Grief and Loss Counselling
Hi there, my name is Myriame, and I’m a Registered Clinical Counsellor in Canada offering grief counselling for people living in Vancouver and across British Columbia.
You may be feeling sad about a recent loss, disconnected from or unsupported by family and friends, or feeling alone after being diagnosed with a chronic condition. I see you, and I’m here to help.
As a bereavement counsellor, I have a passion for helping people move forward with their grief through emotional awareness and resilience, mindfulness, and evidence-based practices.
If you’re curious about moving forward with experiences of bereavement, schedule a free phone consultation with me today.
My approach to grief counselling
The ways in which people and professionals approach grief and loss (or bereavement) has changed over the decades. The five stages of grief model (or the Kübler-Ross model) is a popularized approach to bereavement that has helped many understand and move through their grief and loss. The five stages of this model (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) can be used as a directional map (or steps) out of grief. More recently, Kübler-Ross’ linear model has been challenged and is no longer the end-all-be-all of the bereavement process.
As a Vancouver bereavement counsellor, I have found that most of us cycle back through these five stages (and others) at any time during our life. Take the anniversary of a loved one’s death, the 6 month check-up appointment with the neurologist, a new symptom showing up a few months or years of being diagnosed with a chronic condition. These experiences can trigger you to feel all the emotions of grief and loss again. Instead of a linear path of bereavement, the journey of grief and loss is more convoluted, twisted and cyclical. Perhaps it looks more like this >>>>
I find the cyclical model of bereavement (right image above) much more realistic and permission-giving. Of course, your journey through grief and loss won’t look the same as others. Your experience is unique to you and your life. There is no “right way” of grieving. Bereavement is a non-linear process, and your human-ness is your ability to live through grief and loss.
In the counselling space that we create together, we may explore your current and past experiences with bereavement to help you find ways to move forward with the loss or changes. While it can be helpful, in some cases, to talk about the past, lots of healing work can be done without sharing past experiences. You talk about what you want to talk about.
It is normal to come into session with tears in your eyes, constriction in your throat or chest and an overall feeling of emotional pain and heaviness. You might be needing space to talk about the recent death of a loved one, the change of your imagined future, your experience of being diagnosed with a chronic condition and dealing with symptom changes, or your inability to parent the way that you imagined or wanted to. Your experience of bereavement is your own. Let’s make room to honour it together.
If you have any questions about getting started with grief counselling sessions in Vancouver or BC or any other questions about bereavement, feel free to get in touch.
Grief Counselling in BC FAQs
What support is available to someone who is grieving?
There are many different types of support services that are available to those who are grieving. For instance, you can connect with your local hospice society if you’ve recently lost a loved one. If you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic condition, you can connect with the provincial or local organization that serves and supports others with the same diagnosis. You might also want to connect with a bereavement counsellor, like myself, to create individual space for you to process the loss or changes that you have experienced.
Is bereavement the same as grief?
Bereavement, grief, loss, mourning are states that all fall under the same umbrella: feelings of sadness. Grief is often referred to as the emotional state that comes directly after a physical loss (such as a death) or a social/symbolic loss (such as losing a job or getting a divorce). Bereavement, on the other hand, is known to be the state of, or period of, time in which people grieve their loss. Bereavement can be shorter or longer depending on the individual and the type of loss.
Does grief last forever?
Not necessarily. It really depends on the individual’s perceptions of loss and their ability to reimagine their life after a loss. For some, grief comes in a package (small or big) and they are able to acknowledge the package, what it contains and put it on an imaginary shelf that stores other packages that have been ‘dealt with’ and which doesn’t need revisiting unless in special circumstances. For others, grief can be a process of acknowledgement and then learning to move forward in life with the loss. For these individuals, it’s like wearing a new piece of jewelry. At first the piece may not be comfortable, but other times there is an adjustment that happens and the piece is barely noticeable. In this case, grief may last forever, but its discomfort subsides over time as individuals learn to live with the experience of loss and change their perceptions of it.
How do you stop grieving?
There are so many strategies that an individual can use to stop grieving. As a Vancouver bereavement counsellor who works from an emotionally focused place, I believe that in order to move forward with a loss individuals will need to:
Slow their mind and body down. Move away from the storyline in your head. Use a calming or grounding strategy to slow down, such as deep slow breathing X 5, Butterfly Hug, 54321 grounding, movement (walking, swaying, rocking, standing).
Close your eyes and mentally scan your entire body. Take note of what you notice. What physical sensations in your body do you become aware of?
Name the core emotion(s) (fear, sadness, anger, disgust, joy, excitement, sexual excitement) that is associated with the physical sensations that you’ve noticed.
Describe the core emotion(s). When you sit with the physical sensations in your body and name which core emotion(s) the sensations are, can you then describe what the emotions are about? For instance, you might be feeling grossed out about a colleague’s advances or feeling happy to be snuggling with your cat.
Breathe deeply into your stomach to help move through the emotion(s). The physical sensations will stop when the energy is released. Stay with it; keep breathing. We can't think our way out of emotions because they are embodied experiences.
What does grief do to your body?
Grief can do many things to your body, especially if you do not learn to name and feel the emotions of the loss. Some common ways that grief might show up in the body are: heaviness, fatigue, loss of concentration, low motivation, depression, crying, irritation, anger, lack of or too much sleep, loss or increase in appetite and much more. If you notice such experiences, there is a way out. Talking to a bereavement counsellor, like me, can get you unstuck and feeling better.
What is considered the final stage of grief?
I'm uncertain whether a final stage of grief actually exists. Saying that someone can arrive at the last or final stage of grief sounds too rigid and dismissing of other life experiences that might influence whether or not someone’s loss is resurfaced. What I am certain of though is an individual’s ability to move forward with experiences of loss. The ability to hold and carry the loss with compassion is the final stage in my mind. It may not heal or resolve it completely, but it does soften the loss - making it less distressing and more tolerable.
Get Grief Counselling in BC from a Bereavement Counsellor
I know taking the first step to getting support is hard. Thank you for being here.
“Shopping around” for a counsellor is normal, and it can take some time to find the right one. If you feel a tad bit curious about me or my counselling services, please reach out for a free 15 minutes phone consultation to see if I’m the right fit for you.