Grief and loss can come at any time in anyone’s life. The weight and severity of the experience always vary, as well as a person’s ability to handle and overcome the traumatic situation. Some can move on after a while, fortunate enough to have people and things around them that help them cope easier. There are individuals who are naturally strong enough to brave through different kinds of loss, but there are those who cannot just put away the negative feelings that recent situations may have left. Thankfully, anyone can look for assistance from persons or groups who have studied and trained to have been certified to provide support to mourning individuals.
There is nothing wrong with seeking professional help. In fact, it can even be a sign of courage, of asserting someone’s will to live and move on from his grief or loss. After all, psychiatric help is not the only choice available today. One can choose from therapy, coaching, or counseling.
Therapy is a kind of intervention typically carried out by a licensed and certified psychiatrist. It focuses on the past, asking the client to share his thoughts and feelings about what happened and eventually coming up with medically proven solutions to help the patient heal. Basically, therapy revolves around the principle that a person needs healing, thus providing a cure for what problem he is dealing with, particularly a medically diagnosed one. Once the patient is able to overcome the problem or the feeling of loss, therapy can be stopped and may be deemed to be no longer needed.
Coaching is currently becoming more and more popular among individuals whose recent experiences are not as debilitating than to be expected. This method focuses on the present and the future: what the client currently goes through and where would they want to be in the coming days, months, or years. This method is facilitated by a coach who helps the client set goals and come up with practical solutions to overcome present and possible obstacles. This may be ideal for individuals who face easily consolable problems and wish to face tomorrow with a better outlook in life.
Counseling is a method that mainly focuses on the present. Basically, it touches reality and looks into the factors that affect the client’s present attitude, behavior, and mindset. It is commonly facilitated by a certified counselor or psychiatrist. It is similar to therapy because it is designed to help resolve an issue. A counselor is there to help clients explore what is currently going on and help them assess what they are feeling, and help them overcome whatever negative emotions they might have.
Knowing which is best for you and your situation
While all of these options are designed to help individuals face and fight different issues, one may be better than the other depending on the client’s desired outcome. Therapy works best for those who have gone through inconceivably grave experiences. People who have lost loved ones who are so dear to them or had to deal with significant loss and find themselves unable to cope may do well with this option. Meanwhile, those who are facing common obstacles but are still positive enough to hope for a bright future ahead may find coaching good for them. Individuals who simply need someone to make them feel that there is still hope and that whatever they are going through right now can be solved may find the best solution through counseling.
Dr. Bob Connolly is a licensed psychologist who specialized therapy and counseling in Pasadena, California.