How To Specialise As A Grief Counsellor

How To Specialise As A Grief Counsellor

When anyone is affected by the death of a close relative, friend or loved one, the grieving process can be painful, bringing with it big challenges and even bigger life changes. With grief affecting everyone in different ways, the path to getting through it can be difficult.

Using your therapy skills to specialise as a grief counsellor could be your chance to lift people from the darkness and help them see the light at the end of the tunnel.

What is grief counselling?

While all counselling is centred around talking and expressing your feelings or emotions, grief counselling is a specific form of talking therapy. Its main purpose is to help any individual grieve properly and mourn the loss of a loved one in a healthy way, providing psychological relief through the open expression of emotion.

Focusing on the individual’s innermost thoughts and feelings, the specific therapy treatments for grief counselling can depend on the patient’s outlook and coping ability at the time. However, techniques are used to help with the emotional expression of the loss and the feelings that are associated with it. This could include helping to overcome the initial pain in accepting the loss, making life adjustments, or coping with changes – big and small – in daily life after the loss.

What do grief counsellors do?

Professional therapists and grief counsellors help to address the many mixed feelings that can be felt by individuals seeking help after losing a loved one in one to one sessions. These feelings can include sadness, anxiety, or loneliness, as well as what’s commonly known as the five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

At least some of those five widely acknowledged stages of grief can affect everyone to a certain degree and in no particular order. But grief counsellors can give reassurances about the grieving process as a whole. This helps patients understand that many of the feelings and emotions they may be experiencing are both a temporary and completely natural reaction to loss.

It’s important to remember that grief, while a natural emotion, is a mental health issue. So it’s important for counsellors to first agree with the patient the boundaries of what will be discussed in the sessions. Talking about their feelings will be encouraged while the counsellor listens and asks questions while having the ability to understand and share those feelings.

Counselling for change

But it isn’t just the emotional feelings that can have an effect on a patient. Changes in behaviour might also affect them, including experiencing difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, lack of focus or concentration, or a lack of motivation. All these issues should be addressed throughout any sessions.

In more long-term therapy, counsellors may also be able to identify further techniques or methods to help the patient find closure if they haven’t been able to do so. Though it can be a process that lasts a period of time, a grief counsellor can help each person understand, face, and overcome their own grieving process over a course of confidential sessions.

After a period of counselling has come to an end, the patient will find they’re more able to cope and move on. They’ll be more accepting of their loss while using thoughts and memories to remember their loved one positively.

Successful counselling will help the individual recognise and accept their loss as a reality. In turn, this will help them get back to a normal routine in their day to day lives. While the grieving journey is personal and different for everyone, your skills in specialist grief counselling can help people overcome some of their darkest days, and that can be the ultimate reward.

How to specialise as a grief counsellor

The aim of any grief counselling is to help the patient work through their emotions and feelings with positivity, empathy, and understanding. In this general respect, it’s not far removed from other regarded counselling or talking therapy methods.

If you’re already in practice, you’re in a good place to build on your skills and specialise as a grief counsellor. If you’re starting out in your counselling career or even looking to take a sideways change, specialising in such a worthwhile area can be a rewarding challenge. It really helps to make difference in peoples lives at a time when they’re struggling to find answers.

To become a counsellor or a therapist and specialise in certain areas, you’ll need an officially recognised counselling qualification. Whether you’re looking at an entry-level introduction to start you on the counselling path or further, more in-depth, training to build on your current skills and qualifications, there’s a course provider ready to take you to the next level.

Choose Chrysalis

Choosing the UK’s leading counselling and talking therapy training provider is a great place to start or enhance your career. With over 20 years’ experience in counselling training, every Chrysalis course is led by experienced tutors and experts in their own right. And they’re all accredited and recognised by the National Counselling Society and other professional bodies.

Covering all entry levels, each part-time course is designed to be accessible to everyone, whatever your previous experience or qualifications. All the best foundations of renowned counselling methods have been put together to create our own process we call psychotherapeutic counselling. This helps you to help others more effectively while developing your own skills and knowledge.

From a Level 4 Diploma in Counselling Skills and Theory introductory course all the way up to Level 6 Higher Professional Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling Training (Informed by Research) (H.Dip Psy C.), each course is available in over 20 independent venues all across the UK, so there’s a location closer than you think.

Get in touch today

Everyone’s experience of grief differs and symptoms may come and go or be mixed up, leaving your patient feeling confused, lost, or helpless. Your skills can help them regain control of their feelings and move forward. So if you think you can make a difference, specialising as a grief counsellor could be a fulfilling and enriching choice.

For more information and full details on all Chrysalis training courses, visit or call 01278 401352 today.