An image of a person sitting alone by the ocean. Used on a page for grief counseling

Have you lost someone you love?

Grief is something we all experience at some point in our lives. It’s painful and hard. In grieving, we can experience mixed and conflicting emotions that can leave us confused, frustrated, and depressed. Everyone has their own unique experience of grief. People may try to tell you that there are things you should be doing or that there is some kind of universal cap on the amount of time you should be grieving. No two people look the same in grief. It’s important for you to be able to experience your own individual grieving process. Being open to your emotions and experiencing them as a normal part of grieving is key.

An image of a person sitting alone by the ocean. Used on a page for grief counseling

Grief can bring up lots of difficult emotions

When thinking about grief, people often think of sadness, but lots of other complicated emotions can come up too. You can feel frustration and anger about the way it happened, about interactions with family members, and about things you have to take care of afterwards. In cases where your loved one was ill for a long time, you might feel a sense of happiness for the fact that they aren’t suffering anymore. You might feel some fear around thoughts of being alone. Simply being exposed to death reminds us of our own mortality and can make us fearful of losing more loved ones or dying ourselves.

One of the most common feelings I see people struggle with in grief counseling is guilt. So many of us hold on to the idea that there is something we could have done differently or “better”. These thoughts can haunt us and replay in our heads. Grief can also make people depressed. Depression is so common among those who are grieving that up until 2013, the American Psychological Association (in the DSM IV), indicated that depression should not be diagnosed in those who are grieving until 2 months after the loss of a loved one.

Navigating grief can be hard

Sometimes grief can feel especially hard, overpowering, or depressing. If you are having any of these feelings, or the loss of your loved one was traumatic, you may want to consider grief counseling. I help people who are grieving by providing a safe, nonjudgmental, supportive environment for them to process their thoughts and emotions around the loss of their loved ones.

The only place I have really seen people go “wrong” in their grief is when they try to bottle it up and avoid it. Its important for you to be able to have the space you need to process your thoughts and feelings around your loss. It’s going to hurt for a while, and opening up to the pain can be difficult, but avoiding it can result in emotional scars that manifest in symptoms long after your loss.

Sometimes grief can feel scary, unsafe, or traumatic. Grief counseling helps by giving you the space, safety, and support to open up to your own grieving process and feel what you need to feel. In many ways, healing from the loss of a loved one is an oxymoron. All the hard emotions you feel are what is hurting you, but you heal by being open to them and experiencing them as they come.

Grief is hard for everybody

Nobody enjoys grief. I have met some people who are really open to their emotions and allow themselves to grieve, but grief hurts even for them. I often tell people that when grief goes well it acts like a pendulum. You will feel sadness and other hard emotions, but if you are open to them and accept them as a normal part of grief and loss, then your pendulum will eventually swing into more positive thoughts and emotions. Over time the swings between sadness and happiness will become less frequent or extreme. Through being open to your own grieving process you will grow into a place where you will eventually only visit the sadness on occasion and not feel engulfed by it.

Grief counseling with me

I have been working with people in grief counseling since 2008. Because grief affects everybody at some point in their lives, many clients I see in therapy process grief and loss with me in some way. As a therapist I am very attachment oriented. This means that I put emphasis on the role of important relationships in our lives and the basic human need to be loved and accepted by those who are dear to us. Attachment theory holds that our sense of safety and security in the world is strongly affected by our connections to our loved ones. The loss of someone you love can significantly impact many aspects of your life and generally shake your feelings of safety and security. I help through sitting with you in your pain, exploring your thoughts and feelings, and providing care and support in your time of need.

If you have lost someone you love and feel like you are experiencing some trouble in your grief, or just need someone to talk to, give me a call for a free phone consultation. We can talk about what has happened and how I might be able to help you in grief counseling.

Joe Borders, MFT
Grief Counseling in Roseville and Sacramento
(530) 448-6602

1722 Professional Drive,
Sacramento, CA 95825
775 Sunrise Ave., suite 110
Roseville, Ca 95661

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