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Grief Therapy in Brooklyn: What to Know

woman experiencing grief

Grief is something everyone will experience at some point. There is no way to prevent the events that cause it, but there is therapy available to support the healing process.

Key Takeaways:

  • Grief therapy helps you process a significant loss in a healthy way
  • Common types of grief therapy include CBT, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and group therapy
  • Brooklyn has many great sources of grief counseling

Grief is defined as a feeling of loss, sadness, and uncertainty following a traumatic event, such as the death of a loved one.

Grief does not make you weak. Grief is a byproduct of love, and one cannot exist without the other. But that doesn't mean it can't affect our mental health in a negative way. When grief starts to affect our daily lives beyond a healthy level, guidance from a licensed therapist can help clear the fog and start the healing process.

 

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Let's explore how grief therapy works and how you can find it here in Brooklyn, NY.

Grief Therapy Resources On This Page:

How does therapy for grief work?

What therapeutic approach is best for grief?

Is a grief counselor the same as a therapist?

Is grief counseling worth it?

Grief Counseling at Williamsburg Therapy Group

How does therapy for grief work?

Grief therapy, or "grief counseling," is a specialized form of talk therapy centered on the event that caused the grief, such as the death of a loved one, and how the patient's emotional and thought processes are interpreting the event.

A grief therapist helps you navigate the feelings associated with traumatic events. Contained within grief is a complicated network of other emotions that can be hard to pin down, such as:

  • Hopelessness
  • Guilt
  • Embarrassment
  • Relief
  • In some cases, happiness

A grief counselor will work with you to define and explain the range of emotions you're feeling during the grieving process.

Many people struggle with thinking that they don't have the "correct" feelings when a loved one dies. A grief counselor can help you understand why you are feeling the way you are and show you that no emotion is "incorrect."

A grief counselor can also help you establish coping strategies for grief during a course of sessions, both to aid in the healing process and to provide comfort during the healing process.

What therapeutic approach is best for grief?

The most common form of grief therapy utilizes cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT. The best method for one patient, however, may not be the best for another.

You may respond better to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) or even grief therapy in a group setting. Your therapist will work with you to determine which treatment is best for you. Many times, a combination of therapies is used in order to maximize the healing process.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Grief

Cognitive behavior therapy uses a few key practices in order to help you heal from grief, including:

  • Cognitive restructuring, or analyzing and working to change unhealthy thought processes
  • Guided discovery, where the therapist will challenge your existing beliefs about your situation and guide to a series of realizations
  • Out-of-session activities, like journaling or stress-reduction techniques

CBT is one of the most effective and widely used forms of therapy, which is why it is often used for people suffering from grief. Some patients, however, may be better accommodated by other forms of therapy.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Grief

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, or ACT, is a behavioral therapy that focuses on the acceptance of one's emotional state and the commitment to changing behaviors and emotions down the line.

Many people experiencing grief find themselves in denial of their feelings. These people can have trouble with traditional CBT because of a number of reasons, including:

  • Feeling like they don't have the "right" to feel sad about a death
  • Wanting to be strong, many times because they are the "rock" of the family or friend group.
  • Having past trauma that may be blocking emotional responses
  • Feeling societal pressure to "toughen up"

A grief counselor may suggest that these people try ACT in order to take the first step toward healing, which is to admit that they have problems with processing grief in the first place.

Complicated Grief Therapy

Complicated grief therapy, or CGT, is another offshoot of behavioral therapies that focuses on people with complicated grief disorder, defined as deep, prolonged symptoms long after the traumatic event took place.

Complicated grief looks a lot like chronic depression but is different in its cause. In about 85% of grief cases, patients successfully move from acute grief (a loved one died yesterday and the pain is brand new) to integrated grief. Grief never truly disappears, but it can become a healthy and stable part of your psyche with minimal effects on your day-to-day life.

In 15% of grief counseling cases, though, this change from acute to integrated grief never happens. The patient's acute grief lingers and becomes prolonged grief, still highly painful but chronic in its duration.

Therapy for complicated grief involves discovering why the transition never took place and how the patient can begin the process of integrating their grief.

Group Therapy For Grief

Grief is, by nature, a social process. We love someone or something, and when we lose it, we feel pain and sadness. It's easy to let grief make you feel alone, but the reality is that you are not.

Group therapy sessions for grief related to losing a loved one, also called bereavement groups, exist to give those going through grief a safe place to express their feelings and accept advice, feedback, or support from other people in the grieving process.

Bereavement groups may help people who are feeling grief but who are not responding to individual therapy or who simply feel more comfortable and productive in a group setting.

Is a grief counselor the same as a therapist?

Most therapists can act as grief counselors, but there are also therapists whose only job is to help people deal with their grief.

There are many levels of grief therapists, depending on their level of education or where they practice, including:

  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker
  • Licensed Professional Counselor
  • School Psychologists or Social Worker
  • Licensed Psychologist

A licensed clinical social worker is one of the most common types of therapists, but many people elect to work with a doctoral-level psychologist in order to get the most individualized treatment possible.

A grief counselor can be any of the above personnel. When looking for professional help, the most important thing is how well you and a given therapist get along. While a psychologist in general may be more educated, you might find a specific licensed clinical social worker who seems to understand your grief particularly well.

Is grief counseling worth it?

At the very least, grief counseling gives you permission to grieve. This can be an extremely important part of the healing process, especially since many people attempt to bottle up their grief and "keep moving."

If you have suffered a significant loss and you feel as though therapy may help, you should begin your search for a grief counselor as soon as possible.

Grief Counseling at Williamsburg Therapy Group

The psychologists at Williamsburg Therapy Group have decades of experience in treating Brooklyn locals suffering from grief. We've made it part of our commitment to be on hand when one of our neighbors suffers a significant loss.

Give us a call to get matched with a grief counselor, or book an appointment online.

 

Book a Therapy Session in NYC or Austin Today

 

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