Counselling for grief after bereavement or loss

Bereavement Counselling Plymouth

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Some thoughts about grief

  • Grief comes in many forms
  • Your grief is as individual as your life.
  • Grieving is a process, not something you should “get over” and/or “move on from”.
  • Grief impacts your personality, belief system, and sense of reality.
  • Bereavement is what happens to you; grief is what you feel; mourning is what you do.

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Bereavement and loss

People can experience grief after all kinds of different losses, including:

  • Sudden loss (murder, accidents, suicide)
  • Terminal illness
  • End of life care
  • Pregnancy loss
  • Child and infant loss
  • Stillbirth
  • Loss of a pet
  • Loss of a parent, sibling, spouse, or partner
  • Loss of a job/career

Responses to grief

Everyone responds differently to grief after bereavement or loss.  Here are some common grief reactions:


  • “It’s my fault they died.”
  • “People I care about are going to die.”
  • “Why did they leave me?”
  • “It’s not fair.”
  • “The world is not a safe place.”
  • “Why?”
  • “What if?”

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  • Anger
  • Lonely
  • Disbelief
  • Despair
  • Abandoned
  • Anxious
  • Sad
  • Yearning
  • Relieved
  • Numbness
  • Overwhelmed
  • Bitter
  • Confused
  • Disorientated
  • Shame
  • Heartache
  • Happy memories
  • Mood swings
  • Nightmares
  • Suicidal
  • Fear of the dark
  • Sadness
  • Shock
  • Self-blame
  • Guilt


  • Behavioural problems e.g. lashing out
  • Risk taking behaviour, or self harm.
  • Loss of confidence.
  • Poor punctuality.
  • Difficulties with concentration and learning.
  • Being withdrawn, clingy, preoccupied or becoming forgetful.

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  • Shock.
  • Sweating, butterflies, constricted throat, nausea.
  • Sensation of a weight on shoulders, neck and head.
  • Exhaustion, aches and pains.
  • Affected appetite, sleep, bladder or bowel control.
  • Decreased resistance to illness.
  • Present similar symptoms to the person who has died.
  • Restlessness

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Complicated grief

Grief is a natural response, however, prolonged symptoms can mean intervention is sometimes necessary.

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People who keep everything bottled up inside and/or deny their sadness can have a sustained period of pain, which can sometimes develop into complicated grief.


Elephant in the Room by Terry Kettering

Elephant's face, black and white

There’s an elephant in the room.
It is large and squatting, so it is hard to get around it.
Yet we squeeze by with, “How are you?” and “I’m fine,” and a thousand other forms of
trivial chatter. We talk about the weather. We talk about work.
We talk about everything else, except the elephant in the room.
There’s an elephant in the room.
We all know it’s there. We are thinking about the elephant as we talk together.
It is constantly on our minds. For, you see, it is a very large elephant.
It has hurt us all.
But we don’t talk about the elephant in the room.
Oh, please say his (her) name.
Oh, please say his (her) name again.
Oh, please, let’s talk about the elephant in the room.
For if we talk about his (her) death, perhaps we can talk about his (her) life.
Can I say his (her) name to you and not have you look away?
For if I cannot, then you are leaving me….
In a room….
With an elephant.

Benefits of grief counselling

  • Helps you to talk about your loss and cope with the changes you face.
  • Reduces feelings of isolation.
  • Guides you towards finding ways to cope.
  • Supports you to memorialise (make memories) and maintain a connection with your loved one.

Grief counselling Plymouth

I am trained in grief counselling and have experience of working with individuals and families who are struggling to come to terms with different types of bereavement and loss.

A safe space

I offer a quiet, undisturbed and safe space for you to mourn your loss and express your grief.

To find out more about bereavement counselling or book a FREE 15 minute initial phone consultation, please telephone Frances on 0740 865994 or send an email