Your family has just suffered a loss. Maybe you and your siblings are reeling after the death of a parent, and your surviving parent is grappling with how to move forward. Perhaps you’ve lost a sibling, and as you try to navigate your own grief, you’re wondering how to support your parents.
No matter who you’ve lost, or what they meant to you, dealing with grief as a family is complicated. Others may be depending on you while you feel like breaking down. Alternatively, you might have conflicting feelings about the person you lost.
Grieving someone with whom you had a strained relationship with can feel fraught. If you’re unsure of how to handle situations like these, family grief counseling might be the right choice. Here’s how grief counseling could potentially benefit your entire family.
Therapy Creates Space for Vulnerability
Opening up to your loved ones after a loss doesn’t always come easily. Some family members might feel like they have to be stoic for the sake of others. On the other hand, if your family has been emotionally distant, you may want to finally bridge that gap — yet you don’t know how.
If your relatives are willing to give therapy a try, these sessions can serve as a permission slip for vulnerability. Even if it’s been a long time since you shared your authentic feelings with each other, it’s never too late to start this journey.
Initiates Difficult Conversations
Maybe you’ve been postponing some difficult conversations since the loss. You may have felt like you had to handle supporting a relative with a terminal illness entirely on your own. Alternatively, your relatives might all live far away from each other, and you may all be carrying some guilt over not spending enough time with your deceased loved one towards the end of their life.
Therapy can be your invitation to start these hard conversations. But you don’t have to go through them on your own. Instead, your therapist can help you communicate honestly.
Guidance for Tough Conflicts
Conflict and grief can go hand in hand. Some of your family members may have tense relationships with each other. When you’re coping with grief, it can open old wounds and restart arguments you may have previously brushed under the rug.
A therapist can support you and your relatives as you tackle these hard conversations. Advice from a third-party can be valuable and help you communicate in a compassionate way.
Bringing Your Family Together
Sometimes, family members try to avoid each other after going through a loss. Relatives who live far away might hesitate to travel to see one another. They may not pick up the phone when another family member calls.
But if your relatives are willing to participate in therapy, whether in person or online, if they’re geographically distant, it can finally bring you back together. This can be a way to heal your existing relationships in the wake of a loss.
Applying What You’ve Learned at Home
What you’ve learned in therapy doesn’t just apply during your sessions. You can take these lessons and apply them to your daily lives. You might find that as circumstances improve in your personal life, your relationships with your family continue to improve, too. In the future, it might be easier to handle talking about tough topics, support each other during difficult times, or whether another loss as a team.
Are you and your family members struggling in the aftermath of a loss? Working with a grief counselor can be cathartic. Reach out to us to learn more about our grief counseling services for families.