Grief Counseling Chicago

Grief Therapy Chicago

Grief Counseling Chicago

Grief counseling is a type of therapy that assists individuals in coping with the emotional, psychological, and physical consequences of grief. Grief counseling can be done individually or in groups, and should be provided by a licensed mental health professional such as a psychologist, social worker, or counselor. Although grief is a shared human experience and a natural reaction to loss, it does not come with an instruction manual or an expiration date, often leaving those grieving to feel overwhelmed and scared in the process. Grief counseling can provide support through the pain and suffering associated with loss, while simultaneously providing guidance in your attempts to feel whole again. 

What is grief?

Grief is a strong and oftentimes overwhelming emotion for people, regardless of the type of loss experienced. Some examples of loss include the death of a loved one, the ending of an important relationship, job loss, loss through theft, a major life transition, or the loss of independence. Most of us think of grief as happening in the painful period directly following a specific loss, but grief can accompany any event that disrupts or challenges our sense of normalcy or ourselves. Grief is often accompanied by depression, anxiety and trauma, all of which can also be addressed in grief therapy.

Come see a grief therapist us our Chicago counseling office which is conveniently located on Michigan Avenue near Millenium Park. There are many nearby parking options and we are a few blocks walk from the state/lake CTA red line stop.

If the office is not close to you, we can easily see you via teletherapy as we do for many clients in Illinois.

What are the different types of grief we address in grief counseling?

Anticipatory grief

Anticipatory grief involves grieving before the actual loss. For example, you may begin grieving when you learn that you or a loved one has a terminal illness. 

Abbreviated grief

Sometimes, you’re able to move through the grieving process quickly. This is often called abbreviated grief. Oftentimes abbreviated grief will follow anticipatory grief, but not always. When it comes to grief, we’re all on different timelines.

Delayed grief

Instead of experiencing the emotions that accompany grief immediately after a loss, you feel them days, weeks or even months later. 

Inhibited Grief

Inhibited grief involves repressing emotions. Most of us haven’t been taught how to process the complicated emotions that can accompany grief. As a result, many people who repress their emotions don’t realize they’re doing so. 

Cumulative grief

With cumulative grief, you’re working through multiple losses at once, which simultaneously makes the process even more difficult and more complex in unexpected ways.

Collective grief

Most of us think of grief as personal, but collectives (groups) can grieve, too. Major events like wars, natural disasters, school shootings and pandemics create far-reaching losses and change what counts as “normal” life. 

Grief Counseling: the different stages of grief

Grief is often described in stages, and acknowledging that you may experience some or all of these stages will help you understand what may be happening at any given time. The five general stages of grief, as described by Elisabeth

Denial

Denial is an experience of numbness and/or having difficulty accepting that a loss is real. 

Anger

Anger oftentimes occurs the result of a loss as a reaction to the loss feeling cruel or unfair. This anger can be directed at multiple sources, including people you know, people you don’t know, God, or yourself

Bargaining

When we are in pain, it is often hard to accept that there is nothing we can do to change what has happened. Bargaining can occur in many forms, but is usually rooted in attempting to undo the circumstances of a loss or asking for a redo in hopes of different outcomes.

Depression

You may experience the complex emotions associated with depression, including but not limited to sadness, tearfulness, changes in appetite, disturbed sleep, hopelessness, and isolation. 

Acceptance

Eventually, most people acknowledge the reality of loss even if the pain is still there.

Please note though that there is no typical loss and no typical grief. People will not go through all of the stages of grief at the same pace, or in the same order.  

How does grief impact our lives?

People who experience grief will experience a wide range of emotional, psychological, and physical symptoms, such as:

  • Misplaced anger 
  • Increased fear 
  • Hopelessness or helplessness
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities 
  • Pain/aches in parts of the body you did not hurt
  • Intense sadness or tearfulness
  • Difficulty concentrating or staying on task
  • Increased feelings of guilt 
  • Ruminative thoughts about the loss (or other experiences of loss)

When grieving, it is important that what used to feel normal may not feel normal anymore. We often regain a sense of normalcy and stability after some time, but some grief takes longer than others to process and that varies person to person. It’s important to remember that at some point, it will get better. And you may not get over your loss, but you will survive it.

How can grief counseling help?

While everyone grieves in different ways, there are signs that would indicate that seeking support in the form of grief therapy would be the best solution. The grief process will look different amongst individuals, but the distress tends to feel the same. Signs that grief counseling would be helpful include:

  1. Increasing and/or persistent sadness or hopelessness that impairs daily functioning (i.e., work, relationships, or self-care).
  2. Increasing and/or persistent physical symptoms that impairs daily functioning (i.e., significant changes in appetite, sleep disturbance, or memory loss). 
  3. Increasing and/or persistent anger or guilt that feels overwhelming or unmanageable. 
  4. Increasing and/or persistent experiences of isolation or feeling disconnected from loved ones. 

Grief counseling exists so that you do not have to do this alone. Grief counseling offers a supportive and empathic environment to navigate the emotional complexities that come with loss, as well as guide you through the terrain that each stage of grief brings. 

Grief Resources

  1. Therapy– individual, group, or family grief counseling 
  2. Support Groups with peers who are also grieving 
  3. Faith-Based Groups facilitated by religious leaders who you draw solace from
  4. Community, friends, family, or other loved ones to combat the isolation grief elicits 
  5. Grief centers (can be found on https://healgrief.org/grief-support-resources/

Grief Counseling

Most of Cityscape Counseling’s therapists specialize in the treatment of grief, loss and bereavement.