If you've recently lost a loved one and are finding it hard to cope, then you may have decided to book some sessions with a bereavement counsellor. You can't see a way to manage your feelings and move on on your own, so you want professional help.
However, when you talk to your GP or to local counselling services, they tell you that you don't have to have counselling immediately. You might benefit from waiting for a few months. Why might it be a good idea to wait?
You'll Have a Lot of Feelings to Deal With
The first few weeks and months after bereavement are full of different emotions. During this period, you'll go through a lot of different grief stages, and you may feel that your emotions are changing all the time. This is a perfectly natural process. Full grieving takes time and invokes a lot of different feelings, from shock to pain through to anger and acceptance.
While a counsellor can help guide you through each of these stages, some people find it more useful to wait a few months before they start therapy. They find that it helps to have gone through all the initial stages of grief before they take stock and start talking about their bereavement.
Your Support Network Will Change
If you have a lot of family and friends around you, then you are likely to get a lot of support immediately after the death of your loved one. The people around you will also be grieving, so you can share these experiences. Plus, the people who love you will want to look after you. They'll want to help you through the funeral and then to start to negotiate life afterwards.
However, other people often move on more quickly than you can. For example, if you have lost a spouse, then your friends will grieve with you to start, but they won't have the depth of feelings that you have.
Once the funeral is done and your life starts to go back to your new normal, then you may feel that you lose some support. People might try to encourage you to move on; they may be less comfortable talking to you about your bereavement as time passes. This can be a lonely time. It's also the ideal time to have counselling to get the additional support you need.
Bear in mind that your needs for bereavement counselling are individual to you and your situation. If you aren't sure when to start, make an initial appointment with a counselling service to talk about your options.