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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is psychotherapy recommended for bereaved people?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • The Compassionate Friends is a peer support organisation offering friendship and understanding to bereaved parents and siblings following the death of a son or daughter, … View Profile

    The majority of those experiencing severe loss or trauma are able to obtain sufficient support from family and friends to help them move on with their lives. Some may seek additional support by attending a support group made up of those who have suffered a similar loss. Some may obtain additional support and deeper understanding of their experiences by seeking out competent professionals for short-term help in understanding their grieving processes.

    A small number of bereaved people may feel the need, or be advised, to contact a psychotherapist for more intense longer term one-on-one therapy, to help identify the feelings and issues involved in there loss or losses, and develop strategies to help them move on.

    Those who might find such an intense process particularly valuable are:

    • Those who have complex mental health issues.
    • Those who have experienced very traumatic losses (such as multiple deaths, or loss of home and all belongings, or finding their child who has suicided). These are losses that are particularly complex, involve deep horrific feelings, and are multi-issued.
    • Those who, on top of their current loss experiences, have had serious losses in their past which have not been adequately addressed.
    • Those who feel a need for greater self-knowledge or who have a strong responsibility to assist others around them to cope with a loss. For example parents (or siblings) who feel responsible for supporting their other family members.

    As might be expected, for those presenting with such difficult and complex experiences the process is usually time-consuming and involves painful hard work. The upside, however, is that with a competent caring and aware therapist this time is usually very rewarding, leading to positive growth in all areas of their lives.

  • Ramona Singh

    Counsellor, Psychotherapist

    Life often presents us with challenging situations.Despite our best efforts, we don’t always find ways of resolving them.We might ask family or friends for advice. … View Profile

    In my experience as a therapist and someone who has sought therapy many years ago to deal with my own grief, psychotherapy can definitely help a bereaved person express and move through their grief in a supportive and empathic environment. 

    I believe that the loss of a loved one changes us forever, but this need not be in a negative or morbid way.  It somehow adds an additional dimension to the person we are, and with time we learn to live with the loss, and continue with our lives in a productive way.  But we need to find a place for this loss in our life, and some of us need to find a way of continuing to love that person even though they are no longer physically with us.  

    Therapy can help you to develop the strength and self-knowledge that you need to move through your grief and rebuild your life, so that one day you might even be able to feel joy again.

    I wish you strength on your journey through loss.

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