pros and cons of bereavement counselling!advice needed!

For anyone who is bereaved or no longer providing care.
hi gang!
bigbear chatting!
i'm trying to decide if i should have bereavement counselling
i had an assesment today for it with "mind"
to be honest i wasnt impressed
i felt the personal nature of many questions i was asked challenging
i didnt meet the person i would be seeing
i was told that cbt wasnt suitable for dealingwith bereavement
as everyone was differnt
my experience of talking therapy many decades ago putme off it
cbt worked well with me dealing with agraphobia and anxiety
also many years ago but still refer to my notes and lessons leant many years later.

anyone had good experience of bereavement therapy
and or advice on the best approach to it
or advice ingeneral

mr bigbear died in aug 2013
and i feel i've got to the stage when i need
some appropriate professional advice in coming
to terms with my loss.

i'm losing sleep worrying about what to do
brush my toothypegs and forget about it for now perhaps!
love and hugs
bigbear x ;)
Hi Big Bear,

I've found counselling, for various things, very helpful over the years, but you do need (a) the right sort of counselling and (b) the right individual to help you through it. I have been very lucky and have had two amazing counsellors who quite literally changed my life. I have also seen a number who were dreadful and I'm quite sure capable of doing more harm than good and it does seem to me to be one of those things that's become more popular in recent years and therefore the quality of what's on offer has dropped, in my opinion.

So it might be that just this particular sort of counselling isn't right for you? Perhaps you could meet with a few different counsellors in your area and see if there's one that feels better? I don't understand why organisations have an initial meet with someone who won't be your 'proper' counsellor. It's so important to feel comfortable with the person you will be seeing; I had an initial meet with someone a couple of years ago who was great but the actual person I was allocated wasn't, so after a very long wait to be seen I only ended up going twice and it put me off completely. So it might be that you need to cast your net a bit wider until you find someone that you feel comfy with and who 'gets' you.
Hi BB, sending waves and a hug!
Hold on in there. You've made a good move in seeking support.
I've also seen different counsellors and, as Mumwhocares says, it's a mixed bag. You have to feel comfortable with the person as well as the counselling they provide. Remember, the initial assessment is there to direct you to the right type of therapy and the right person to help you.
Jx
Hi, when I was widowed, I had bereavement counselling from a counsellor provided (completely free) from the hospice who had cared for my husband in end stage cancer.

She came to my house once a week. I can remember saying to her, 'I don't know what to say to you'.....and then I didn't stop talking for an hour!

I did like her, but I noticed two things - firstly, she wasn't just for counselling widows and widowers. So if I'd lost a parent, or even (God prevent), a child, she would have been the one they'd sent. I'm not sure about this, as who it is we lose affects immensely how and why we mourn.

The second thing I noticed was that it was always 'one way' - it was HER being the 'counsellor' the 'professional' (though she was very friendly.) I can recall once asking her what her own experience of bereavement had been, and she got very 'cagey', and wouldn't really answer beyond saying something like 'well, I do know what bereavement feels like', which told me that she wasn't going to be reciprocal' about this. She was going to stay 'separate' from all of this.

Now, that is, fundamentally, my issue with counselling as a whole. It's controversial, I know, because the 'accepted argument' about counsellors is that they DO stay 'out of it' personally. They are not 'involved' they are 'professional' they are 'distant'. They go home and get on with their own lives. They are not 'part of it' with their counselless.

Speaking entirely personally, I don't like that. I come from the 'no man is an island' corner, and in my book, as humans we ALL 'share each other's situation'.

I, speaking entirely personally, do NOT like 'experts' or 'professionals' making me the subject of their 'professional interest', as if I were a thing to be experiemented on in a lab, etc etc.

That said, the counselling definitely helped, and if nothing else, gave me a kind of pathway of time across a nightmare six weeks, and sort of put some kind of 'time line' on my grief during that first hellish year.

What I did find, and which, personally, I prefer, limited and 'flawed' though it is, is the concept of 'peer group counselling' where everyone is an equal with each other and there are no 'experts' just someone who is further down the path than someone else. (Hey, just like a peer-to-peer forum like here!).

For that reason I found several bereavement forums, including one on Macmillan cancer, but the one I went for in the end was Way Up, which is Widowed and Young for the over 50s. They 'jarred' horribly at first, as it was for those widowed who were much further on and intent on developing a new single-handed social life, but there was a section for 'newly widowed' where tears flowed all the time across the Internet, and I found that very comforting, and very helpful. We were all united in our grief, in our utter horror at what had happened to us, destroyed our lives and so on, and that made it very, very therapeutic.

If you do have 'formal counselling' and don't like their questions, then terminate the session, tell them you don't wish to answer, or to mind their own business!

I do rather agree with you that I wouldn't like things doing down about me that were 'on the record' so to speak. The hospice counsellor took NO notes whatsoever, and we just chatted over coffee. She did give me quite a lot of useful 'tips' and 'insights' (such as 'grief is TIRING, it's like a heavy, heavy chain we drag along behind us, day after day', which struck me as very, very true.)

I also read several books on bereavement, including an excellent one I can't quite remember the name of by a lady called I think Elizabeth something. I'll see if I can either find it or find her name. It was very moving, and very 'honest' and helped me a lot. I cried all the way through reading it, and it helped me keep going forward at a time when I only wanted to go back, back, back into 'the happy past'.
Bigbear,
Lovely you hear from you.

Awhile after my Dad died in the house fire, I felt I needed support and I had it through Cruse. They specialise in supporting people who are bereaved. I. Some areas they offer face to face counselling, they also do telephone and email support. The email support really helped me. Give the counsellor a go, but if you aren't comfortable with it, then try Cruse. You can look them up online.

Melly1
I've just found the following which explains what counselling is, what it is not, as well as how and why counsellors act as they do:

http://www.bacp.co.uk/crs/Training/what ... elling.php

And here is some information about the grief cycle that Jenny may have alluded to:

http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-5-stage ... and-grief/

Hope it helps. Take care Big Bear, you know where we are when you need us.
Jx
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, that's her! Thank you Juggler. I can definitely recommend her.

On the five stages, she also points out they may not be sequential, and that one can 'recyle' as well.

I had a problem initially with 'acceptance' (final stage) as I heard it as 'agreement' as though I'd 'agreed' to my husband dying, which I revolted against. In fact, thinking about, I still don't 'accept' that he died. He did, but I don't 'accept' it. It shouldn't have happened. End of. I think it's easier when it's a parent who dies 'in old age' - that's 'natural'. (Tragic, yes, in that the human condition of mortality is tragic.)
Apparently us parents of life limited children go though the 5 grief stages too even though our children are still here if that makes sense? Personally I found counselling very very unhelpful. It brought to the surface things that needed a lid kept on them to be able to function as a parent. Although our son has a terminal diagnosis he is still alive and he was diagnosed at the age of 6 and at that time we had to try to keep things as "normal" as we could for him. I just imagine the feelings as a large ball inside my stomach with a plate on the top which I press down to contain the negative unhelpful feelings. Its like Spock on Star Trek - repress, repress, repress! Rob himself is a help as he himself has such a sense of humour that does not really allow for depression. Its also hard having watched him lose so many friends to DMD and other conditions. Probably in the future my husband and I will fall apart but we just can't allow ourselves that luxury just now...


Eun
I know what you mean, Eun. I've had mixed experiences of counselling. I think it's been down to personalities etc but also my willingness to being counselled. I was in 'the right place' mentally and emotionally after my big sister passed away, but was too busy dealing with realities after losing my mum and felt I got little out of the sessions.

It really is such a personal journey.
bigbear chatting..i feel so grateful and quite overwhelmed in a very nice way at the wave of helpful messages in response to my dispairing post,
i hve lots to follow up,
thank you those who sent links, all followed up, book recommendation will be followed up
on amazon and online cruse helpline
i've already found cruse phoneline helpful
but just for short chats as a premium number.

i was so grateful for you all sharing your experiences,
and i felt such warm a greement or empathy as they say for what jenny said
you banged the nail right o the head with your feeling on seperateness and uninvolvement of councillors,
i cannot confide without recipocracy!
..at any rate the idea feels bad!
and eun that plate analogy i know too
and thank you eun and all you amzing people
for taking the time and trouble
and chums who have pm'ed me
if i could find a counsellor who could do as much as you lovely people
have done i'd jump as the chnce of counselling
thankee!
just off for birthday dinner with chum
feeling after an upset that my glass is half full instead of half empty!
all down to you guys!!!!
love hugs thanks respect and ((((group hug)))
your grateful friend
bigbear x :unsure: :)
big bear xxx ;) :)