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Has anyone had grief/bereavement counselling?(14 Posts)
I lost my dad 7 weeks ago and I’m really struggling. I ran on adrenaline I think for the first few weeks, but now I’ve really hit a wall and I’m struggling to function properly and having regular panic attacks. My GP has prescribed me some antidepressants and recommended I self refer for some counselling. There’s a choice of general counselling or some places offering specific grief or bereavement counselling - what should I expect from this? I’ve had CBT type stuff before and didn’t find it helped hugely if I’m honest, so wondering if the specific one would be better? Thanks.
Sorry to hear about your Dad. I lost my mum to pancreatic cancer in Jan 2020. I had some bereavement counselling but felt it was just the councillor letting me talk. It helped to get my feelings off my chest and cry but no more than crying to my husband! Have you looked at the charity Cruse. They help people who are grieving, they may be able to advise. Hope you are ok xx
I saw a counsellor from Cruse for a year after my mum died. A lot of it was me just having space to talk and cry with someone who was unconnected to the family and wouldn’t think badly of whatever I said. I found it really helpful.
Sorry for your loss.
Thanks both. Cruse is one on the list that my GP emailed me, so I’ll give them a call I think.
I went to a bereavement counsellor after my husband died. I think I went too soon after he passed . It felt like I was rehashing his last two weeks on this earth which I really wanted to forget.
I think it's about finding the right match in the counsellor as well. The one I saw was really nice and good at what she did but she reminded me too much of myself. Same age and had a physical resemblance to me and used the same mannerisms. I felt like I was looking at a happier version of me and at that time I didn't think I'd ever feel happy again. It felt as if I was being taunted on some level. But I wasn't thinking straight and I can recognise that now. I just felt the world was against me.
One session, it was awful. The counsellor kept saying oh you must feel this, that the other when I didn't feel any of that. It was as if I had to have those feelings and felt guilty that I didn't. It was a complex situation and the counsellor didn't really understand it. I blocked her number and never spoke to her again as she made it worse.
OP - what is it that you want the counselor to help you with?
I'm very sorry for your loss.
IME it's important to find an experienced psychologist who specifically states that they deal with grief and bereavement.
Do "shop around"
It's worth it. My psychologist is incredibly helpful. Previous counsellors were bloody useless.
I woke up, with huge anxiety and flashbacks, at three in the morning on the night after my husband's funeral and I just knew I wouldn't be able to cope with this on my own. I read the entire Cruise website that night and about what the NHS might offer and found nothing that I thought would do.
He took nine days to die from the day I was told it was likely and I spent all of those days and nights at his side
So I went to the BACP website, somewhere I trusted and found all the people in my immediate area (I didn't want to travel to my nearest city as I thought I'd just want to bolt home as soon as possible). I chose the person who sounded most likely to help from her description of herself and I was lucky.
I really feel that without finding help the traumatic consequences would have become entrenched, I was unable to think of any of the good times with my husband, I couldn't think of him at all without panicking and feeling that I had handled things wrongly.
I think bereavement counselling is a good thing, but I also think very many people, as I did, need trauma counselling first.
Wishing you every good thing @40somethingJBJ, I take antidepressants as a result too. I also paid for my counselling, I know I am privileged to be able to do so, but if there's any way you can afford it, I think it's better than waiting especially as you are really struggling
Sorry about your dad. 7 weeks isn't very long, so give yourself a break - every emotion is normal, I'm afraid.
I've had 3 big bereavements in the last couple of years. I didn't get on well with counselling. But it was too soon. And I think I was hoping they might fix me. The only thing that helped was time.
Thanks everyone. In answer to a pp question, I’m not really sure what I want. All I know is I’m not sleeping and I can’t get the image of how my dad was when I found him out of my head. I’m just a bloody mess at the minute! I’m trying to keep myself busy planning my kitchen refit, reading, just doing anything, but the second I’m alone with my thoughts, I can’t relax. I’m exhausted.
I was a Cruse bereavement counsellor for ten years and I’m sorry if some of you didn’t get the help you needed.
If your grief is stopping you from partly engaging in your day, ie you can’t eat, or you don’t want to see anyone , or you can’t even get out of bed, then it might be good to see a counsellor.
Don’t forget that crying is good..the tears are the healing for the hurt that has already happened, especially if you get triggered by all kinds of things.
One man I saw went into m and s and there was the skirt he had just bought his wife before she suddenly died.
He ran out in years.
It’s the little things that are the straw that breaks the came
It’s ok to say you didn’t bel with a certain counsellor, could you try someone else
OP - the reason I asked what you needed the counsellor to help you with, is that it may be more beneficial to get help from a different source as it can be very difficult to find the right counsellor.
Grief is a natural (though devastating) part of life that usually doesn't need medicating.
Don't try to shut out your thoughts with busyness, make them part of the healing process. I really recommend mindfulness to help you cope with intrusive thoughts. Doing something like a body scan (on YouTube) in bed might help you get to sleep.
When the images of how your dad was when you found him come into your mind, honour him by gently replacing them with images of happier times - I'm sure you have hundreds.
I'm afraid that when I had a counselling session with someone from Cruse, she fell asleep whilst I was recounting the awful situation around the death of my mother. I was appalled.
Obviously I never went again. I don't care she apologised. I just talked to a friend about it all, over and over. I was lucky I knew someone who understood. I was fine in the end.