6 Counseling Techniques for Coping with Grief and Loss


Regardless of the circumstance, helping someone deal with grief and loss can be incredibly difficult. Not everyone handles the loss of a loved one in the same way and we all have different coping mechanisms that others often don’t understand.

When it comes to grief and loss, everyone is different. And there’s no time limit on how long it takes someone to come to terms with a loss – some people never do, they just find ways to cope.

Many people turn to counseling to help them come to terms with the reality of their loss and to help them move on, adjust to life without their loved one, and overcome the pain.

We’ve created a guide outlining our top six counseling techniques to help your clients cope with grief and loss.

What are grief thoughts and behaviors?

Grieving is more than just feeling sad, it goes way beyond that and can bring up a whole host of different emotions including anger, regret, guilt, longing and sometimes relief if a loved one suffered for a long time. time.

There are five linear stages of grief:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • To negotiate
  • The Depression
  • Acceptance

To navigate this journey, counselors use a variety of different therapy techniques to help the bereaved cope and adjust.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is often used to help people talk about and work through the many emotions associated with grief and loss. The main goal of cognitive behavioral therapy is to identify negative thought patterns so that they can be changed.

Ultimately, it’s about helping individuals deal with their negative thoughts and understand how to manage their behaviors. Once they start to open up, talking can help relieve a number of grief symptoms that can negatively impact their daily lives.

How it works?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps clients become aware of their negative thought patterns, which often lead to behaviors that make it difficult to process grief. During a session, you should focus on asking your client to discuss how they feel about their loss and how those feelings consequently affect their behavior. Commonly used techniques include cognitive reframing or behavior restructuring and targeting.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy involves using the power of mindfulness to help clients deal with grief and come to terms with loss. This type of therapy is most effective when working with a client who is suffering from prolonged or complicated grief, which has lasted for more than a year.

The primary goal of this therapy is to help clients emotionally process a loss and ultimately come to terms with it. This can be done using the following techniques:

  • Accept negative emotions and feelings
  • Take distance from negative feelings and emotions to better understand them
  • Focus on the present
  • Observing yourself living through different situations and circumstances
  • Identifying your values
  • Overcome difficulties through the use of previous techniques.

Traumatic grief therapy

Traumatic grief therapy is used to help clients cope with sudden grief related to trauma, such as the sudden loss of a loved one or in horrific circumstances. This therapy focuses on examining the response to trauma and the emotions and grieving process that accompany an unexpected death.

Complicated grief therapy (CGT)

Complicated grief therapy is also extremely effective in helping clients process the symptoms that accompany their grief. This can range from intense feelings of sadness to feelings of hopelessness and depressive episodes.

These types of symptoms can have a huge impact on all areas of a person’s life and can make them feel overwhelmed with emotion to the point that they are unable to function and move on with their life.

group therapy

Finally, group therapy can also be extremely beneficial when it comes to helping people deal with their grief. This type of therapy involves encouraging people to come together to share their thoughts and feelings with others who are also grieving.

In this situation, groups are formed by bringing together people who are recovering from similar experiences, providing a safe, open and supportive group for people to talk freely.

Become an advisor

If you would like to become a counselor to support people dealing with grief and loss, find out how to become a counselor or enroll in one of our Chrysalis Counselor courses.


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