Coming to terms with a loss can be a painful process. Grief is a normal reaction to a loss and it involves mental, physical and social responses. It can relate to a loss of a person (when the client is in the period of bereavement), but people can also grieve other major losses e.g. the loss of health or an important relationship. Everyone grieves in their own way. However, some common responses include intense feelings of sadness, despair, anxiety, bursts of anger and guilt. Some people experience emotional numbness. Physical reactions can include changes in sleeping and eating patterns, problems with concentration, diminished interest in enjoyable activities and sometimes even illness. When grief interferes with day-to-day life and it makes it hard for a person to function, counselling can be helpful. Prolonged grief disorder (PGD) is a separate mental health condition, for which treatment may include medication prescribed by a doctor as well as talking therapy.
10 ways therapy with Lisbon Counselling can help grieving clients
Creating safe, supportive and non-judgemental space for the client to share their feelings about their loss.
Counsellor’s empathic understand and active listening can help the client feel heard and to have their pain acknowledged. Holding a 'dual attunement' frame for the client, which provides both relational and neurobiological attunement.
Making space for pain and allowing the client to express it. Brainspotting (BSP) is a powerful brain-based psychotherapy method for accessing unprocessed material.
Creating space for re-living the memories and, when the client is ready, exploring ways to hold on to them as precious gifts and not a constant source of pain. Using BSP to help regulate client's nervous system and to find body resources.
Offering the grieving client counsellor’s compassion and unconditional acceptance. Modelling a genuinely caring and compassionate attitude can help the client become more gentle with themselves.
Keeping a brave face while suffering inside can cause additional psychological pain. In therapy, there is no need to uphold any ‘masks’ or present any attitudes. Instead, the therapist and the client work together to develop client's self-attunement.
Together with the counsellor, the client can explore ways of coping in difficult situations e.g. specific events that trigger painful memories.
Once the client has come to term with the loss and they are prepared to look ahead, the counsellor can support the client in exploring the future. What does it mean to client? What do they need to cope well with it? What resources within do they need?
Weekly counselling provides structure, creating a regular opportunity for a check-in with the therapist and an outlet for client’s pain.
The therapist can offer psychoeducation e.g. discussing stages of grief. Education and validation can help the client feel reassured that their experience is normal and offer hope of reaching the point of acceptance.
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I will aim to respond within 24hrs Monday - Friday. For mental health emergencies please contact your local health centre.
In-person sessions are available by prior arrangement at:
Nearest Metro stations: Avenida and Marquês de Pombal.