Grief Counseling

Grief Counseling & Therapy

The grieving process is challenging. Our grief counseling helps clients work through difficult emotions by following guiding each persons unique process.

How Should One Grieve? What Gets Us Back to Living in The Present?

Grief takes many forms and comes from many sources. For example, death is thought of as the most common source of grief, but we experience grief as the result of many different situations. When the coronavirus first hit in March of 2020 people’s lifestyles had to dramatically change. Many people found themselves unknowingly going through a grieving process for their changed lives and their plans for the future. Other national tragedies can cause us to grieve as well.

We can also experience grief after more personal tragedies, such as when a relationship ends (divorce), after a job loss or after a chronic disease diagnosis.

Grief is a very complicated and very human process. It’s a response that is hard-wired into our brains and body. In fact, primates that are closely related to humans universally experience grief and mourning. Just as a primate couldn’t stop grieving, you can’t just completely stop grieving, but you can talk with someone to better accompany your grieving process.

“When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone.”

– Fred Rogers

Here in the United States, death can be a very mysterious and dreaded affair. Loved ones are often whisked away soon after death and hidden until there is a wake. Americans also don’t have a very good vocabulary around death, and often we live as if death won’t happen, and certainly not to us. The death of a loved one shatters that illusion and brings us face to face with our own humanity. Often because we don’t know how to talk about death we also don’t know how to deal with it when the time comes.

Other cultures tend to be more comfortable talking about death. In Japan talking about death is much more involved. It’s a tradition for people who knew the deceased to offer condolences every year on the anniversary of the death to their surviving loved ones. This can be continued until everyone who knew the deceased had also passed away.

We all grieve in different ways and oftentimes we don’t know how we should feel or act when a close loved one dies. It can bring out new feelings of existential dread or hopelessness. The textbook definition of when grieving becomes problematic is when it continues to dictate your life over 3 months after the death. However, after 3 months if someone tells you “you should be over this by now,” don’t listen. Everyone grieves at a different pace.

Many find themselves bottling up their grief to extremes, finding themselves paralyzed in their daily lives, or turning to poor coping mechanisms such as drugs or alcohol. Some people even consider themselves depressed, which is very possible as grief can certainly turn into a deep depression if it isn’t coped with well.

Some take more or less time to grieve and experience differing depths of grief, but no matter the case, grief counseling can help you better understand and cope with your grief on your terms.

Acuity’s 1-on-1 Therapies for:


Anxiety »


Depression »


Relationship Issues »


Grief & Loss »


Trauma & PTSD »


Eating Disorders and Body Image »


OUR THERAPY APPROACHES

(CBT) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy »
(EDMR) Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing »



Our Clinicians also help with:

  • Personal Growth
  • Navigating Life Transitions (relocation, career changes, stage of life growth)
  • Existential Concerns
  • Managing Anger or Panic
  • Gaining control over Substance use & Addiction

Contact us to schedule an appointment or ask a question:

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Some Grieving Responses That Our Grief Counseling Helps With:

  • Depression
  • Frequent (or too little) crying
  • Mood Swings
  • Numbness or shock
  • Loneliness and isolating behaviors
  • Guilt
  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Increased drug or alcohol use
  • Loss of interest in activities you once used to enjoy (Not leaving the house).

Coping with Grief is Challenging, Grief Counseling May Help 

Our focus at Acuity is to help you better process your emotions during grief. This means working looking inward to think about and discuss what you are feeling (for many this is their first time really opening up about it after the event). For example, if a client is experiencing many negative emotions that seem to control their lives, we can better make space for positive memories of the reason for which we are greiving. Many people also discover with the shock of grief that it is difficult to express or understand their emotions. Such clients benefit from the guidance of an emotionally focused counselor.

4 Steps to a successful grieving process

1. Identifying and understanding the intense emotions related to the loss.

2. Finding the words and expressions that can communicate what that loss means to you.

3. Having a safe environment where you can share these thoughts without judgement.

4. Knowing that your feelings and words have been understood by someone who cares. 

It’s important to understand in this process that you have permission to grieve. That you can grieve in your own way. That you have resources that can help (including a grieving counselor). Your feelings are important and will be heard.  After all, nobody should have to grieve alone.

Our Approach to Grief Therapy

Our approach to grief therapy is client centered. We don’t tell you how to grieve instead we try to understand where you are at emotionally and help you to reach the goals that you set. We can provide direction or resources when needed, but grieving needs to be done on your terms.

One way that you can understand how we approach grief is by understanding the 5 stages of grief. Each of these stages usually plays a role in anyone’s grieving process, and they don’t necessarily happen in order. It’s important to note that for you to feel better sometimes you have to go resolve the stages that are most difficult first. Swings of emotion are common throughout this process and can be best visualized with this graph. 

Stage 1: Shock and Denial – After the swings of the initial event that are included in “shock”,  we typically experience some denial or questioning of the event. Perhaps you question the diagnosis or feel that there was a miscommunication in the message. Or maybe you think that this issue (e.g. separation or divorce) will just blow over, and shouldn’t be a cause for concern. 

Stage 2: Anger – Once one accepts that the event actually happened, anger is common. This can be anger at yourself, your religion or the general world around you. It’s common for you to become angry at the people around you “for not doing enough.” At this stage you may be asking “Why did this happen to them, and why me?”

Stage 3: Bargaining – Many times people begin to bargain with themselves or their god ro lessen the pain of the grief. It’s common for those with a terminal illness to negotiate for more time during prayer in exchange for more devotion. 

Stage 4: Depression – Next instead of bargaining with the outside world, the griever may reject it completely. Perhaps by isolating themselves from friends and family. Some may be diagnosed with clinical depression at this stage.

Stage 5: Acceptance – This is the resolution of the grieving process. At this point a griever will accept the event, whether that be the hard truth of mortality, or accepting personal lessons from the end of a relationship. After acceptance, one can typically look back on the event with (relatively) stable emotions. 

Stage 6: Growth –  At Acuity we understand that acceptance may not be enough. We have to accept the event, make meaning from it and continue living with that experience as best we can. In turn, we can grow from the experience. In many ways grieving is also loving, and connecting with the deceased to build meaning in your life is an important step for many.

In fact, at Acuity we often use Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) as a framework for grief. This therapy method has been shown to be very effective for helping clients cope with difficult events. The main idea of the therapy is that we don’t have to let certain emotions control us, but instead we can understand that they are there as a part of us and continue to live our lives as normal. 

An example of the 5 stages of grief being applied to our current lives may be Covid-19.

“There’s denial, which we saw a lot of early on: This virus won’t affect us. There’s anger: You’re making me stay home and taking away my activities. There’s bargaining: Okay, if I social distance for two weeks everything will be better, right? There’s sadness: I don’t know when this will end. And finally there’s acceptance. This is happening; I have to figure out how to proceed. Acceptance, as you might imagine, is where the power lies. We find control in acceptance. I can wash my hands. I can keep a safe distance. I can learn how to work virtually.”

HBR

Frequently Asked Questions for Grief Therapy

Do you offer grief counseling for children?

Children are naturally very resilient when it comes to loss, especially if they are given the information and space to cope. It’s important that grieving children be told the truth about the situation and what that means for the family. It’s also important that they be allowed space to share their feelings and be accepted when doing so.

Children grieve in different ways, some common processes include:

  • Storytelling of memories
  • Play
  • Learning emotional coping skills 
  • Exploration of feelings

We have therapists specializing in children’s issues on staff that can best meet children where they are, and develop a plan unique to their process.

Which therapist is right for me?

Let us help you find the right therapist. Many of our therapists specialize in anxiety, so view our profiles online to learn more about specific counselors specializing in anxiety treatment or speak with our Client Care Coordinator, who can help you with a personalized match to the right therapist for your needs. 

Finding the RIGHT therapist is the most important piece of reaching your goals.

How long does Therapy take?

Counseling works best within the framework of a safe and trusted therapeutic alliance. Since it takes time to build this relationship with your therapist, we recommend committing to weekly sessions for at least 8 weeks. Research shows that consistency adds to the positive outcomes of therapy. Once you reach your 8-week goal, you and your therapist can discuss a frequency of sessions that will support your continued success.

I’ve never done therapy before...What can I expect in my sessions?

The unknown of anything new can make it scary. Especially if you’ve never been to counseling before. Let us show you the “roadmap” so you know what to expect:

1st Session:
This first meeting is an introduction for both you and your counselor. Your therapist will explain the therapy process and go over the specifics of informed consent. From there, your therapist will gather additional information about your history, current circumstances, as well as struggles and personal strengths, which will help them to define a treatment plan that aligns with your goals. 

This is also the chance for you to learn more about your therapist. We encourage you to ask questions and get to know them; the relationship you build with your therapist will be the most important part of your work together. 

2nd Session and Future sessions:
In your weekly sessions, you and your therapist will use evidenced based therapies such as CBT, Mindfulness or ACT, to help you address your symptoms of worry, stress and anxiety. For anxiety rooted in trauma, or related to obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), your therapist may recommend treatment with EMDR.

Closing Sessions:
Our goal is for you to find relief from your anxiety and be ready to “graduate” from therapy. In the last few sessions with your therapist, you will review your initial goals, the progress you have made, and solidify your new skills for managing anxiety in your life. At your last meeting together, you’ll have the time for the meaningful goodbye with your therapist.

How much does Anxiety Counseling cost?

We strive to create access to high quality mental healthcare for everyone. Our therapists’ rates vary by experience and specialized training. We will make every effort to find the right therapist for you. 

Acuity Counseling also accepts health insurance and offers both in-network and out-of-network coverage. 

We are in-network partners with: 

Aetna

Cigna

First Choice

Premera Blue Cross

* We do not participate in EAP plans

Why don’t you only use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

While we use CBT as an aspect of our therapeutic approaches, we know that every individual is different. No one responds to any method perfectly, so by employing many techniques we are able to provide the most personalized support. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is talked about in relation to mental health so often because it has a large body of research behind it and is easy to replicate across all cases. This is why you may hear it called “evidence based,” which it certainly is. However, we use other evidence based therapies in conjunction with CBT in our therapies.

How can I evaluate whether therapy is working?

Acuity is unique because we use research backed questionnaires to assess your mood, goals and progress. From time to time we may share with you your progress on these reports, “you report being angry 30% less days than when you started therapy,” and then ask what your goals for the future may be. We have found that by having clients set their own goals and following up regularly we can achieve better results.

If I go to Acuity for help, does it mean there is something wrong with me?

No. We try to break this stigma constantly.

Many people come to Acuity just to gain a better perspective of themselves and work on some issues that they are having in their daily life. There aren’t many places for people to vent and seek honest help, so we provide that space for people as well as psychologically informed advice to better cope with life’s persistent problems. Even if you have a mental health diagnosis there is nothing wrong with you. We all experience and react to the world in different ways, it’s hard to argue that there is anything wrong with that.

Is medication used in conjunction with your therapy?

Some conditions for some people are best treated with the help of medication. If we find it necessary after our initial assessments, we will discuss types of medication, your comfort with it, and the pros and cons of medication with you. If you so choose, we can refer you to the appropriate psychopharmacologist in the area. If you are already on medication, we will coordinate treatment with your primary provider.

How long does therapy take?

Counseling works best within the framework of a safe and trusted therapeutic alliance. Since it takes time to build this relationship with your therapist, we recommend committing to weekly sessions for at least 8 weeks. Research shows that consistency adds to the positive outcomes of therapy. Once you reach your 8-week goal, you and your therapist can discuss a frequency of sessions that will support your continued success.

Break-free and begin your journey to

Your best
YOU.

There is a future life where trauma does not control your day. Imagine yourself feeling calm, confident and ready to handle new situations with ease. The tools to living the life you have always envisioned are here, at your fingertips.

Acuity Counseling can help.

 

Schedule your therapy session online

Reach out directly to our Client Care Coordinator for questions, matching, and scheduling:

Online Counseling

Our services are also available online through Zoom. Telehealth/Online counseling gives you the opportunity to explore your challenges in life without complicating your daily schedule.

GET STARTED

If you have questions and would like to talk about any of our counseling services, please reach out for a complimentary phone consultation or send us an email.

First Session Within 72 Hours of Calling

We book you an appointment within 24 hours of contacting us (usually less) and make sure your first appointment is soon after.

Seattle: 206-922-2376

Bellevue: 425-549-3242

Bothell/Woodinville: 206-910-9476

info@acuitycounseling.net

for Billing questions call:
206-922-2298

SCHEDULING

Use our Online Scheduling Tool or call our office to schedule your appointment, or for any changes regarding scheduling.

Schedule by phone: 206-910-9476

INSURANCE

Counseling services are often covered in full or in part by your health insurance company. Acuity Counseling proudly accepts most major health insurance plans.

Aetna

First Choice

HMA

Lifewise

Meritain

Cigna

GEHA

Kaiser Core/PPO

Sound Health & Wellness

Premera Blue Cross

We do not participate
in EAP Plans

Acuity Counseling Locations

Seattle

Bellevue

Bothell/Woodinville

BELLEVUE, WA
Cascade Place II
12729 Northup Way, Suite 6
Bellevue WA 98005
(206) 910-9476

SEATTLE, WA
Plaza 600 Building
600 Stewart St, Suite 1228
Seattle WA 98101
(206) 910-9476

BOTHELL/WOODINVILLE
Falcon View
12900 NE 180th St, Suite 160
Bothell, WA 98011
(206) 910-9476

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