What to Expect from Treatment

When you experience loss of any kind, it can be devastating. Grief is a natural part of the healing process when one has lost a loved one or something else of significant importance in life. Everyone deals with grief differently, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), but individuals who find themselves paralyzed and unable to move forward with their lives can benefit from grief treatment.

In many ways, the therapeutic elements of grief treatment are very similar to treatment for depression; another mental health issue that can be hard to overcome independently. When people are grieving, they are already facing enough stress. The last thing people need is to feel additional anxiety because they are not sure what to expect when they begin the grief treatment process.

What to Expect from the Grief Treatment Options

There are a couple of options when it comes to choosing a facility to treat grief and help the healing process. Therefore, it’s possible to select an option with which the patient is the most comfortable on an emotional level.  What the patient can expect when he or she steps into a grief treatment program depends upon the structure of mental health treatment selected. There are two main options outlined below that can help patients align their expectations.

  1. Outpatient grief treatment – Mental health treatment is often done on an outpatient basis, provided individuals are not a danger to themselves or others due to their mental state. Outpatient grief counseling allows patients to live at home and maintain their normal lives. Appointments are scheduled with a grief counselor for one-on-one therapy sessions.
  2. Inpatient grief treatment – Individuals who require more intensive treatment may also choose to receive inpatient mental health care to deal with grief. At its core, inpatient mental health treatment requires that patients live onsite at the treatment facility and stick to a regimented program. Depending upon the treatment center, each day’s activities can look a little bit different but may involve one-on-one counseling with a grief counselor, group support sessions and other scenarios that can boost confidence and generally increase good feelings in those struggling with grief.

Once the type of grief counseling has been selected, grief treatment involves the same general process to help patients move through the stages of grief and walk away with specific accomplished goals.

Navigating Through the Stages

Typically, if someone is receiving treatment to help deal with grief, it’s because they are failing to navigate their way through the stages of grief effectively.  In grief treatment, professional grief counselors will help patients work their way through the following stages that lead to natural healing.

  1. Denial – The first stage of grief involves numbness or a sense of denial as patients refuse to accept that the person or thing they’ve lost is gone forever. This is often the stage where treatment is especially beneficial as a grief counselor can help patients come to terms with reality, while the other steps help them cope.
  2. Yearning – Missing someone who is gone is perfectly normal, but it’s also important to learn to cope with the feelings of anxiety or frustration. Grief treatment can also help patients accept that they can move forward; however, they cannot fill the void by replacing that important person; that belief will only lead to frustration.
  3. Reorganization – A grief counselor can walk patients through this stage of grief in which they try to reorganize their lives and habits in a way that will allow them to work through the grief and stop allowing their mental health issues to hold them back from their life goals.

As grief treatment works to walk patients through these three stages of grief from the NCI, there are also emotional goals that can be accomplished. It is important to recognize the stages individually in order to align expectations and be better prepared to work the process.

Goals Patients Are Expected to Meet

There are some specific measurable goals that grief counselors will expect patients to meet in order to effectively navigate their way through the stages of grief.  Meeting the goals may not be easy, but can have long-term benefits when it comes to healing from grief.

  • Start talking – One goal of grief counseling is to start talking. Some individuals struggling with grief keep their emotions bottled up, but without talking there is no moving forward.
  • Identify emotions – A grief counselor will ask patients to work at identifying their emotions. Once they’ve recognized and verbalized what they’re feeling, whether sad, angry or anything in between, patients can learn how to manage these emotions appropriately.
  • Acknowledge acceptance – People struggling with grief may feel guilty about the way that they’re handling it or they can feel isolated. Another goal of grief counseling is to help patients recognize that everyone does deal with grief differently and reacts in different ways.

It Doesn’t Disappear Overnight

Everyone heals and makes their way through the stages of grief at a different pace. Patients who begin grief treatment and expect to see immediate results will only feel additional anxiety and stress. There is no set time-line for overcoming grief as long as patients in grief treatment are making positive steps forward.

Where to Find Help

To find grief counseling in your area, consult with a mental health professional or ask your medical doctor for a referral. You can also contact us today for information on a treatment center near you.