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Online Therapy for Bereavement

Goda Brzozauskaite
  • Mar 21, 2022
  • 5 min read
Lonely man sitting alone

Losing a loved one is always painful. Unfortunately, we all get to experience it at least once in our lifetime. During the Covid-19 pandemic, more and more people have faced the pain of bereavement. It is a natural but nonetheless a difficult experience.

Everyone feels and copes with that loss in their own way. Some people can overcome their immense grief with time, but others can not recover independently.

If your grief interferes with your daily life, makes you feel isolated and unable to imagine how life looked without your loved one, it might be time to consider bereavement therapy. 

Some people going through this change are more comfortable expressing their thoughts and emotions with their friends or family. But for some, talking to a stranger may feel more comfortable. If you are the latter, grief counseling will be of great help.

If you are living in an urban area, one or two bereavement therapists might be offering their service next to you. But if in-person therapy is uncomfortable for you, or you wish to keep your precautions during the pandemic, online therapy for bereavement is also a practical and beneficial option. Let’s explore what it can offer.

What Does Bereavement Therapy Look Like?

The time of loss is full of negative emotions such as guilt, sorrow, and confusion. It becomes difficult to make sense of it all and cope. A person overcome by grief might not be able to perform simple daily tasks. Or they might feel that life is not worth living without the person they have lost. 

Bereavement counseling helps people deal with these feelings and, little by little, adjust to life after the loss. During treatment, a therapist will guide you through your emotions and thoughts to learn how to cope, adapt to life, and find meaning once again.

During this intervention, the bereaved are encouraged to cherish their memories of their loved ones, let go of the needless guilt they hold, and commit to continuing with their life. 

You might be wondering how online therapy for bereavement looks like. Below are some commonly used methods by therapists to address this difficult life challenge.

Parts of bereavement therapy

Therapists can use different therapeutic techniques to help people overcome the loss, but they all have similar aspects:

  • Telling about your state. In the beginning, your therapist will create a safe space for you to talk about your loss, emotions, regrets, and questions. You will be able to address your contradictory feelings and sort your thoughts.
  • Addressing guilt. Often the bereaved experience guilt over what they did or didn’t say in the past or do now. They might feel guilty over not being “sad enough” over the loss. Or they might even feel guilty for moving on with their life.
  • Talking about the deceased. The therapist might ask you to describe your relationship with the person or animal you lost. They might also ask you to share memories of the lost loved one or reflect upon the departed’s life in a safe space. Even if it might sound like an impossible task for some, talking about it will help you face your bereavement and start healing.

As mentioned above, there are several types of approaches. Here are the most common ones.  

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

During CBT, therapists help you identify negative thought patterns leading to harmful behavior. You learn to replace these negative thoughts with more positive ones and develop helpful behaviors.

This therapy addresses the thoughts of bereavement, grief, and guilt that might be stopping you from moving on. Additionally, avoidant behaviors, such as avoiding situations that remind you of the departed, are tackled. 

Complicated grief therapy (CGT)

CGT helps those suffering from complicated grief – a continuous state of sorrow preventing one from moving on. During CGT, the griever shares their memories of the deceased and the events leading to their death to eventually accept the loss.

The connection between the individual and the departed is promoted via imagined conversations with the deceased. To reawaken your love for life, the therapist might ask you to look past your bereavement and reflect on the goals you could have.

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)

ACT is also helpful for those experiencing complicated grief. During this therapy, you learn to accept your negative emotions and thoughts by applying mindfulness. You also know to face your stressors instead of running from them.

In this way, you can face the event that led to the bereavement and the thought and emotions you had been suppressing.

Participating in rituals

Apart from the therapies mentioned above, the therapist might encourage a practical coping mechanism, like rituals. A ritual can be any symbolic act that helps the griever comfort themselves by honoring the deceased.

These can be public displays such as vigils or private actions like lighting a candle or leaving flowers at the grave. Such actions give the individuals some sense of calmness and purpose. Participating in rituals allows you to acknowledge your bereavement and cope with it.

Regardless of the techniques used, the goals of bereavement therapy are the same in each case: helping the person move through the grief and adapt to the changes in their life.

Do You Need Bereavement Therapy?

If you are not sure whether you require bereavement counseling, reflect on your thoughts and actions by considering the following scenarios:

  • You often feel sad, depressed, or guilty.
  • You are unable to accept the loss of your loved one, despite nearly a year of their passing.
  • Your daily behaviors and habits have altered dramatically since the death of your loved one.
  • You have trouble focusing on anything other than the loss.
  • You feel numb or detached.
  • You are facing difficulty in maintaining or forming relationships.
  • You feel that life has lost meaning.

If these are true for you, it’s better to consult a therapist as soon as possible.

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What Are the Benefits of Online Therapy for Grief?

Therapy for bereavement holds the power to free you from the cycle of grief and allow you to forge your own path.

Seeking online therapy is doubly beneficial – along with helping you adjust to the changes in your life, it is also convenient and affordable. Online counseling is just as effective as traditional in-person therapy setups.

Through online therapy, you can access a capable therapist at any time from any location. It also costs considerably less than appointments in clinics.

Things to Consider Before Starting Online Therapy

Before starting your online journey of mental therapy, you should consider several things. Firstly, during bereavement counseling, you will have to talk about your lost loved one at length. This might be painful at first but will become a healing experience.

Secondly, therapy will take time. During the start of treatment, the therapist will focus on understanding what you feel and think about the bereavement before starting an intervention. Your mode of online communication will also affect the time required.

Lastly, you should check with your insurance provider whether they cover expenses for online therapy and what they copay. Even if the insurance happens to not cover the cost, or it can cover just a small part, you can still benefit from online therapy as most of the providers offer affordable prices. 

How to Start Bereavement Therapy Online?

It might be hard to find the motivation to do the simplest things, not to mention searching for help. Thankfully online therapy for bereavement can offer help in several minutes. 

You begin online counseling by filling out a form with the necessary information. This helps connect you to the right therapist or counselor. Don’t worry, you can keep your identity confidential during this whole process.

Once you fill in the information, you are connected to a professional on the very same day. This ensures that you receive the necessary care as quickly as possible.

You can communicate with the service provider through whatever means you are comfortable with. This includes daily messages, scheduled audio or video calls, or messaging sessions. The choice is up to you, and you can decide what communication is most suitable for you by checking the provider and the plans they offer. 

After connecting with the therapist, they will assess your current situation and use an intervention to help ease the grief caused by bereavement.

Therapy Can Help

Losing a loved one is never easy. Unfortunately, bereavement is an unavoidable life event everyone experiences. However, you don’t have to go through it alone. If you struggle to come to terms with your loss or move on with your life, therapy can help. 

If you choose to move forward with online therapy for bereavement, we at DoMental are more than happy to assist you in this journey.

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