How to Support a Grieving Friend
Sharing grief with a friend can be difficult and painful. Perhaps a friend or close relative has lost a spouse and you wish to be as supportive as possible. Or someone you are close to has lost a child. That person needs support, and you, as a friend, are in a good position to help.
Supporting your friend is a difficult job and it is even more difficult if you are also mourning the loss. Self care is equally as important as caring for your friend. You may find that in addition to grief for the loss in your own life, you may also experience guilt that they experienced the loss instead of you. Anger, sadness, fear of another loss are all feelings that may surround a death. These feelings can make it difficult to be with the person closest to the loss. Such feelings are perfectly normal, but may be troubling when they occur. It is complicated by the fact that you feel the loss as well.
You may wonder what role you should play in the circle of support. Sometimes it is hard to call or visit when you aren’t sure what to say or how to help. The loss caused by death is so profound we often feel inadequate to help and support a friend. You may need someone to talk with for support. A professional can provide help.
How does relationship counseling help in a time of loss? First, the relationship in question doesn’t have to be a marriage, your friendships are also relationships that can experience strain. When you meet with a counselor, you can say anything, something you cannot do with a grieving friend. A professional can help you recognize and acknowledge all the things you are feeling, something a friend may not be able to do. During your private session, your therapist’s only goal is to help you.
Getting help is an important part of taking care of yourself. If you can talk to someone outside the immediate circle of support, that will help you process the feelings, preserve your own sense of well being and assist you in supporting your friend.
Coping with your own grief and loss and that of someone close to you can be overwhelming at times. You don’t have to face it alone. The therapists at Vermont Talk Therapy have a lot of experience in working through grief. Give us a call.