When is the right time to seek bereavement counselling?

There has been a lot of news in the last few months about Prince Harry speaking to a counsellor regarding the loss of his Mum. The time between the Prince seeking a counsellor and Princess Diana dying is the key point I would like to talk about in this blog. It was 20 years before the Royal, prompted by his older brother, decided to offload his grief.  

So, when should you talk to a therapist?

Whilst this seems a long time, my experience is that there is no obvious or precise time when one should talk to a counsellor after the death of a loved one. Nevertheless I do feel that counselling has its limitations if sought too soon after bereavement. The entail period of up to six months can be described as a roller coaster of emotions, with each individual having there own unique experience of grief.  

right time to seek counselling

One experience that is quite common is the feeling of absolute powerlessness. It is part of human nature to want to resolve, fix and more recently control our environments giving us no preparation for loss, as death is so final.

Kubler Ross world recognised 5 stages, which may seem slightly outdated but are still valuable to highlight what people might experience. I think we could all see some of these stages in our own history with bereavement, however one stage that I would highlight is depression. This is a natural process that the body goes through during times of acute sadness.

Unfortunately in our modern lives there is little or no time for grief and for most of us we will have to return back to work soon after our loss. This is obviously extremely difficult but can become almost impossible when being depressed, hence the over prescribing of anti-depressants “to get us back on our feet”. Whilst all this is natural, obviously we need to keep a check on depression and if it continues for a prolonged time it is sensible to seek medical advice.