Virginia Beach Counseling and Wellness therapist, Fred Fritz, shares his approach to grief counseling.
How do you help those struggling with grief and loss?
One of my main goals in grief counseling is to be a companion to those experiencing loss. Each person goes through the grief process in their own way. Grief is a normal and necessary process that is fundamentally a journey of the heart and soul. Being a companion to a person who is grieving is not about assessing, analyzing, or resolving another person’s grief. It’s about being totally present. Talking about grief can be uncomfortable for friends and family who want to be helpful to those going through this difficult time. Speaking with a counselor can help process the different and sometimes conflicting emotions grief evokes.
What inspires you to do this work?
Our society is uncomfortable with grief. We say, “You’ll get over it. You’re going to feel better.” What does that really mean? In effect, we’re telling them, “I’m uncomfortable with your grief, and I wish you’d stop making me uncomfortable.” Making sense of the range of emotions grief entails is why bereaved people often need to talk. I came to this work by way of going through my own grieving process. Finding a person who can be fully present during outbursts of anger, waves of tears, or simply sitting in silence together can be invaluable in establishing a new normal.
What is one piece of advice for those who are struggling after a loss?
Be gentle with yourself and be patient. Be patient with your thoughts and emotions. Don’t try to rush the grieving process simply because others say “it’s time to move on.”
Fred Fritz, LPC, grief and loss counselor at
Virginia Beach Counseling and Wellness.