What is bereavement counselling?
Bereavement counselling offers each person the opportunity to express pain, sadness, sorrow or fears with an empathic listener outside of the immediate family. In the case of group counselling meetings the person can share their thoughts with people in a similar situation.
The hospice provides a safe environment for talking about issues that might be distressing or difficult to discuss with other family members or others close to you.
Why do we use counselling as part of our service?
A great deal of comfort can be got from accessing bereavement counselling both to the patient and their family and friends through knowing that a support network is available to them.
By accessing counselling and bereavement care when you need it many problems can be avoided in later life. These problems can materialise in many different ways but can lead to mental health problems or behavioural difficulties.
Counselling and bereavement care help people to navigate their way through the maze of emotional turmoil that is experienced through the loss of a loved one. This helps people to see their way forward and to address issues when they matter most.
When can you access care?
Counselling support can be accessed as soon as the patient is accepted into the care of the Hospice. Both the patient and relatives are able to access counselling support and we have a specialist counsellor who can work with children who are about to loose someone very close to them.
Counselling helps patients to come to terms with their prognosis and helps them to prepare letters or memory boxes for loved ones. Counsellors will talk things through and sessions are very much tailored to suit the needs of the patient.
Support helps family members to come to terms with the anticipated loss of a loved one. Working with children is particularly beneficial as they will often not ask questions for fear of upsetting family members.
By using specially designed workbooks our child counsellor is able to help children express their feelings in a very supportive environment and help them to understand what is happening in a format that is easier for children to understand. They often have anxieties they don't know how to voice without support or they try too hard to protect other loved ones from sadness by not asking questions they know will upset someone.
It is extremely hard sometimes for one parent to talk to their child or children about the loss of their partner, having the aid of a child counsellor to guide you or to broach the subject for you is extremely helpful.
Who provides the care?
Our trained child and adult counsellor works alongside a team of family support volunteers that are fully trained listeners. All bereavement volunteers are rigorously screened and interviewed before training commences and they are provided with ongoing training and supervision.
What form does the counselling take?
Counselling can be delivered in a range of formats depending on what you feel is right for you. This can mean talking one to one or can be in the form of one of our group meetings such as the Drop In or the Moving On Together group.
Group support is very beneficial because you are among people who are or have been in a very similar situation to you. This is very helpful as they often understand just how you feel and are very supportive. Group meetings help with feelings of isolation because people realise they are not alone in their grief.
Contrary to expectations we have found these groups to be very successful in rehabilitating people back into society and in getting them involved in their social scenes again after the loss of a partner. Often people find they are alone for the first time in their lives and without their group they would struggle to find happiness again.
Moving On Together (MOT)
The aim of the MOT group is to encourage people to share with others on the same path and to take the next step on their journey. For some it will help them to face issues which are painful and which they have been unable to deal with.
The duration of the course is 7 weeks. 1 1/2 hours per week either in the afternoon or evening depending on the circumstances of the client.
Monthly Support Groups
These meetings are held at Stockton on the second Monday of each month either from 1.30pm to 3pm or 6.30pm to 8pm. Each group is facilitated by members of the Family Support Team. This group caters primarily for people who have finished their MOT course and wish for further help and support, but new members are also welcome.
The drop in meetings take place at the Stockton Hospice in Day Care every Tuesday between 1pm and 3pm. These meetings are facilitated by members of the Family Support Team and are informal and welcoming.
There are opportunities for people to talk one to one to members of the team or to share feelings with other members of the group. Many social outings are arranged within the group through the social secretaries. This is particularly beneficial for those who are without a partner. Outings take the form of meals, shopping trips, visits to tourist locations, short breaks or even holidays.
Many people find this group really helpful as it is much easier to learn to socialise again with people who really understand what it is like being bereaved.
Special remembrance services are held 3 times a year especially for those who have had a connection with the services delivered from Butterwick Hospice at Bishop Auckland.
This includes families and friends who have accessed the Outreach Hospices and Palliative Home Care Service. Information about when the next remembrance service will be held will be advertised on this section of the website.
Training & Education
Occasionally our Family Support Team including our Counsellor provide training for other professionals who come into contact with those who have been bereaved. Examples of this would be teachers, care workers, etc.
Courses that have been successfully delivered include:
- Basic listening skills
- Working with bereaved adults
- Working with bereaved children
- Supporting people through the bereavement process - suitable for schools, churches etc.
If you would like more information about any of the above courses please contact Juliet Wilson or Dianne Mckenzie on 01388 603003 or email firstname.lastname@example.org