Grief Counselling

by Lawrence

Well, I went for grief counseling last Friday and what an absolute waste of time it was.
The man who was supposed to counsel me was a trainee and was taking a degree at the local UNI, after I explained the reason for my grief he made sympathetic comments and then we just sat and looked at each other until I stood and told him this was going nowhere.
I don’t really know what I expected and perhaps the fault was mine but can anybody tell me what should have happened.
I would appreciate any suggestions.
Lawrence U.K

Comments for Grief Counselling

Click here to add your own comments

Jun 16, 2013
Grief Counselling.
by: Anonymous

Hello Lawrence. I am so very sorry for the loss of your wife. I know in my own way how you feel because I lost my husband who I was with for 33 years of a massive heart attack in July, 2013. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss my husband and as long as I live I will never be able to make any sense out of it. It does help though to talk to a close family member mostly everyday. I hope you have a close family member or friend in your life. If not just getting out of the house everyday for a walk or shopping and taking an interest in hobbies are good. That grief counsellor that you went to sounds like a lost cause. From what I read in your posts you sound like you are suffering from clinical depression. Have you ever considered going to a doctor to discuss anti-depressants or some other medications? This might help you. Also maybe going to church or praying to God for help might help you. Don't ever give up and take good care of yourself.

May 08, 2013
grief counseling
by: silver

The fault was NOT yours.The office you went to should not have put you with a "trainee".It takes experience to counsel someone.If he was still in school he should have been a listener at group sessions until he had some insight.I had a great counselor.She was older(about 10 yrs younger than my 58).She acted a lot like a friend who cared about me but was still professional when she needed to be.Try again if you can.There are some wonderful people out there.May GOD send you love and peace

May 04, 2013
I think
by: Steffy

That grief Counseling is not for everyone,

I tried and it was a WASTE of time, you have to find the right person
A Person that listens that knows real PAIN that has more to say then sympathetic words...
someone who will hold your hand as you break..

I don't think it helps as much as others believe, talk to friends, Continue to write about your pain, a pen and paper, a computer whatever it is that you like the most and let it all out.

Emotions are real and they need to be heard do what you need to to feel better.

Please don't give up, I did for 6 months I shut down and stopped talking about it but im back and I want to be heard, I HURT and I HATE so many things right now, talk cry scream let it out and if counseling is not for you please find an outlet.

Apr 14, 2013
Life is where we find ourselves till we can find it change
by: Doreen U.K.

Lawrence I understand how you feel to not be able to read the newspapers and do anything. After 11 months I still feel the same way. My grief is just showing more and I cry more. I think my grief has been delayed. Perhaps frozen and now thawing out. Even if I speak of having been healed through counselling. I do respect the views and feelings of Alassia and others who have had a bad experience and feel negative about counselling. Because YES! MANY PEOPLE have had a bad experience and feel exploited. I just feel sad for all of you who can't find the healing I did. This is the only reason I try to ENCOURAGE you to view counselling in a positive way so that you don't lose out on healing. I wish I could take your pain away. But mine is still with me. I dream more about my husband and he is always alive in my dreams. I wake up and realize he is gone. This knocks me down. I guess it will be this way for some time. But Lawrence it has to get better in time. Don't push yourself too hard and too far. All I know is that one day you will look back and realize how far you have come in your grief journey. Try keeping a journal and writing out all your feelings every day as many times as you need to do this. You will be emptying yourself of your hurt and anger and all those normal feelings of grief. It will then get easier. WE ARE IN A HARD PLACE. IT HURTS. give yourself permission to feel the way you do without apologies to anyone. I can't do the things I used to do. I can't find enjoyment in reading like I used to do. And I accept this. One day I will wake up and be able to do it. But for now just be yourself as I do. Often when we see the happiness of others it can irritate us. This is normal. Something happened to us to rob us of our joy and happiness. Till things change we will be the way we are. No one wants to be miserable. But we are. All we can do is to HOLD EACH OTHER UP WHERE WE ARE. I Hold you up now and will pray that each day you will get a little stronger. You will one day find your ability to write and hear music again. And if you don't. That is O.k. work at your own pace. TOGETHER we will do it.

Apr 13, 2013
You can do it!
by: Alassia

Dear Lawrence

Three months is so early. While the intensity of the pain of losing her may diminish, in so far as you continue to function despite how you feel now, it never leaves us, in my personal experience.

We can try to celebrate the lives of our loved ones but, you are right, it is absolutely no consolation.

I also have to force myself to go out as the motivation to do anything has gone. As for ‘concentrating ’ on the banalities of life, I can’t muster any enthusiasm either.

I have passed the ‘one year mark’, which isn’t a mark at all - despite what everyone told me.
I haven’t been able to listen to music since my husband died.

My house is silent now.

This void is in complete contrast to how it was before. Our home was filled with music, especially at weekends, and in the evenings, when we had time to relax together. We had catholic tastes in music and our choice would often reflect our mood. I write ‘our mood’ because we always seemed to be in harmony. Often, it would even inspire us to dance, alone, at home.

How we loved; how we laughed!

Music is such a deep form of creativity and expression. I have no musical talent, but you do, Lawrence! All I can do is write banal words, but you have the ability to create something significant and lasting.

Could you compose a melody which reflects and celebrates your wife?

A huge challenge, I know. But wouldn’t that be a wonderful memorial?

Hugs ,
Alassia X

Apr 09, 2013
Now three months
by: Lawrence

It’s now three months since my beloved sweetheart died and I seem to be getting no relief from the intense pain of losing her.
The ache in my heart is ongoing and the seventy years we spent together seems no consolation.
I try to get out to social clubs but I literally have to force myself to go as the motivation to do anything has gone. I have cancelled all my newspapers as I haven’t got the concentration to read them.
I feel half of me is missing which indeed it is.
I must have another try at grief counseling, but the last was such a disaster, it distressed me greatly and I’m reluctant to try again..
I am no nearer starting composing or writing. I sit by the organ and computer but no words or music comes which is a great sadness to me, at one time it just flowed. But no doubt it will return in time.
Thank you for all your comforting advice.

Apr 05, 2013
Grief Counselling
by: Doreen U.K.

I read your post about counselling. You have been put off by the negative feedback here. Whilst Alassia has brought up some relevant and valid points this should be a caution and not seen as suspicion. There are some very good therapists. But may be hard to find.
It is true that many can capitalise off the vulnerable. But don't go in with this thought. Just be cautious.
You all could be put off such an amazing experience of healing by denying yourselves this experience. I have never been so happy in my life as I have been after my counselling. I never lived until I had therapy/counselling in England where I live and protected. Counsellors have to receive counselling themselves before they can practice. They also have to be regularly supervised. If you went to see one and was damaged by the experience you could take this up with the organisation you went with. Most of them have be regulated in order to practice and must meet a code of ethics before they can practice. Otherwise they could transfer their issues to clients who could become confused. If you ever went to a counsellor and became confused. STOP and ask to see their supervisor and talk things over with them. These are just some guidelines for you to process. But don't discount counselling if you need this as IT DOES WORK and you can move forward in ways that will enhance the rest of your life. I want everyone to feel as good as I do after my experience. GOOD LUCK AND BEST WISHES.

Apr 04, 2013
any thanks to you all
by: lawrence

Many thanks to all of you who replied to my plea for help.
I have a clearer understanding of what to expect from an experienced counselor and I will definitely try again, although the intense pain of losing my cherished wife is easing slightly I do know that no amount counseling can ease the emptiness in my heart and soul at the ending of a 70 year old love affair.
I throw a kiss to her photograph every night when I am locking up, it used to be our lovely home, now it is just a house, but will I consider moving…never, our whole life was here, we saw our daughters grow up and meet the men of their dreams and marry, played with our wonderful grandchildren, we were so content.
Have a lovely Easter or Passover

Mar 28, 2013
Grief counselling
by: Alassia

Lawrence, I think you just need to choose very carefully. There are a lot of charlatans out there who want to capitalise on our grief.It's their 'business' after all!

In government services, people in training should not simply be let loose on the public. That, I believe, was a grave mistake on the part of whatever organisation you encountered.While I understand everyone has to learn, we should not be their guineapigs.

Having said that,however, I too met with a counsellor through the Samaritans. She was/is brilliant.

I didn't feel comfortable with a free service so I've donated to the charity - although that wasn't a pre-requisite in any way, and that was made clear to me from the start.

I found talking to a 'stranger' - who listened and responded - was very helpful and it has stopped me going crazy!


Mar 27, 2013
Grieving two losses, one in January and one is pending
by: Katherine

I was thinking about attending grief counselling, however after reading your post, I am having 2nd. thoughts. I already feel achy and in pain, I need relief from grief not confusion and awkwardness.

Mar 26, 2013
Grief counselling
by: Allasia

I'm so sorry you've had to go through this experience.

Not all counselors are like that.But many construct a 'business' / livelihood from the pain of others.

For many 'therapists', we are only $s in their bank!

Mar 26, 2013
by: Bereaved daughter and carer

Dear Lawrence, I understand how disappointed you are.
My experience of grief counselling was the counsellor implying that my darling mum had a `good' innings and was `lucky' to live to be elderly.
There was no empathy or support that I was devastated at losing my precious mum. There is no right time to lose a loved one.
My belief is that experience is the only teacher that is why this web site is so good. With counsellors there own maturity and common sense has to be amongst their attributes, not just their job title.
I did not feel like trying again - I have had more support from voluntary organisations such as the Samaritians and a poetry group where there are bereaved people amongst the students.
If you do try counselling again remember to ask for someone who has a lot of experience in dealing with the bereaved.
Kindest regards - hope you feel easier soon.

Mar 26, 2013
The Grief Counselling experience upset me! Can anyone Help me here? How should it have been?
by: Doreen U.K.

Lawrence I am sorry you had a bad experience with your grief counsellor. I have always said that if you get the right counsellor you will benefit greatly. Whatever happens PLEASE DON'T GIVE UP. Contact the Supervisor or Boss and tell them your experience and how this shouldn't have happened to you in your circumstances. You are vulnerable and this counselling experience was a waste of your time and left you feeling worse when you came out.
Tell them you still need to use their services and could they recommend their best counsellor. Not a trainee.
What should have happened is they take your details for Admin. Then they introduce themselves and ask you how they can be of help to you. They break the ice by trying to make you as comfortable and at ease with them as a counsellor. They would then let you know how many sessions they could offer you (which is usually 6) then they would assess you again and perhaps offer you some more sessions.
Lawrence I have used a psychologist/counsellor who was amazing. All counsellors get counselling themselves so that they don't transfer their issues to their clients. Counsellors also have to be supervised so that in difficult cases they are managed and don't carry issues from their clients that can affect them.

You should be in a position to know from the onset whether you have the right counsellor. You should feel better when you come out of the counselling room. Not all counselling experiences are a waste of time. Only if you have the wrong counsellor. Please try again.
I am a strong person and I don't give up easily. I try and try again until I get the right one. A grief counsellor should be sensitive and caring. They should have a good understanding of how you feel because they are a specialist in this area. They are trained to ask questions in a way that would tease out other areas of concern. You should come out feeling a little better and glad you went.
You don't feel the full benefit immediately. But you gradually feel better.
My experience was deeper. It stirred up so much anger in me. I didn't believe in the counselling experience. I was sceptical. But went anyway each week for a few years. One day I woke up and felt AMAZING. As if something positive was happening in me and this was the start of a miracle for me. I haven't looked back. I got my life back in a way that LIFE WAS WORTH LIVING for the first time in my life and I was in my 40's when my life began.
I hope that you have better luck next time. DON'T GIVE UP. Keep us posted.
Best wishes.

Mar 26, 2013
Take heart, Lawrence
by: SansCoeur

Lawrence, I am so sorry the counselling didn't work out the first time. All I can say is take heart and try again. I recently went to a counsellor -- the first session was hopeless, so I rang her and said I wouldn't be coming back. I rang another one and had the first session with her today. What a contrast! I know she will be able to help me (she did, even today).

I have been "lurking", reading your posts, since your first one. Know that we are all with you in this. I wish you all the very best in working your way through this terrible time. I know it's not easy, I lost the great love of my life to a massive heart attack six months ago. We are all members of a club none of us wanted to join. But brighter days are ahead, we have to hold onto that.

Take care

Mar 26, 2013
Dear Lawrence,
by: Pat in Missouri

What happened to you, when you went for counseling is deplorable. I do not know the laws in the UK. In the US, when a client sees a counselor for the first time, they will discuss with you what you would like to get out of the counseling and set up a written plan with you to help you meet your goals. Students must be supervised. That does not mean the supervisor must be in the same room, but the student has to consult with his supervisor on every case. This is for those students who are working toward being licensed as professional counselors (LPC). I know this because I have an MA in counseling myself.

Do you know if you saw a social worker student or a counseling student? There are different guidelines for these 2 professions. Regardless of that, any student should have asked you a lot of questions about your feelings, when your loss occurred, how you have been coping since the loss, and should have explained the 5 stages of grief, which include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Counseling should be directed toward helping you work through your feelings and how to develop coping skills so you can understand your feelings and move forward.

You might consider speaking with the director of the program at the university, where you went for help. He/she should be able to explain how their student practice works and what you should expect. There are also other alternatives, such as hospice, mental health agencies, and churches. Wherever you go for help, always check on the counselor's credentials and the specific training they have had in grief counseling. Do that by phone, before you go.

Frankly, I don't blame you for walking out. That student sounds as if he was totally unprepared. If you decide to go back, call and ask to see someone else, if you prefer, and tell them what you expect: that you want help in dealing with your feelings of loss and you want help in how to accept this loss and move on. At a university, I would think there is a high degree of probability that you would see a student.

You might consider going to a grief support group. They are usually run by counselors or social workers. The great thing about a support group is that everyone is going through the same thing. Sharing your feelings helps you to understand how others are dealing with loss and helps you to feel a sense of validation for own your feelings. There is NO normal for grief. It is different for everyone. In a group, that is recognized and people feel more free to lean on each other.

Don't give up. There is real help available. If you are worried about cost, a church is your best bet. Hospice and mental health agencies may bill your insurance, but, again, I do not know the laws in the UK. Be sure to ask that when you call. I send you many hugs and hope my message has helped in some small way. I should tell you that I also went to a support group in dealing with my own grief. I thought is was great. Pat

Click here to add your own comments

Return to Lost Spouse/ True Love.

[?]Subscribe To This Site
  • follow us in feedly
  • Add to My Yahoo!
  • Add to My MSN
  • Subscribe with Bloglines

RSS Feed Widget


Tap into the compassion, support and wisdom of the


Essential Healing Guide

Grief Relief

Free Griefwork

Free Stress

SBI Video Tour!