Grief Counselling

Suzi's experience with grief counselling

Many people can can benefit from grief counselling. It can underpin many issues that can seem unrelated at first glance, and once unpacked, can help free us up from stuckness, heaviness and helplessness.

Suzi completed specialist grief training, along with her Diploma in Counselling and Family Therapy. She is experienced working with different types of grief, and is familiar with the barriers that can prevent people from moving into a healthy place after a loss has occurred.

Suzi welcomes clients who are seeking help understanding their grief journey.

What is grief?

  • Grief is our natural, normal response to a loss of any kind.

  • Altering our thinking to consider losses (rather than focussing solely on the event) is one of the first steps to understanding grief.

  • There is never only one loss. There is the obvious or presenting loss of someone or something, and also our personal losses as the result of this.

  • The significance of any loss can only be determined by the person who is experiencing that loss.

  • The amount of grief experienced will usually equal the amount of significance we attach to that loss.

  • The losses & subsequent grief of one person cannot be compared with the losses & grief of any other person – even when the losses appear to be of a similar nature.

Grief can be experienced through any change, even if it's one we have consciously chosen to make. Well known and accepted griefs include the loss of someone through death, loss of a significant relationship, loss of a home (or significant damage), being made redundant or being injured in an accident. Less recognised grief can come about through choosing to leave a relationship, loss of a pet, miscarriage, changing cities or schools, witnessing someone you care about experiencing a loss, or giving birth to a disabled child (as well as many griefs not mentioned here). All change can generate a grief process of some description that must be acknowledged to be moved through. I provide Grief Counselling for clients Auckland-wide at my Ellerslie offices.

Explaining grief counselling

Grief counselling with me is a process where the client can have support from a professional through their own individual grief journey. It is essential to talk about what you are going through - if you don't, you can get stuck in the process and feel like you're going crazy.

You may feel like you're being a burden on your family and friends - that may or may not be the case - however a professional therapist will be able to assist you with tools that will help you move through and find a way to live with what you have lost.

Seeing me can also assist you in normalising what you are going through as most symptoms are in the normal spectrum. Please be careful of using drugs and alcohol to manage your grief as this will only delay your processing and inhibit your ability to cope. Alcohol and many drugs are depressants and could make your grief worse.

Seven well known stages of grief

(according to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross)*

  1. Denial

  2. Anger

  3. Depression/sadness

  4. Guilt

  5. Acceptance

  6. Forgiveness

  7. Recovery

* Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D. (July 8, 1926 – August 24, 2004) was a Swiss-born psychiatrist, a pioneer in Near-death studies and the author of the groundbreaking book On Death and Dying (1969), where she first discussed what is now known as the Kübler-Ross model.

Further information

According to the research carried out by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (and supported by my experience with clients), in order to come through the grief process, each stage must be attended to, even it's a brief "visit" to some stages and a longer "visit" to others. There are often more than what's listed above - bargaining and guilt are also common grief reactions.

It's not a clean or linear process where each stage happens one after the other; it's normal to go in and out of one or more stages to do some more grief work.

With regards to the seventh stage mentioned above, Recovery doesn't mean that you "get over" what's happened. You learn to live with what's happened so that it's more like having a scar - it can remind you of what you've experienced, but it is no longer an open wound.

A poem about grief

The French don’t say ‘I miss you.’

They say, ‘Tu me manques’,

‘You are missing from me’.

You are,


I feel your absence as though it were a

vital part of my body that’s gone.

A part of my body that I need very much

but for some reason, I continue to live on.

You are a vital part of my soul,

so I suppose that makes perfect sense.

They say that grief is simply the love you felt

for that person, roaring around in pain,

inside your body,

with nowhere to go.

I have so much of that for you.

I have so much of it I could open the windows

and let that roar encompass the world.

Tu me manques..

You, are missing from me.

Donna Ashworth