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Survivors of Suicide Psychotherapy

What is it?

This is bereavement counselling that is specifically tailored to survivors of suicide.

Losing a loved one is devastating, but losing a loved one to suicide brings with it another burden that the survivor has to bear in addition to the normal grief reaction.

So many aspects complicate the loss for survivors of suicide, these include societal stigma, denial of the event, shame, anger, guilt to name but a few. It is my belief that without professional support, all the inner resources of a survivor will be tested in the process of coming to terms with loss under these conditions.

My experience suggests that, without professional support, survivors can be stuck in their grief for many, many years.
What are the symptoms?

The symptoms are very similar to what is experienced in other bereavements. In cases of suicide, the feelings of guilt and anger may be more intense. The feeling of shame will often also be experienced and the physical shock may last longer.

The question of “why” may dominate the survivor's thoughts for quite a long time. Often negative and distorted thinking are a symptom of this type of loss.
What helps?

From my experience, the most important therapeutic outcome for you in such a case, is to know that there is“normality” to your grief, that you are not alone and that you are not going crazy. The societal stigma of suicide may have left you coping in silence and the goal here is to break that silence.

Counselling can help you to work through the pain of the grief and also to address the complex emotions that surround the events of the death, details of the death and feelings towards the deceased. It can help you to connect with the deceased and how they were before they died, memories which are often forgotten or have been overshadowed by the events surrounding the loss.

Counselling can also help in reconnecting your body and mind. Shock often causes the mind and body to split, leaving you to feel fragmented. Bringing the mind and body together through meditation, self-care and body awareness can really help you in your recovery from this loss.

For further information on suicide, please refer to the following web pages:-