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Grief & Loss Counselling Brisbane

    What is grief?

    Grief is a natural response to loss. It is an inevitable, inescapable part of life. It might be the loss of a loved one, relationship, pregnancy, pet, job or way of life. Other experiences of loss may involve children leaving home, infertility or separation from friends and family. Grief can occur after a serious illness, a divorce or other significant losses.

    The more significant the loss, the more distress is likely. In these cases, grief counselling may help. Grief has no set pattern. It is expressed differently across different cultures. Some people are expressive and public with their emotions, while others prefer to keep grief private.

    Everyone experiences grief differently. Some people may grieve for weeks and months, while others may describe their grief lasting for years. It can be exhausting and emotionally draining, making it hard to do simple things or even leave the house.

    For most people, the intensity of grief eases over time and the episodes of grief become less frequent. While sadness is often associated with the loss, healthy grieving involves coming to terms with the impermanence and uncertainty of life, transforming the nature of the continuing bond with the deceased in a form that acknowledges their passing and rebuilding  capacity to experience pleasure and happiness again.

    New experiences and habits are often created following loss and some people even grow in wisdom and strength.


    Signs and symptoms of grief.

    Grief takes time to work through. While everyone finds their own way to grieve it’s important to have access to support and to be able to talk about your loss when you need to. The effects of grief can resemble depression as they can both lead to feelings of intense sadness, insomnia, poor appetite and weight loss. However, while grief will ease over time, depression is more persistent with ongoing feelings of emptiness and despair and difficulty feeling pleasure or joy.

    Immediately after a death, mourners often feel shocked, numb and in denial, particularly if the death was unexpected. As the reality of death sinks in, feelings of intense sadness, emptiness, loneliness, anger or guilt may arise. The feelings can be painful, constant or overwhelming.

    Grief can come in waves, seeming to fade away for a while and then return again. But over time, the intensity of feelings gradually subside.


    Common symptoms of grief may include:

    • Intense sadness
    • Insomnia
    • Headaches
    • Feeling tired all the time
    • Muscle aches
    • Nausea
    • Poor appetite
    • Weight loss.

    Who should seek therapy for grief?

    While life will never return to the way it was before the loss, mourners generally start to get back to their life and function again. However, if symptoms persist and continue to cause a sustained deterioration in the ability to work, engage in relationships or day-to-day living, then it’s important to get support or professional help.

    Indicators may include:

    • Intense emotional pain, feelings of emptiness, hopelessness and an inability to get over the loss
    • Being unable to accept that the deceased has died – either focusing too much on their memory or avoidance of the memories altogether
    • Yearning to be reunited with the deceased
    • Preoccupation with the deceased or with the circumstances of the death
    • Difficulty engaging in happy memories of the deceased person
    • A reduced sense of identity
    • Detachment and isolation from surviving friends and family
    • Lack of desire to pursue personal interests or plans

    How grief counselling can help you?

    Grief is profound and painful because love and care is profound and beautiful. Grief counselling can help you privilege the voice and memories of the person lost, yet maintain enough momentum to keep functioning in your life.

    Researchers have expanded Kubler-Ross’s 5 stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) model ( Source: On Death and Dying 1969, identifying grief as a highly individualised process. Grief counseling supports your ability to navigate this complex process, ensuring you grieve in an adaptive manner.


    Primary Benefits may include:

    • Reducing anxiety, guilt, and depression by providing strategies and skills to work through your emotions constructively.
    • Normalising the various stages of grieving so that you are more able to tap into your thoughts and emotions and open to healing.
    • Supporting your unique way of grieving so that it remains adaptive.
    • Honouring the deceased by providing a safe space to speak about all aspects of your experience and honouring their memory
    • Helping you understand that grief can be caused by different kinds of loss without feeling weak or selfish.
    • Maximising your ability to benefit from support networks including online group support
    • Guiding you back to self-care strategies to help you cope and recover
    • Adapting to your new situation with an ability to enjoy the life that is available to you right here now.

    What therapies we offer at MWT.

    Mind Wellness Therapy is a Brisbane counselling service with expertise in helping you integrate the reality of your loss and heal from your pain and suffering. Grief therapy is tailored to address your individual needs and symptoms and may draw on various techniques, including:

    Interpersonal Talk Therapy

    Interpersonal Talk Therapy to build a trusting relationship with your counsellor and over time create a safe place where the attuned presence of your counsellor validates, clarifies and helps you explore feelings and needs brought on by this significant loss. In this space, you and your counsellor work together so that you are able to reflect and acquire coping skills as well as address obstacles to integrating the loss. Obstacles can include unresolved conflicts in the relationship with the deceased, conflicting emotions, problems related to the nature of death or difficulties that result from changes in life circumstances.

    More about Interpersonal Talk Therapy

    Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

    Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a skill based behavioural therapy that uses the following six processes:

    1. Acceptance. This step involves developing skills to make room for painful emotions experienced in the present moment.
    2. Cognitive defusion. Techniques to defuse or create distance from unhelpful thoughts and beliefs.
    3. Contact with the present moment. By teaching mindfulness, ACT encourages you to focus on the present where change is possible.
    4. Self as context. This step involves increasing internal awareness so that you are more able to observe your thoughts, feelings and behaviours rather than being identified with them.
    5. Values. These are the principles you hold that help to direct your life in a meaningful way.
    6. Committed action. This step involves taking action guided by important values to overcome obstacles utilising the previous steps.
    More about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy


    EMDR to process traumatic grief, for example the unexpected loss of a loved one through accident, suicide, homicide or sudden death. This form of therapy works by desensitising the disturbing memories, reprocessing the maladaptive beliefs associated with the traumatic death (including guilt or feeling undeserving of happiness), addressing triggers that are occuring in the present and building more adaptive templates for managing challenging situations in the future.

    More about EMDR

    Mind Wellness Therapy provides EMDR therapy and psychological expertise in the treatment of anxiety, PTSD, trauma, grief, stress management, depression and more.

    Contact us today or call us on 07 3374 2770

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      Areas of Expertise

      Mind Wellness Therapy offers a safe environment and extensive experience across a range of presentations to help explore our psychological issues and shape a rich, meaningful life.