Bereavement and Loss

The death of a loved one can be devastating. Coping with the loss of someone or something you love is one of life’s biggest challenges. Often, the pain of loss can feel overwhelming. You may experience all kinds of difficult and unexpected emotions, from shock or anger to disbelief, guilt, and profound sadness. These feelings are all perfectly normal, and don’t make you a bad person. It’s OK to be angry and to question “why”.

The death of a pet will often mean the loss of a cherished family member and can trigger great sorrow. People love their pets and consider them members of their family. So, when your beloved pet dies, it’s not unusual to feel overwhelmed by the intensity of your sorrow. Animals provide companionship, acceptance, emotional support, and unconditional love during the time they share with you. Other people may find it hard to understand such a reaction to what they may see as the loss of “just an animal,” and they may, therefore, be less understanding of your grief. However, your loss is significant, and you should give yourself permission to mourn the passing of your beloved pet.

The pain of grief can also disrupt your physical health, making it difficult to sleep, eat, or even think straight. These are normal reactions to significant loss. But while there is no right or wrong way to grieve, there are healthy ways to cope with the pain that, in time, can ease your sadness and help you come to terms with your loss, find new meaning, and move on with your life.

How you grieve depends on many factors, including your personality and coping style, your life experience, your faith, and how significant the loss was to you. Inevitably, the grieving process takes time. Healing happens gradually, it can’t be forced or hurried, and there is no ‘normal’ timetable for grieving. Some people start to feel better in weeks or months. For others, the grieving process is measured in years. Whatever your grief experience, it’s important to be patient with yourself and allow the process to unfold naturally.

Powerful feelings can come unexpectedly. It’s like waves on a beach. You can be standing in water up to your knees and feel you can cope, then suddenly a big wave comes and knocks you off your feet.

Some people may experience behavioural issues such as crying withdrawal, over-reacting to situations, or impaired work performance. You may even find yourself avoiding reminders of the deceased – anniversaries and special occasions can be especially difficult to cope with.

Your grief might feel chaotic and out of control sometimes, but these feelings will eventually become less intense. Talking and sharing your feelings with someone can help. For some people, relying on family and friends is the best way to cope. But if you don’t feel like you can talk to them much – perhaps you aren’t close, or they’re grieving too? That’s why bereavement therapy allows you time and space to talk freely about your feelings, including the person who has died, your relationship, family, work, fears and the future. It might be that the person you have lost, died a long time ago.

Don’t be afraid to talk about the person who has died. People in your life might not mention their name because they don’t want to upset you. But if you feel that you can’t talk to them, it can make you feel isolated.

Each bereavement is unique, and you can’t tell how long it will last. You don’t have to go through this process alone though.

Our Approach

We have been trained to use a variety of models and approaches that can be used autonomously with clients as is felt to fit best with the presenting issue at the time. Often the main approaches used are the Person-Centred approach, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Psychodynamic.

Please note that Take A Step Counselling Service is not an emergency service.

Emergency Contacts:

If you are feeling distressed or suicidal, there are services available to help you immediately. If you feel at risk of harm to yourself, or if you are concerned about someone else, please go to your nearest hospital or call the emergency services on 999.

Other contacts:

General Practitioner: Request an emergency appointment. If you are not registered with a doctor in your area, you can attend your nearest NHS Walk-in Centre or contact the NHS Out of Hours Medical Service on 111, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.

Samaritans: Help for suicidal thoughts –

If you’re feeling like you want to die, it’s important to tell someone.

Help and support is available right now if you need it. You don’t have to struggle with difficult feelings alone.

Phone a helpline.

These FREE helplines are there to help when you’re feeling down or desperate. Call 116 123.

Take A Step is a member of HiCLG