NYC Grief Counseling

Grief is a natural part of the human experience.


NYC Grief Counseling

Grief is a natural part of the human experience. Most everyone has lost a loved one, a friend, or a beloved pet. There is no set period where grief will take hold and then disappear. Some people find themselves recovering from grief within a few days. Others spend years never truly overcoming their loss.

Seeking out bereavement support groups in NYC can be helpful. Sharing your emotions with others who have gone through similar feelings can be cathartic. In other cases, formal grief counseling can be beneficial.

If you are dealing with grief, there is value in searching for professional grief counseling in NYC.

How Grief Therapy Helps with Loss

Grief is a multifaceted issue. Most people naturally associate grief with death. It is true that grief often results from the death of someone close to us. However, there are countless other sources of grief.

Grief and loss can come from losing a job, a broken relationship, or being diagnosed with a life-altering disease. Regardless of the cause, grief can often feel debilitating.

People often speak about working through their emotions when confronting grief. What they mean is unpacking that emotional baggage, facing it, sitting with it and learning to cope with it. Grief counseling is not about suppressing or avoiding your feelings but coming to terms with them.

The power of grief therapy is working through your emotions with the support of a professional. A grief counselor often utilizes psychotherapeutic techniques to help you deal with the natural grief experienced with loss with the aim of moving toward acceptance.

Seeking out professional help for grief is eventually about working on letting go and reframing the loss. Again, it is not about suppression or forgetting.

For example, your therapist may help you reframe those intense feelings of loss by allowing your mind to focus on something other than unhelpful thoughts and looking at what you remember fondly about that person.

In other words, by learning to accept that loss, you focus on the good times and what made that person or time of your life special.

Throughout one-on-one therapy sessions, you will have the opportunity to discuss any emotions or feelings you are experiencing as part of the grieving process. Grief counseling is there to help you restore normality in your life.

Nothing can make up for your loss, but therapy can empower you to move forward healthily.

The Five Stages of Grief

Your grief counselor will concentrate on where you are in the grieving process. The most common model is the five stages of grief.

There is no roadmap on how long it might take to negotiate the five stages of grief or how long you may remain in each stage. Everybody is different, but counseling can help if you get stuck.

Typically, most people seek treatment during the fourth stage of grief, “depression,” as it tends to be the most challenging step to overcome. However, you may also seek treatment far earlier. Sometimes the steps can come in any order.

Here’s what each stage of this model of grief means:

Step 1 - Denial

The first reaction to loss can be denial. Individuals may believe that a fatal diagnosis is mistaken, or they cling to a false reality. It is a temporary defense that people put up because they are having difficulty accepting the situation.

The most common symptom of someone in denial is isolating behaviors. In particular, people in denial will choose to separate themselves from those who have already accepted the reality.

Step 2 - Anger

With denial being the shortest stage, denial can quickly make way for anger. Individuals become frustrated and may lash out at anyone, from loved ones to medical professionals. They may even blame themselves or the victim for what is happening.

The anger stage can be incredibly challenging for those who already suffer from untreated anger issues.

Step 3 - Bargaining

The bargaining stage is an attempt to avoid grief. It often occurs when someone is experiencing bad news, and the loss has yet to happen. During this stage, people typically negotiate with fate or a higher power in an attempt to change the situation.

For example, if a loved one has been diagnosed with six months to live, they may begin to pray for more time. They may pledge to change their lives in exchange for a loved one gaining more time. Bargaining can be both a natural and a less than rational part of the grieving process.

Step 4 - Depression

Depression is the most challenging stage for most, regardless of whether they have experienced mental health issues in the past.

The depression stage leads to people experiencing frequent episodes of sadness, a lack of motivation, hopelessness and even isolation.

Note that this stage in the grieving process can potentially last for years. Most people seek professional counseling to help them work through the final step at this stage.

Step 5 - Acceptance

Acceptance is the stage where individuals have embraced mortality and a future without a loved one. These individuals have finally come to terms with what has happened and the road ahead.

A feeling of calmness and serenity characterizes it. Your counselor can help you break through to acceptance and move on with your life without the shadow of grief hanging over you.

Types of Grief Therapy

Grief therapy is one area of psychology that has been studied continuously over many generations. It is a constantly evolving branch of psychotherapy incorporating various techniques tailored to the person in question.

Everyone experiences grief differently, and no set roadmap is suitable for everybody. When searching for a grief therapist, you will come across different types of grief therapy in NYC, including in individual and couples’ grief counseling settings.

Let’s run through some of them.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy/Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most common approach therapists take in helping their patients confront and overcome their emotional pain. Therapists specializing in CBT seek to reduce the frequency and intensity of a client’s emotional episodes. In particular, it focuses on the suffering and self-defeating behaviors many people dealing with grief suffer with.

CBT focuses on four distinct areas, including:

  • Cognition – These are the things we think about when dealing with grief. Many people are experiencing unhelpful negative thoughts that prevent them from moving on and taking control of their lives.
  • Behaviors – Are you indulging in risky behaviors since experiencing loss? Perhaps your relationships are being strained due to your emotional state? CBT can help you understand and alter your negative behaviors before they become a permanent fixture in your life.
  • Emotions – How are you feeling? Some people express themselves too much, and others express themselves too little. CBT helps people release their emotions in a positive way.
  • Relationships – How is your grief impacting your relationships? The way people interact with others often changes when they’re going through grief. Loss usually strains relationships between family members and friends.

CBT is certainly not a cure-all, but it is the foundation of successful grief counseling. However, it is not the only type of grief therapy a counselor may employ.

Regular CBT sessions confront many aspects of life you may struggle with. Continuing CBT treatment can continue for as long as you need it and find it beneficial.

Every one of our patients is different, and you’ll receive the tailored treatment plan you require for confronting grief and loss. REBT is a form of CBT.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) came into being after CBT. ACT is often used to build on the progress made during CBT sessions.

The point of ACT is to empower you to learn how to drop the struggle you have with any negative thoughts you may have. Rather than trying to suppress or throw them away, ACT teaches you how to build distance between yourself and your emotions, thus allowing symptoms to decrease in time naturally.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical Behavior Therapy was initially developed to help individuals diagnosed with different personality disorders in order to help them with distress tolerance and emotional regulation. Subsequent studies have demonstrated that it can be effective in various settings.

These therapy sessions concentrate on one-on-one therapy, group training, consultations, and phone coaching. Five functions make up this form of treatment. They all concentrate on enhancing the patient’s capabilities, desire for change, and expressing those gains on a large scale.