost their independence to victims of natural disasters or wars.  If you have what it takes to be a grief counsellor, or would like to know more about grief processes for your own benefit, enrol in Grief Counselling today! 


The course is divided into eight lessons as follows:

1.      Nature and Scope of Grief and Bereavement

2.      Stages of grief

3.      Grief and Children

4.      Grief and adolescents

5.      Adjustment to Bereavement

6.      Abnormal Grief

7.      Preparing for Grief and Bereavement

8.      Future outlook and long-term grief     



o        List euphemisms for dying.

o        Consider factors that can help set the conditions for the good death

o        Discuss the ways that a wake or funeral service can be of help to mourners.

o        Discuss contemporary attitudes toward death in society and how they affect the treatment of dying.

o        Describe the stages of grief.

o        Explain why people pass through different stages at different times and not in a particular order.

o        List mechanisms available to help a counsellor support someone who is grieving.

o        Describe ways in which children might respond to grief.

o        Explain why different children respond to grief in different ways.

o        Describe counselling strategies for supporting the grieving child. 

o        Research how adolescents respond to grief.

o        Outline counselling strategies for supporting the grieving adolescent. 

o        List suicide prevention strategies.

o        Explain in general how  we adjust to loss.

o        List some dangers of loss.

o        Describe some alternatives for loss recovery. 

o        Research how bereavement affects survivors.

o        Describe some abnormal responses to grief, and how they are determined to be abnormal.

o        Describe some treatment methods for assisting a person suffering from abnormal grief.  

o        Briefly describe symptoms of PTSD

o        Discuss socio-cultural perspectives in preparing for grief and bereavement.          

o        Research physiological and psychological effects of separation and loneliness in the aged.

o        Describe some effects of long term grief.

o        Outline some long term counselling support strategies.

o        Compare effective and ineffective support for people going through grief and loss.




To find out more or to enrol, click here!