Have you been effected by bereavement & loss? Does it affect your day to day life? Has it affected others? Here is some useful information you will find helpful.

 

What is Bereavement & Loss?

If you have experienced the death of someone who was very important to you, you might be finding it very difficult to adjust to the immense changes happening in your life right now such as just dealing with the loss. Grief can shake everything up – your beliefs, your personality, and even your sense of reality.

Bereavement is the time we spend adjusting to loss. There is no standard time limit and there is no right or wrong way to feel during the bereavement period – everyone must learn to cope in their own way. Grief, although normal, can manifest in a huge range of unexpected ways. Some people get angry, some people withdraw further into themselves and some people become completely numb. Sometimes, grief can turn into something more serious – like depression.

Talking about the loss often allows a person to adjust to their new life with all its changes – good and bad. Keeping things bottled up or denying the sadness could prolong the pain. Any loss has to be acknowledged for us to move forward. Bereavement counselling tries to help clients find a place for their loss so they can carry on with life and eventually find acceptance.

Coping with the loss of a loved one and the resulting mix of emotions can be overwhelming. Allowing yourself time to grieve and come to terms with your own feelings is imperative to finding peace. Though it may seem impossible, you must remember to be patient with yourself and give yourself time to cycle through different emotions and come to a natural feeling of calm and/or acceptance. While you wait, try not to make any major decisions such as moving, changing careers, having a child or getting married that might be made due to overriding emotion rather than logical consideration. Most people find some support a source of comfort when they are bereaved, and seeking out caring friends and relatives, an organised support group or professional help may help you work through your emotions. They will likely also remind you that it is important to express your emotions rather than bottle them up inside, and help you remember that though you have suffered a loss, you are still alive and must live your own life.

Children who experience a sudden and/or profound loss often display and work through their grief in a different manner than do adults. Very often children do not have the vocabulary to express what they are feeling, so it is their behaviour that may become representative of their emotions. Changes in sleeping patterns, bed wetting, eating patterns, thumb sucking and socialising, such as becoming shy or bossy, or avoiding social situations all together, can all be signs of a child trying to cope with bereavement following the loss of a loved one. Children themselves may not even realise that this is what they are doing, for example children will likely not want to bed-wet, and may not have any idea why they have started or how to stop it, so adults must be vigilant in observing changes in children’s behaviour and what these changes may ultimately be communicating.

Bereavement, or the sense of loss experienced by the death of a loved one, will be felt in a different way by each individual. Regardless of what is experienced, time should be taken to work through the emotional aspects of bereavement while care is taken to maintain physical health throughout this time. Children may experience bereavement differently than adults, so their behaviour should be observed as clues to what they may be feeling. Professional help always should be sought if needed to support an individual through bereavement.

Who Does It Effect?

Bereavement and loss can and will affect almost everyone at some point in their life as we will all lose loved ones unfortunately. It can affect all genders, ages, religions, sexual orientations and races. It may however affect us all in different ways. Some of the ways bereavement and loss can affect us are as follows;

Although bereavement is a highly personal and often distressing event, many people go through a range of recognisable reactions and emotions when someone they are close to dies.

Sometimes people are shocked and upset by their changing and powerful emotions when they are bereaved. Realising that these feelings are quite normal may help.

Grief

Grief may affect you emotionally, physically, mentally and also affect the way you relate to others. If the death was expected, you might be telling yourself you should be able to cope, yet you can’t.

When you’re bereaved, you have to cope with a world that can feel as if it’s fallen apart.

In practical terms, your life may have changed dramatically. You may have less money, and have to eat, sleep and live alone for the first time, or be faced with household tasks that you haven’t done before.

Grief can make you feel many different things. It’s important to remember that these feelings are not bad or wrong. They are a normal part of bereavement.

Emptiness and Depression

Feelings of depression and emptiness can hit you when the reality of the death begins to sink in.

Although it may feel almost unbearable at the time, this seems to be a period when some inner healing takes place. Afterwards, people say they feel lighter, more in control of their lives and better able to look forward.

Sadness is a natural response to bereavement, but some people may become depressed. This can be managed and you should see your doctor for help and advice. You don’t have to try to cope on your own.

Anger

You may feel anger at the injustice of your loss, or at the lack of understanding in others.

You might be angry at yourself and at the person who died, who has left you feeling abandoned, frightened and alone.

These feelings are normal. Don’t bottle up your feelings – try to think about the reasons for your anger. Talking about your feelings with someone who isn’t emotionally involved in your loss can help.

Fear

Feeling fearful and anxious is very natural – your familiar world has been turned upside down. You may feel that you have little control over your life, your thoughts and emotions. This is likely to make you feel vulnerable and afraid. But as you get used to coping, you will become more confident.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by fearful thoughts or anxiety, it could help to talk to someone about how you are feeling. theaoc.org.uk/2019

Mixed feelings

It’s normal to have mixed feelings when someone dies. If the person was sick or in pain, you may feel relief as well as sadness when they passed away. This is normal and understandable if you saw someone close to you in pain or discomfort.

If your relationship with them was difficult, this may also lead to mixed feelings about their death. If you suppress upsetting thoughts or feelings, you risk becoming angry, bitter or depressed. It can help to get a better understanding of the relationship by thinking about what was good and what was not, and what you each contributed to it. 

Guilt

Some people experience feelings of guilt when someone dies. You may find yourself wondering if you could have done more to help, or feeling guilty about something you said or didn’t say to them when they were alive.

Guilt is a very natural feeling after bereavement, but it’s important not to dwell on things in the past that you can’t change. Try not to be too hard on yourself or anyone else. 

Worries about practical matters

In addition to the strong emotions that you can experience after a bereavement, you may also have worries about practical issues, such as how to manage on a smaller income and handle household tasks. It’s important to seek advice if you are struggling to manage, so you can get the help you need.

Facts & Statistics

  • Over 41,000 children are bereaved of a parent each year in the UK.
  • Approximately 2 children are bereaved of a parent every hour of every day in the UK.
  • Approximately 1 in 25 children and young people have experienced bereavement of a parent or sibling.
  • 6% of 5 to 16 year olds have experienced the death of a close friend of the family; this equates to 537,450 children in the UK.
  • The incident of childhood bereavement in youth offenders can be up to 10 times higher (41%) than the national average (4%).
  • 3 out of 4 bereaved people (75%) rate the overall quality of end of life care for their relative as outstanding, excellent or good; 1 out of 10 (10%) rated care as poor.
  • 2129 children and young people died between the ages of 1 and 19, that is around 6 children and young people per day.
  • 2103 babies died within 4 weeks of birth.
  • A further 911 babies died before reaching their first birthday.

 

Examples of People Who have or Experienced Bereavement & Loss

“Shying Away from Another 9/11 Anniversary” Abigail Carter

 

 

“A Father’s Perspective: How Early and Later Grief Are Different”David Roberts

 

 

“Birthdays and the ‘Could Have Beens’Bart Sumner

 

 

“A Decade: My Grief Journey in Reflection”Ashley Hardin

 

 

“Not Broken”Angel Malone

 

All of the above stories were shared from Hello Grief;

http://www.hellogrief.org/topics/personal-stories/

The Arts of Change. The 'Base'

How Can it be Treated?

The AOC can help you if you are still feeling the effects of losing a loved one. We are HCPC (Health & Care Professions Council) registered and also members of BACP (The British Association of Dramatherapists). We have a team of highly skilled, professional counsellors and associate therapists to help you through with the use of creative art therapies.

Creative art therapies involve using arts in a therapeutic environment with a trained therapist. You do not need to have any artistic skill or previous experience of dance, drama, music or visual art to find arts therapies helpful. The aim isn’t to produce a great work of art, but to use what you create to understand yourself better. In arts therapy, your therapist helps you to create something — such as a piece of music, a drawing, a play or a dance routine — as a way of expressing your feelings, often without using words.

Creative art therapies can be offered in group sessions, one-to-one or with family therapy depending on your own preference. We will match you to our best suited therapist/counsellor to help you with any of your issues. All our counselling is strictly confidential and nothing said in the therapy space will leave the room.

There are many different modalities in which creative arts can be offered to you ranging from the following;

 Drama/Puppetry
Offers profound reflection on who we are and the roles we play. These art forms are also centrally concerned with how people change people, for better or worse, and the sort of connections they make with each other, e.g. superficial, conflictual, brutal, deadened or deeply enriching. Drama and puppetry can also offer vital insights into ‘situation’: how past situations are still colouring those in the present. Working with puppets is ideal for circumventing a reluctance to speak about feelings.

Sculpture/Clay
Sculpture offers a person the power to speak through touch. Its power lies more in the emotional resonance of substance. Sculpture invites a sensual engagement with the world. Clay expresses qualities and forms of feeling, directly, plainly, free of the clutter of any associations of the everyday.

Poetry
Literal words can misrepresent, underplay, hide rather than reveal and frequently offering only approximations to any recalled experience. In poetry as a multi-sensorial form, ‘amplifies the music of what happens’ (Seamus Heaney). ‘A poetic basis of mind’ (Hillman) can lead to a far more profound experience of life.

Sandplay
Clients choose from a whole world of miniature people, animals and buildings and arrange them in the controlled space of the ‘theatre of the sandbox’. This theatre then offers a profound overview of important life issues. Once feelings are organised and externalised in sandplay, they can be contemplated from a distance, and then assimilated.

Music
The dynamic forms in music are recognisable as vital forms of felt life: the rises and falls, the surges and flooding’s, the tensions and intensities, the changes in tempo, the dissonances, harmonies and resolutions. We know these forms intimately in our emotional experiencing. Music can convey the full qualitative and energetic aspects of an important relationship, atmosphere crucial event, or ongoing situation.

Bodywork/Movement
Forms encapture the complex inter-relations between time, weight, space, flow. We know these forms intimately in our emotional experiencing, so much so that both movement and still pose can provoke all manner of resonance. It is also possible to work with what the body is already communicating symbolically, whether through posture, gesture and gait, or through illness and injury. Movement is integral to the very process of change.

http://artspsychotherapy.org/iate-training/arts-psychotherapy-courses?gclid=CI-hrYfz280CFTUz0wodvl8Oag

 If you would like to receive counselling from The AOC please fill out on of our online referral forms and send to support@theaoc.org.uk You will have a choice of 3 different types of referral forms;

  1. For individuals or couples
  2. Family referral form
  3. Group referral form

Please select the referral form most suited to you i.e. if you would like group therapy, fill out the group referral form.

Simply click the following link to find out more information and complete one of our referral forms:

https://www.theaoc.org.uk/about-the-arts-of-change/self-referral-therapy-forms/

We provide our clients with high-quality, evidence based expertise in the form of personal therapy and counselling. To help anyone suffering with any type of eating disorder.

Here is an example of a creative art therapy from The AOC in more detail;

Dramatherapy

Dramatherapy is a form of psychological therapy/psychotherapy in which all of the performance arts are utilised within the therapeutic relationship. Dramatherapy addresses a wide range of personal and emotional difficulties. Clients who are referred to a dramatherapist do not need to have previous experience or skill in acting, theatre or drama. Dramatherapists are trained to enable clients to find the most suitable medium for them to engage in group or individual therapy to address and resolve, or make troubling issues more bearable. Dramatherapists work in a wide variety of settings with people of all ages:

  • in schools
  • in mental health
  • in general health and social care settings
  • in prisons
  • in hospices
  • in the voluntary sector
  • in private practice

Dramatherapists are both artists and clinicians and draw on their trainings in theatre, drama and therapy to create methods to engage clients in effecting psychological, emotional and social changes.  The therapy gives equal validity to body and mind within the dramatic context; stories, myths, play-texts, puppetry, masks and improvisation are examples of the range of artistic interventions a dramatherapist may employ.  These will enable the client to explore difficult and painful life experiences through a creative-expressive approach. Dramatherapists are trained in both psychological and arts-specific assessment and evaluation techniques. They are committed to generating practice-based evidence and deliver sound evidence-based practice.

The British Association of Dramatherapists (BADth)

 

We can also offer our clients integrative counselling;

Integrative Counselling

Integrative therapy, or integrative counselling is a combined approach to psychotherapy that brings together different elements of specific therapies. Integrative therapists take the view that there is no single approach that can treat each client in all situations. Each person needs to be considered as a whole and counselling techniques must be tailored to their individual needs and personal circumstances. 

Integrative counselling maintains the idea that there are many ways in which human psychology can be explored and understood – no one theory holds the answer. All theories are considered to have value, even if their foundational principles contradict each other – hence the need to integrate them. 

The integrative approach also refers to the infusion of a person’s personality and needs – integrating the affective, behavioural, cognitive, and physiological systems within one person, as well as addressing social and spiritual aspects. Essentially, integrative counsellors are not only concerned with what works, but why it works – tailoring therapy to their clients and not the client to the therapy.

Top Health Tips

  1. Express yourself – Talking is often a good way to soothe painful emotions. Talking to a friend, family member, health professional or counsellor can begin the healing process.
  2. Allow yourself to feel sad –It’s a healthy part of the grieving process. 
  3. Keep your routine up – Keeping up simple things like walking the dog can help.
  4. Sleep –Emotional strain can make you very tired.
  5. Eat healthily –A healthy, well-balanced diet will help you cope.
  6. Avoid things that “numb” the pain, such as alcohol –It will make you feel worse once the numbness wears off.
  7. Contact us – The AOC can help your overcome and put a stop to the sexual abuse you may be experiencing/experienced. Call or email us: 07568 568131 / support@theaoc.org.uk