Grief Support

Grief is a powerful emotion, and its effects are often debilitating. Following the loss of a loved one, grief begins to envelop a bereaved person, and it can take on various shapes and forms. While grief is a normal, even healthy, response to loss, it sometimes affects every aspect of a person’s health and dignity. Friends and family members, too, can suffer from a loved one’s grief. 

Thankfully, there is hope in overcoming grief. Grief support can help those suffering from grief to pick up the pieces and find a silver lining in life. Licensed therapists work with clients individually or in small groups to help them work through the grief process. Families also have the opportunity to be involved in the process to support their loved one. Children and adults alike can benefit from grief support.


What is Grief Support?

Grief support is the process of helping an individual grieve in a healthy manner following the death of a loved one. Those who are dealing with grief meet with a counselor, small group, or their family and friends in order to tell stories and share their experiences. Grief support services cater to the individual, so they can have a safe place to talk about their anger and sadness, while also learning how to make their negative emotions more positive.

  • Grief Support Guide
    How to Support a Grieving Person
    List of 20 helpful tips and techniques for how to offer emotional support to a grieving person.
  • View the Guide

The decision to enter grief support group may not be easy, often because those who are grieving may not recognize that they need help. The following are questions to ask yourself that can help you decide if you need support from a group, counselor, or loved one:

  • Have you been feeling angry, irritable, or intolerant?
  • Do you feel numb, or have a sense that you are isolated from others?
  • Have you been experiencing heightened anxiety that is beginning to affect your relationships?
  • Since your loved one passed, have you become preoccupied with thoughts of your own death?
  • Are you engaging in harmful and reckless behaviors?
  • Do you sometimes wonder if you are going crazy, or like you will never be able to overcome your grief?
  • Are you afraid of becoming close to new people out of fear of losing them?

Most people experience some or all of these emotions to various degrees during bereavement. However, if these feelings become heightened and prolonged, it may be time for you to consider grief support. Fortunately, there are many options of grief support to choose from.

Recent Grief Support Articles

Want more information on how to console a bereaved person? Read all of our grief support articles.

Learn more about the stages of grief and how to provide support to a grieving person.

Grief Support Topics

Grief is a normal and natural response to loss. Everyone experiences loss and grief at some point in their life. The more significant the loss, the more intense the grief and bereavement is likely to be. As you deal with your loss, remember that there is no order or timetable for grief. Everyone grieves differently, but there are healthy ways to cope and heal from the pain. The following are the most common forms of loss and topics related to grief. Select a topic below to learn more about grief support.

Death of a Child

Articles on how to cope with the loss of an unborn baby, infant or child.

Death of a Sibling

Articles on how to cope with the loss of a brother or sister.

Depression and Anxiety

Articles on how grief can transform into clinical depression and anxiety.

Death of a Parent

Articles on how to cope with the loss of a parent or grandparent.

Death of a Spouse

Articles on how to cope with the loss of your husband or wife.

Faith and Spirituality

Articles on how faith and spirituality can assist with grief recovery.

Death of a Pet

Articles on how to cope with the loss of your dog, cat, fish, bird, or other pet.

Other Losses

Articles on the death of a friend, coworker, and losses not covered in the other topics.

Holidays and Special Days

Articles on grief associated with holidays, birthdays and other special days.

Grief Support Option 1: Counseling

Counseling is the most traditional method of receiving grief support, and the results work wonders. If you have recently experienced a loss, individual grief counseling may be exactly what you need to regain your life and dignity. Licensed grief counselors specialize in providing grief and bereavement resources to clients and their families as they aim to overcome the grief process. Your counselor will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan, which can then be passed on to family and friends to help support you outside of meetings.

Everyone reacts differently to grief, and grief counselors recognize this. Certain types of grief, such as an ambiguous loss without closure, can benefit from counseling. A session with a grief counselor can provide you with a safe environment to navigate these strong emotions in a positive manner. Individual grief counseling often works best in the early stages of grief, when a person feels most vulnerable, and may be uncomfortable about sharing their anger and sadness in public. Individual grief counseling provides a safe place for the client to cry, yell, and talk through confusing emotions about their loved one’s passing.

Many counseling centers also have online resources for clients whom are unable to physically see a counselor. In addition, counseling centers may offer special events for those suffering from specific kinds of grief. Of course, these resources cannot replace individual counseling, which is personal and powerful.


Grief Support Option 2: Support Groups

Grief is a powerful emotion to try to navigate alone, and joining a grief support group can help someone overcome this barrier. Support groups come in all sizes, and are open to everyone from adults to children, and even family members of the bereaved. Counseling centers run these groups, and they are found all over the country.

A licensed counselor acts as the leader of grief support groups, giving general guidelines and facilitating discussion. After introductions, each member of the group takes turns telling stories and sharing their experiences with grief. The counselor will often intervene to give input and educate the group on the grief process. All group meetings are strictly confidential, and everything said in the group stays in the group.

There are many support groups available, so it is important to find a support group that fits your needs. It is important to find a group with a facilitator who has had ample experience leading support groups. If you are experiencing a specific type of grief, such as the loss of a child, see if you can find a group specifically for surviving parents. Support groups provide a nurturing environment for sufferers, and anyone experiencing grief is encouraged to attend.


Grief Support Option 3: Family and Friends

The closest form of grief support one can receive is support from friends and family. Those suffering from grief will often turn to family and friends in the early stages for comfort and support. While most friends and family members are often happy to help, the process can be challenging for them and different support should be given to people of different ages. Many might not know what to do or say to help the person, while others might feel like they are intruding. Friends and family should not let discomfort impede their ability to comfort their loved one. Here is how they can help:

  • Recognize there are different experiences of grief. Everyone grieves differently and for different time periods. Since there is no set timetable for grief, friends and family should be encouraging always, and avoid telling the bereaved when they “should” be feeling better.
  • Recognize the extremity of grief. Some people with grief might scream, yell, cry for hours, or lose their temper with others. Friends and family should remember to be patient with the bereaved, and not take their behavior personally.

After the death of a loved one, everyone needs someone to lend a helping hand. Don’t grieve alone-join a support group, see a counselor, or talk to your family and friends. Just talking your grief out with someone releases negative energy and helps guide your emotions, helping you find support you didn’t realize you needed, and helping you recover more quickly.

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