What is Grief Counseling?

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What is Grief Counseling?

Jennifer Nelson

Written by Jennifer Nelson

Jennifer Nelson

Jennifer Nelson

Jennifer is a contributing health writer who has been researching and writing health content with PlushCare for 3 years. She is passionate about bringing accessible healthcare and mental health services to people everywhere.

May 18, 2021 / Read Time 4 minutes

Grief Counseling Overview

Have you experienced a loss that you’re having a hard time overcoming on your own? Grief counseling may help. What is grief counseling? How does it help? Can you get grief counseling online? Let’s take a look at the stages of grief and how grief counseling can help you cope.

  1. 1

    Browse our network of top therapist to find one that matches your needs.

  2. 2

    Get private and secure emotional support weekly from your dedicated therapist.

  3. 3

    Experience comprehensive care with unlimited access to your care team and primary care physician.

What Is Grief Counseling?

Grief counseling is a type of therapy designed to help people cope with a loss. That loss may be the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, the breakup of a romantic relationship, or any other type of sudden loss. It gives people a place to talk about their emotions and learn how to deal with their loss.

While anybody struggling with a loss could benefit from grief counseling, it’s especially helpful for people whose grief:

  • Makes it harder to live their life

  • Negatively impacts existing relationships

  • Interferes with daily activities

  • Causes feelings of depression or guilt

Benefits of Grief Counseling

Grief counseling has a number of benefits. It can help you:

  • Identify behaviors and strategies for helping you cope and re-engage with life

  • Grieve at your own pace

  • Focus on you and your journey

  • Make your own choices

  • Accept your loss

  • Work through the stages of grief in a safe space

  • Understand the stages of grief

  • Find comfort in positive memories without feeling overwhelmed

What to Expect From Grief Counseling

A grief counselor is specially trained to build a comfortable, safe environment and a trusting relationship with you. The goal is to create a space where you feel comfortable talking about all your emotions regarding your grieving process.

Then, the therapist will ask specific questions about the nature of your relationship with the person you are grieving. Therapy will look different for people who had a good relationship with the deceased than those who had a more complicated or negative relationship.

Some techniques the grief counselor may use include:

  • Distinguishing grief from trauma

  • Talking about the deceased person

  • Addressing feelings of guilt

Read More: Online Counseling Services

Stages of Grief

In 1969, Swiss-American psychiatrist Elizabeth Kübler-Ross wrote in her book “On Death and Dying” that grief could be divided into five stages. These five stages of grief are widely recognized, although some therapists recognize as few as two stages of grief or as many as seven.

However many stages of grief there are, not everybody will go through every stage. Not everybody goes through the stages in the same order, either. It’s also possible to go back through stages you’ve already experienced.

Since the five stages of grief are the most well-known, let’s take a closer look at them.


Grief can be overwhelming, and it’s totally normal to respond to it by pretending the loss isn’t happening. Denying a loss gives you more time to process and accept it. Eventually, though, the feelings you have denied will rise to the surface.


Anger can help hide other feelings you aren’t ready to deal with yet. The anger may be directed at the deceased person, other people around you, or even inanimate objects. Once anger starts to fade, it’s replaced by other emotions.


While bargaining may involve making promises to a higher power for relief from grief, the bargaining stage of grief is more about “if only” and “what if” statements. For example, “If only I had done this thing, this person would still be alive.”


Depression often feels like a “quiet” stage of grief compared to the others. You might choose to isolate yourself from others, and you might feel confused or foggy. This is the stage where you start to really work through and process your emotions.


Acceptance doesn’t mean you’re automatically happy or fine. It simply means you’ve come to accept the loss and understand what it means. You may still have bad days, but hopefully the good days will start to outnumber the bad ones.

Related: Major Depressive Disorder Symptoms

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does Mourning Last?

The grief process is different for everybody. It could last days, weeks, months, or even years.

How Does Grief Counseling Help?

There are a number of ways that grief counseling can help with your mourning process. It can help you:

  • Cope with your loss

  • Address any feelings of guilt

  • Express your emotions

  • Treat your trauma

  • Accept your new reality

  • Build a support system

  • Learn how to make decisions on your own

  • Separate emotionally from the deceased person

  • Understand your coping methods

  • Get extra support on birthdays, anniversaries, and other important events

How Can I Find Grief Counseling Near Me?

An online search can provide you with some local recommendations. Other places to find grief counseling include:

  • Hospitals

  • Churches

  • Universities and colleges

  • Support groups

  • Funeral homes

  • Department of Veterans Affairs

  • National Military Survivor Helpline

  • National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

  • PlushCare’s online therapy

  1. 1

    Browse our network of top therapist to find one that matches your needs.

  2. 2

    Get private and secure emotional support weekly from your dedicated therapist.

  3. 3

    Experience comprehensive care with unlimited access to your care team and primary care physician.

Online Grief Counseling

Grief therapy doesn’t have to involve going across town and spending an hour wearing a mask during your appointment. Online grief counseling with PlushCare is much more convenient. In many cases, it’s also more affordable than traditional therapy.

At PlushCare, you can schedule a video session with a licensed therapist. Stay home where you’re comfortable while still getting grief counseling to help you move past your loss.

Not sure if online grief counseling is right for you? You can book a free 15-minute consultation. Click here to book a free consultation or start your first therapy session today.

Read More About Grief Counseling


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