When a person suffers a bereavement, they may decide not to have grief counselling, even though they could actually greatly benefit from it. Here are some of the reasons why a person might make this mistake.
They mistook their emotional numbness or disassociation for recovery
Everyone reacts differently to bereavement. Whilst a lot of people have a very intense emotional response, which may result in them spending a lot of time crying, talking about the deceased or lashing out in anger, others find that they feel emotionally numb and completely detached from this event.
This numbness or full-blown disassociation can result in a person convincing themselves that they have somehow managed to recover from this loss without having counselling, joining a bereavement support group or doing any other type of work to process their grief. The reality is, that this response is simply a protective mechanism that the person subconsciously employs in order to avoid the extreme pain that this loss would otherwise make them feel.
It is not, however, a real form of recovery, and the detachment and numbness will not last forever. If a person who is experiencing this response to a bereavement does not have grief counselling, they may, when the psychological floodgates finally open and their repressed feelings come to the surface, feeling totally consumed by their grief and become unable to even get out of bed or articulate their emotions. Conversely, if they speak to a counsellor at an earlier stage, the counsellor can help them to broach the subject of death and loss, in a gradual and gentle manner that will not traumatise them.
They believe that only psychologically-weak people need grief counselling
The other reason that tends to keep people from getting grief counselling, is the misguided belief that only those who are weak require this type of help and that by having this treatment, they will somehow be acknowledging that they are not strong or capable enough to handle their loss. This is simply untrue.
Grief counselling is not an easy experience and actually, having it is a very courageous step for a bereaved person to take. It requires a person to face their extremely intense emotions head-on and to then process these emotions (by using mindfulness and cognitive behavioural techniques) instead of burying them. It takes a lot of strength and resilience to do this. As such, a person in these circumstances should not chastise themselves for seeking counselling, but should instead give themselves a figurative pat on the back for making this brave and sensible decision.
For more information, reach out to grief counsellor services in your area.