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Supporting Your Child Through Grief: Professional Grief Counselling

grieving girl comforted by her grandmother

Grief is a natural, yet complex, emotional response to loss. When a child experiences the death of a loved one or another significant loss, they may struggle to understand and cope with the intense emotions that accompany grief. It’s essential for parents to recognise the impact of grief on their child's well-being and provide the necessary support.

Children grieve differently than adults. They may display their grief through changes in behaviour, such as withdrawal, acting out, or regression. It’s crucial to remember that every child grieves in their own unique way, and the grieving process can vary in duration. Some children may recover relatively quickly, while others may require more time and support.


The Importance of Professional Grief Counselling

Professional grief counselling can play a vital role in helping children navigate the complex emotions of grief. Grief counsellors are trained professionals who specialise in supporting individuals through the grieving process. They possess the knowledge and skills to help children express their emotions, develop coping strategies, and find healthy ways to grieve.

One of the significant benefits of professional grief counselling is that it provides a safe and confidential space for children to explore their emotions. Counsellors create an environment where children feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings without judgement. This non-judgmental support is crucial in helping children process their grief and move towards healing. Another benefit is that many grief counsellors are creatively trained and will be able to help the child express their feelings through art, play or other creative methods. This is a powerful approach as the child may feel much more comfortable exploring the thoughts and feelings that seem too painful or unsafe in this way, rather than face them ‘head on’. 


Benefits of Grief Counselling for Children

Grief counselling offers numerous benefits for children who are navigating the challenging journey of loss. Firstly, counsellors can help children gain a deeper understanding of their emotions and the impact of loss on their lives. By providing a safe place for children to express themselves, grief counsellors empower children to explore their feelings and make sense of their experiences.

Furthermore, grief counselling equips children with valuable coping strategies. Counsellors can teach children various techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, journaling, or engaging in creative expression, that can help manage their grief-related emotions. These coping strategies not only help children navigate their current grief but also equip them with lifelong skills to cope with future challenges.

Another key benefit of grief counselling is its potential to reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness. Children may feel like they are the only ones experiencing such intense emotions, leading to a sense of isolation. Grief counsellors can connect children with support groups or other children who have experienced similar losses, creating a sense of belonging and understanding.


Supporting Your Child at Home During the Grieving Process

As a parent, your role in supporting your child through grief is invaluable. While grief counselling can provide professional support, there are several ways you can support your child at home:

Encourage open communication: Create a safe and non-judgmental space for your child to express their emotions. Encourage them to talk about their feelings, memories of the loved one, and any questions they may have.

Maintain routines: Establishing and maintaining routines can provide stability and a sense of normalcy during a time of grief. Consistency in daily activities, such as mealtimes and bedtime, can offer a sense of security for your child.

Be patient and understanding: Understand that grief is a process that takes time. Your child may display a range of emotions and behaviours. Be patient and supportive, offering comfort and reassurance when needed.

Honour the loved one's memory: Encourage your child to find meaningful ways to remember and honour the person they have lost. This may include creating a memory box, writing letters, or engaging in activities that were significant to the loved one.

Seek additional support when needed: While you play a crucial role in supporting your child, it’s essential to recognise when additional support may be beneficial. It may be that your child is aware that you’re grieving too, and they don’t want to ‘burden you’  with their feelings. Reach out to grief support groups, community organisations, or other resources that can offer guidance and support.


The Role of School in Supporting Children Through Grief

Schools play a vital role in supporting children through the grieving process. Teachers and other school staff can provide a consistent and understanding presence for children who may be struggling with their grief. Here are some ways schools can support grieving children:

  • Communication: Schools should communicate with parents or guardians to understand the child's situation and offer appropriate support. Open lines of communication between school staff and parents are essential.
  • Flexible attendance: Grieving children may require flexibility in attendance due to their emotional needs. Schools should be understanding and accommodating, allowing children time off when necessary.
  • Peer support: Encouraging peer support can be beneficial for grieving children. Schools can organise support groups or pair grieving children with peers who can provide understanding and empathy. However, it’s important this doesn’t take the place of professional support, as what’s shared may become too heavy for peers to support. 
  • Specialised counselling services: Some schools have grief counsellors or social workers who can provide additional support to grieving children. These professionals are trained to help children navigate their grief and develop coping strategies.

The Long-Term Impact of Grief Counselling on Children

The long-term impact of grief counselling on children can be profound. By providing children with the necessary tools and support to navigate their grief, grief counselling can help them develop resilience and healthy coping mechanisms. Here are some potential long-term benefits:

  • Emotional well-being: Grief counselling can help children develop a deeper understanding of their emotions and build emotional resilience. This can contribute to their overall emotional well-being, enabling them to navigate future challenges with greater ease.
  • Coping skills: Grief counselling equips children with valuable coping skills that can extend beyond the immediate grieving process. These skills can be applied to other challenging situations in their lives, fostering resilience and adaptability.
  • Healthy relationships: Through grief counselling, children can develop healthier ways of relating to others. By exploring their emotions and learning effective communication strategies, children can build stronger and more meaningful relationships.
  • Personal growth: The grieving process can be an opportunity for personal growth and self-discovery. Grief counselling can guide children through this transformative journey, helping them develop a sense of identity and purpose.

How Mable Therapy Grief Counselling Can Support Your Child Through Grief

At Mable Therapy, we understand the unique challenges that children face when grieving. Our experienced grief counsellors provide a compassionate and professional space for children to process their emotions and find healing. Through evidence-based approaches tailored to each child's needs, we support children in developing healthy coping strategies and navigating their grief journey.

Reach out today to book your child's first session with one of our experienced counsellors. Together, we can provide the support and guidance your child needs to navigate the challenging path of grief and find their way towards healing and resilience.