Benefits of Grief Counseling
Although death is a natural part of life, it is an extremely complex concept to process. To this day there is an overwhelming number of adults who struggle with the concept of death, and yet we often find ourselves expecting children to understand it. More often than not, people associate grief counseling with major losses in an individuals life. However, it can be a critical tool in helping children understand their first experiences with loss and death. When faced with the loss of someone or something they love, children process grief according to their developmental level.
My first loss, the death of my bunny, was not profoundly impactful. However, it was my earliest impression of death. I was about six years old at the time, and my 4 year old sister and I had begged for a pet. We took care of the bunny for about a year, and had a genuine attachment to it. One day we went outside to play with the bunny, and after a moment we both realized that she was laying in her cage and wasn’t moving. My sister began to prod her gently, innocently telling her to wake up. I began crying and told my sister she was dead, but she still didn’t seem to understand. I was just beginning to understand the permanency of death, and even though I knew she was gone, it was difficult for me to process. I didn’t entirely understand the loss or the emotions behind it.
In such times, grief counseling becomes a vital resource, providing a safe and supportive space for children to understand and process death. Recognizing the impact of even minor losses on children experiencing death for the first time can have a profound impact on their emotional development. In counseling children will learn that their feelings of sadness, confusion, and even anger are entirely valid. Children experience grief differently than adults due to their limited understanding of death. Grief counseling acknowledges these unique needs and offers a specialized approach to support them. It creates a nurturing environment where children can freely express their emotions, fears, and questions, enabling them to make sense of the loss and find healthy ways to cope. At Brightside Behavioral Health, our trained clinicians know the importance of empowering children to express and understand their grief, develop coping strategies, and build resilience.