Student Life

Counselling and Personal Development

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Grief and loss

Grief is a natural, powerful and human response to the loss of someone or something close to us.  It takes time to adjust or grow around grief and during this time you will need to care for yourself, while managing everyday life.

What is grief?

There are many experiences in life that may cause you grief.  For example:

  • the death of a family member or friend (bereavement)
  • the death of a colleague or peer  (bereavement)
  • a relationship break-up, separation, or divorce
  • leaving your country, family or friends to live in another country or location
  • loss of employment or role within an organisation
  • transition

The feelings of grief can include sadness, anger, guilt, regret, relief, amongst others. You may be confused and your thoughts disorganised as you adjust to the change and loss.

The process of grieving is a very individual experience.  There is no right or wrong way to grieve, and in fact there are different styles of grieving.  There is no designated time frame for grieving.  It will come and go over days, months, even years.  The intensity of your grief will change over time.

When you are grieving it can be helpful to talk about how you feel and what you think with a trusted other.  Talking may help you deal with the loss, help with feelings of  isolation, and has the potential for others to show they care, and support you.

If you do not have family or friends around to talk to, or don’t want to talk to them about your loss, talking to a counsellor can be really useful.

Quick tips

  1. Immediately after your loss, allow yourself to grieve and be involved in any ceremonies.
  2. Be aware that grief will come and go. Grief is a normal human response to loss.
  3. If you need, take some time off  work or other commitments.
  4. Engage in activities you like as a means of looking after yourself.
  5. Talk to someone about your loss.
  6. Keep grieving, and keep going as much as you can. Pace yourself.
  7. It is also o.k to laugh or experience times when you are not grieving.

Taking it further

  • GriefLink - Coping with Grief, and various resources for grieving 
  • National Association for Loss and Grief (NALAG) is a not-for-profit association of individuals and organisations that in partnership with Government and other organisations works to facilitate and improve the community's awareness of loss and grief issues and its capacity to effectively respond to loss and grief including bereavement.    
  • Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement offers education, resources, information & Counselling.

Getting help

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17th March 2011