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What are the benefits of grief counselling?

Losing someone you love can be one of most stressful, isolating and devastating experiences you will have. After that loss, you will go through a period of grief. How short, long or intense that period will be varies depending on your experience and your relationship.

Here we look at the process of grief and how grief counselling may help you come to terms with your loss.

What is the process of grief?

Everyone will experience grief differently. In 1969, Elizabeth Kubler Ross wrote a booked called ‘Of Death and Dying’. In her book, she described the five stages of grief. These stages are:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance[1].

She originally wrote these stages to describe the experience of someone suffering from a terminal illness. It has since been used to explain the process of any type of personal loss, whether it’s losing a loved one, a job, or another type of tragic life event.

Grief has no set pattern. You may feel these stages in any order and you may not feel all the stages. You may find that your grief comes in waves, and is triggered by a memory or a location.


What are some ways to manage grief?

Everyone grieves differently, and you need to allow yourself the time and space to heal.

It can help to talk to someone you trust, a friend or family member about how you’re feeling. Don’t be afraid to share your emotions and cry, be angry or share memories with them.

It’s important to continue to manage your physical health while you’re grieving. Try to do regular exercise, eat well and find time to do things you enjoy.

We have some more advice on managing grief here.

How do you know if you need grief counselling?

Grief doesn’t have a timeline. Some people grieve for weeks or months, others may feel like they’re grieving years later. How do you know if you need some help to work through your grief?

If you feel you aren’t able to move past your bereavement and don’t have any hope for the future, you may have prolonged grief. It’s believed prolonged grief can affect 10%[2] to 15%[3] of people. Grief and loss counselling might help you talk through and process your loss.

Studies suggest you might be more likely to benefit from bereavement counselling if your loss was unexpected, such as losing a child or younger spouse or family member[4].

You may also have experienced trauma if you witnessed the death or there may be other circumstances in your life which might make the death particularly complicated.


What are the benefits of grief and loss counselling?

The purpose of grief counselling is for you to learn how to come to peace with your loss. It’s about how you are going to live your life in the future without the person you love.

You will move at your own pace and gradually come to terms with the death of your loved one.

Bereavement counselling isn’t about forgetting about the person, ‘letting go’[5], or removing their memory from your life. It’s about finding strategies to help you accept their loss and regain hope for happiness in your life.


If you’re struggling with grief and want to speak to a counsellor, call CAREinMIND on 1300 096 269 or click the chat button on the right. The service is free for people in north, western and central Melbourne and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.




[2] Marie Lundorff, Helle Holmgren, Robert Zachariae, Ingeborg Farver-Vestergaard, Maja O’Connor,

Prevalence of prolonged grief disorder in adult bereavement: A systematic review and meta-analysis,

Journal of Affective Disorders, Volume 212, 2017

[3] Kersting, K. (2004, November). A new approach to complicated grief. Monitor on Psychology, 35(10).

[4]  Samar M. Aoun ,Lauren J. Breen,Denise A. Howting,Bruce Rumbold,Beverley McNamara,Desley Hegney, Who Needs Bereavement Support? A Population Based Survey of Bereavement Risk and Support Need, March 26, 2015

[5]  Kersting, K. (2004, November). A new approach to complicated grief. Monitor on Psychology, 35(10).