Understanding Grief Therapy: Healing Hearts

March 11, 2024|Mental Health|
An older African American man and his adult son embrace.

Grief is a natural response to loss, and it can manifest in many different ways. Regardless of what you have lost, the grieving process can be overwhelming and difficult to navigate on one’s own. This is where grief therapy can become an invaluable tool.

Grief therapy is a form of counseling that helps people cope with the emotional, psychological, and physical effects of loss. In this article, we’ll explore what are the stages of grief, as well as different types of grief therapy techniques.

The Five Stages of Grief

The “stages of grief” was developed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, in her book “On Death and Dying” published in 1969. This way of breaking down the emotions associated with loss into different stages became incredibly popular among professionals and individuals alike, and remains popular to this day. The stages of grief include:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

It’s important to note that everyone’s experience with these stages, and grief as a whole, is different. Therefore, you may experience these stages in different ways, at different times. This is why it’s important to develop strong coping skills.

Coping with Grief: Tips and Strategies

In addition to seeking professional help, there are also some things you can do on your own to cope with grief. Here are a few tips and strategies to try:

  • Take care of yourself: Grief can be physically and emotionally draining, so it’s important to take care of yourself. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating well, and engaging in activities that bring you joy.
  • Talk to someone: Whether it’s a friend, family member, or therapist, talking about your feelings can be incredibly helpful in the grieving process.
  • Find a support group: Connecting with others who have experienced similar losses can be a powerful way to cope with grief. Look for support groups in your area or online.
  • Express yourself: Find healthy ways to express your emotions, such as through journaling, art, or exercise.
  • Be patient with yourself: Grief is a process, and it takes time to heal. Be patient with yourself and allow yourself to feel whatever emotions come up.

What Is Grief Therapy

Grief therapy is professional counseling that helps individuals process loss and heal. Grief therapy can be an invaluable tool during times of loss, as often the emotional toll of grieving can be too complex and heavy to shoulder alone. Anyone experiencing loss can benefit from grief therapy, regardless of whether or not you’ve been to therapy in the past.

Types of Grief Therapy

There are several types of grief therapy, each with its own unique approach to helping individuals cope with loss. Depending on how you process grief, you may benefit more from certain types of grief counseling than others. Some of the most common types of grief counseling include:

Narrative therapy

Narrative therapy is a form of therapy that focuses on the stories we tell ourselves about our lives. In grief therapy, this approach can help individuals reframe their loss and find meaning in their experience. By exploring the narrative of their grief, individuals can gain a new perspective and find ways to move forward.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

CBT is a type of therapy that focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors. In grief therapy, CBT can help individuals identify and challenge unhelpful thoughts and behaviors related to their loss. This can lead to a more positive outlook and improved coping skills.

Group therapy

Group therapy involves a small group of individuals who have experienced similar losses. This type of therapy provides a community setting for individuals to process their emotions. Group therapy can be especially beneficial for those who feel isolated in their grief.

Art therapy

Art therapy is a form of therapy that uses creative expression to help individuals process their emotions. In grief therapy, art can be a powerful tool for exploring and expressing feelings that may be difficult to put into words. It can also provide a sense of control and empowerment during a time of loss.

How Grief Therapy Can Help You Heal

Grief therapy can provide a safe and supportive space for individuals to process their emotions and work through their grief. Here are some of the ways it can help you heal:

Validation of emotions

One of the most important aspects of grief therapy is the validation of emotions. People may feel guilty, ashamed, or upset by their own grief, or feel like they should be “over it” if a significant amount of time has passed. In therapy, you’ll be able to express your emotions without judgment and receive validation for your feelings.

Coping strategies

Grief therapy can also provide you with coping strategies to manage your emotions and navigate the grieving process. These strategies may include relaxation techniques, journaling, or mindfulness exercises.

Support and understanding

Grief can be a lonely experience, and it can be difficult to find someone who truly understands what you’re going through. In therapy, you’ll have a trained professional who can provide support and understanding as you work through your grief.

Finding meaning and purpose

Grief can often leave individuals feeling lost and questioning the meaning of life. In therapy, you can explore your values, beliefs, and goals to find a sense of purpose and meaning in your life after loss.

When to Seek Professional Help

While grief is a natural response to loss, it’s important to seek professional help if you’re struggling to cope. Here are some signs that it may be time to seek grief therapy:

  • You’re experiencing intense and prolonged feelings of sadness, guilt, or anger.
  • You’re having trouble completing daily tasks or maintaining relationships.
  • You’re using unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as drugs or alcohol.
  • You’re experiencing physical symptoms, such as headaches or stomachaches, that have no medical explanation.
  • You’re experiencing frequent thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek help from a licensed therapist who specializes in grief therapy. Some individuals may be daunted by how to process their grief in therapy, which is why seeking out specifically trained individuals can be so helpful, as they can provide specific and targeted grief management tools.

Schedule an Assessment

Need help? Call 773-634-9600 to schedule an assessment or receive more information. You may also walk in anytime. We’re here 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Hartgrove Hospital

Hartgrove Hospital is a Modern Behavioral Health Hospital that specializes in personalized treatment for adults, adolescents and children. We pride ourselves on delivering quality care provided by our compassionate and thoughtful staff. Our mission is to restore the emotional well-being of our patients, while giving them the proper resources for their future.

Some of our programs include our inpatient and outpatient services. As well as our trauma and Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP). These programs are offered with an all-encompassing psychiatric healthcare service that is both effective and efficient. Located in Chicago, IL, our facility has a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

To schedule a no-cost assessment or for more information, please call 773-572-7900 .

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Schedule an Assessment

Need help? Call 773-413-1700 to schedule an assessment or receive more information. You may also walk in anytime. We’re here 24 hours a day, seven days a week.