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How Therapy Can Help You Cope With Grief: Advice from a Therapist

Angela Paoli
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a woman at a therapy session for grief
As a therapist, I've seen firsthand how profoundly the death of a loved one can impact your life.

Luckily, counseling can potentially help you cope with grief. Online therapy services, in particular, have revolutionized access to mental health support—and those who utilize them can possibly see a significant improvement in their ability to cope with daily life.

Therapists who specialize in grief counseling can provide comfort and guidance through this deeply personal and challenging journey.

However, there's no "correct" way to grieve; each person's path is distinct and valid. So, I'll share my personal and professional experience in treating patients to help you make a more informed decision on what you need to cope with grief.

» Need specialized help? Check out our top picks for the best online therapy services for depression.

Therapeutic Approaches for Grief

When you're faced with the heavy weight of grief, it's crucial to find the proper support to guide you through the mourning and healing process.

Complicated Grief Therapy (CGT)

CGT is a specialized treatment approach for grief. It involves a type of exposure therapy where you repeatedly "relive" the story of your loved one's passing to process and express your emotions.

However, this can be quite an emotionally draining experience for patients and typically requires highly specialized and trained psychologists.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Online CBT services like Online-Therapy.com employ this approach to help grieving patients identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors. This can be especially useful for addressing self-critical or harmful thoughts that grieving patients with depression may have.

Group Therapy

Group therapy is a safe space where you can share your experiences and learn from others who've faced similar losses. This experience can facilitate a sense of community and, potentially, collective healing.

How Online Therapy Could Help You

Engaging in grief therapy can significantly contribute to emotional healing and building resilience. Helping you find ways to move forward with life and rediscover meaning after a loss is one of the ways how online therapy can work.

From my experience, grief-focused sessions can be emotionally intense, but this is entirely normal. So, I aim to educate my patients about the stages of grief—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance—and validate their experiences and emotions.

I delve into coping strategies, discuss grief rituals, and find healthy ways to remember the person you lost. This can also help you recognize and address unresolved issues related to your loss.

The tools for coping with grief I usually recommend include:

  • Journaling
  • Creating a memory box
  • Attending support groups
  • Building online support networks
  • Establishing a grief ritual
  • Using positive affirmations

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Should You Consider Grief Therapy?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends counseling as one way to help cope with grief. But it's normal to have concerns about starting grief therapy, especially when dealing with profound loss. So, if you're contemplating treatment but have reservations, it's essential to acknowledge your feelings.

Remember that if you don't seek help of any sort, you might not be adequately equipped to manage depression triggers. So, consider how therapy could positively help you heal. Alternatively, you can even try free resources for coping with depression and grief.

However, you should also set realistic expectations. Know that it's not a quick fix, whether you're handling it on your own or with the assistance of a therapist. It's also essential to build a support network, allow yourself to feel your emotions, and permit yourself to seek help.

Mental Health Tips for Grieving Patients

I've had the privilege of helping many clients navigate and heal from grief.

My patients often tend to isolate themselves for an extended period because their emotions can be incredibly intense and overwhelming. That's why I believe it's important to engage in therapy since it provides you with a safe space to explore your feelings and start the healing process.

Allow yourself the grace to experience grief while nurturing your well-being as well. I've found that self-care and wellness activities also help to ground you and manage the intensity of your emotions. Consider integrating relaxing activities like short walks, meditation, or yoga into your daily routine.

However, consult with your physician before making drastic changes in your life. They can advise you on the appropriate treatment plan and coordinate with your therapist in case medication is necessary.

» Learn more about our top choices for the best online psychiatry services for prescriptions.

Grief Therapy: Embrace Support

Remember, taking the step to engage in therapy is a courageous act of self-care, even in the face of immense personal loss. Online services can make it easier to connect with experienced therapists specializing in grief from the comfort of your home.

If you're facing a critical mental health crisis, consider using the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline for urgent support.

Angela Paoli
Angela Paoli writes for Top10.com and is currently works as a tele-health Therapist Associate providing evidence-based treatments to diverse individuals who are experiencing anxiety, depression, PTSD, bipolar, insomnia, ADHD, etc. She holds a Master’s degree in Social Work and has over a decade of experience working as a licensed social worker and online therapist. She specializes in providing mental health services to US military members and their families.

The author of this article has been paid by Natural Intelligence to write this article. Neither the author nor Natural Intelligence provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or your local emergency number immediately.