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Mental Health and Grief Counseling Issues Research Paper

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Updated: Aug 2nd, 2021

Introduction

We live in a world where people constantly deal with intense sorrow and unhappiness caused by the loss of a loved one, especially by death or other life changing events such as divorce and termination from work among others. According to psychologists, there is no universal way of expressing grief, as everyone’s experience is influenced by factors such as personal values, cultural background, family setting, life experiences, and inherent beliefs among others (Giannopoulou, Bitsakou, Ralli, Chatzis, & Papadatou, 2018). For example, talking about death is often treated as a taboo element in most societies.

This makes it hard for some people to recover from the trauma of experiencing the death of a family member or close friend because they tend to internalize the whole experience. Grief counseling is a form of therapy, which helps people deal with different forms of responses when they experience loss (Giannopoulou et al., 2018). According to psychologists, dealing with death of a loved one often has spiritual, emotional, physical, and social effects on people. Some of the notable signs of someone experiencing grief include withdrawal, crying, anger, as well as feelings of helplessness and regret (Enns, 2018). Most people consider it appropriate, when a grieving person holds him or herself from crying. Grief becomes a counseling issue in situations where the grieving process faces interruptions that leave several crucial elements unresolved for a prolonged period.

Discussion

Grief counseling is very important, especially to people that are often overwhelmed by loss that disables their coping process. One advantage of grief counseling is the fact that it helps one to express his or her emotions, as well as the reasons for feeling sad, lonely, and isolated following a loss (Worden, 2018). Through counseling, a grieving person is empowered to think consciously through the loss they are experiencing, the possible changes and challenges that might follow, as well as viable copping mechanisms they can apply. Psychologists also argue that grief counseling is necessary for people that suffer from anticipatory grief (Worden, 2018). This often happens to someone who has a loved one going through an experience such as a terminal illness that easily result in death. Such people are highly vulnerable to suffering health conditions such as depression because the daily exposure to the suffering of a loved one and their inevitable death can be too overwhelming. Psychologists argue that whenever someone starts to feel guilty and helpless over a situation they have little or no control over, then the time is right for them to seek professional help from a grief counselor (Enns, 2018).

Another advantage of grief counseling is that it helps people to accept their loss by finding comfort in positive memories (Giannopoulou et al., 2018). For example, counseling can be done in a group setting, where people going through a certain type of grief come together and share their experiences. This plays a pivotal role in creating a safe environment for someone to work through their feelings because they are able to recognize that their situation is not only unique to them, as others are experiencing it too (Winokuer & Harris, 2015). Counseling acts as a validation of feelings about a loss and the encouragement that their still a space where their expression of grief will not be judged or misunderstood. Group counseling is pivotal in helping grieving persons to lessen their sense of isolation because it allows people to exchange information that is relevant with regard to managing a loss (Rich, 2017).

The five stages of grief according to the Kubler-Ross theory are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance (Enns, 2018). One of the objectives of grief counseling is getting an individual to the last and most important stage of the process where someone accepts the reality of the loss they experienced. The main principle applied in the process is the need to let an individual take as much time as they may need before progressing from one state to the next (Winokuer & Harris, 2015). The main reason for this is the fact that in some people, certain elements of grieve are postponed and tend to surface unexpectedly when they ought to be edging close to the acceptance stage. Therefore, it is important for a counselor to allow a patient to grieve in his or her own way because everyone responds to loss in a different manner (Giannopoulou et al., 2018). A grief counseling session is deemed successful if a counselor manages to help a grieved person to move on from a loss. Psychologists argue that the ability to convince a grieving person that they can be happy again is often very fulfilling because they know that someone has embraced positivity in life (Worden, 2018).

Grief counseling is very important and people need in the contemporary world. Today’s world is highly diverse and complicated with regard to the way people handle various situations in life. This phenomenon has been necessitated by the emergence of technologies such as social networking sites, which have made communication and sharing of information a lot easier (Rich, 2017). However, challenges associated such technologies such as cyber bullying can have a negative effect on the ability of a grieving individual to manage his or her loss effectively.

This is because if one chooses to share a grieving moment with friends on social networking sites, there is a certain percentage who will not offer the necessary support while others tend to respond in insensitive ways. It is important to understand that grieving is a personal process, whose needs are determined by factors such as the magnitude of a loss, familiar copping mechanisms, as well as the existing support system (Rich, 2017). The value of grief counselors in the whole process is felt the most when an individual needs to establish the level of support needed in order to regain a sense of peace and normalcy. Counselors can help their societies in dealing with grief through awareness creation programs and creating support groups through which people dealing with various forms of loss can identify with and express their emotions with ease (Winokuer & Harris, 2015).

Conclusion

One of the inevitable challenges that people have to deal with at some point in life is the intense sorrow caused by loss of a loved one or something that meant so much to them such as marriage or a job. Although grieving is a personal process, some people tend to take longer adjusting and moving on to the extent of requiring the services of a professional therapist. Grief counselors play a pivotal role in helping individuals dealing with a loss to reach a point of accepting their situation and moving on. Overcoming grief requires one to have a strong support system, effective copping mechanisms, as well as a free and save environment in which one can express his or her emotions without the fear of being judged. Grief counselors can be of great help to societies in terms of dealing with grief by engaging people in awareness creation programs and support groups. This would play a pivotal role in helping people to have the psychological preparedness of dealing with a loss.

References

Enns, V. (2018). Counseling insights: Practical strategies for helping others with anxiety, trauma, grief, and more. New York, NY: ACHIEVE Publishing.

Giannopoulou, I., Bitsakou, P., Ralli, E., Chatzis, F., & Papadatou, D. (2018). Addressing cultural issues in grief counseling with immigrants: The case of a bereaved Filipino family following homicide. The European Journal of Counseling Psychology, 7(1).

Rich, P. (2017). Grief counseling homework planner. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Winokuer, H.R., & Harris, D. (2015). Principles and practice of grief counseling, Second Edition. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.

Worden, J.W. (2018). Grief counseling and grief therapy, Fifth Edition: A handbook for the mental health practitioner. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.

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IvyPanda. "Mental Health and Grief Counseling Issues." August 2, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/mental-health-and-grief-counseling-issues/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Mental Health and Grief Counseling Issues." August 2, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/mental-health-and-grief-counseling-issues/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Mental Health and Grief Counseling Issues'. 2 August.

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