Losing a loved one can be extremely difficult for children who lack the coping skills and experience with loss that adults can take for granted. It is a good idea for the entire family to go to grief therapy together after a death in the family. While it is a healthy move for all members of the family, it can be confusing for children, and some may have a hard time understanding the entire process. Here are some tips for helping your child adjust to grief counseling services.
Talk About Therapy Goals
Discuss therapy goals with your grief counselor. Although they may not be typically used when you are so focused on healing from a difficult loss, counseling goals are common and useful for many people. They spell out what the counseling sessions can help you achieve. For example, you may want to stop bottling up your feelings about the loss and learn to fully express them to the people closest to you. That is something that you and the grief counselor can work on. When a child learns about your therapy goals for family grief counseling, it can help them make better sense of the whole process.
Explain That Complete Honesty Is Important
A child who is accustomed to behaving politely may not quite understand that they are allowed, and even encouraged, to get out their raw feelings in therapy. They may worry about hurting a therapist's feelings or making other family members sad. Talk to your child about the importance of candor in therapy. You may even bring it up in front of the therapist so that the counselor can similarly encourage your child to open up about any feelings they have.
Be Consistent with Time and Behaviors
A child will get more comfortable with therapy when you are consistent with the date and time that you have sessions every week. You should also remain consistent in how you talk about therapy. There may come a day when you disagree with something your grief counselor says, and it is perfectly okay to express that in the session. In fact, you should make that be known. However, you should refrain from complaining at length about the grief counselor to your child. Be consistent with how you talk about counseling sessions outside of the therapist's office, and also be consistent with how often you go.
Finally, keep in mind that your child will look to you as a role model, even if you don't want them to do so. If you are feeling ill at ease in therapy, your child will likely pick up on it and develop a similar attitude towards counseling services. Express your feelings about the importance of therapy and commit to expressing yourself in the family therapy sessions. When you do so, you will encourage your child to do the same, and you all can have a better experience and get closer to healing from your loss.Share