We at LOLA understand that losing your child will feel completely overwhelming. It can be helpful to talk to someone who is experienced in supporting families when they have lost a child and feel bereft. If you are struggling to cope, talking to trained and experienced professionals about your loss can help you to find ways to cope when you are overwhelmed by such deep grief.
What is Talking Therapy?
Caroline Stedman, Counsellor Practitioner at the Evelina London Children’s Hospital specialising in bereavement counselling for parents, explains more clearly what talking therapy is.
What types of Talking Therapies are there?
What Therapies are there?
A good place to start if you want to understand different types of therapy is www.itsgoodtotalk.org.uk where you will find information to help you to decide what type of therapy appeals to you. Caroline Stedman explains the types of therapy and how you can find a therapist that works for you.
Finding a Therapist that’s right for you
How can Talking Therapy help bereaved Parents and Families?
All of this is ‘normal’ for someone who is bereaved, even if every bereavement is also different and each individual will have their own unique experience of it. Caroline Stedman explains the sort of grief responses bereaved parents might have.
Talking Therapy for Bereavement
It might be helpful to remember that this is a relationship – one of a specific kind – and if you do choose to use a talking therapy, it is normal for it to take a little time for you to develop trust and open up about things you had been keeping to yourself. Go easy on yourself and take your time.
How can I get access to a Therapist?
Therapy using the NHS
You should be able to ask for a referral for talking therapies at the NHS through your GP, hospital, clinic or other medical service helping you with the pregnancy, delivery and loss of your child. Therapy provided by the NHS should be free of any charge. The therapy available varies widely across the UK. You may also find there is a waiting list or that you are offered only a specific number of sessions.
Therapy with the help of charitable organisations
Charities which specialise in the loss of a child may offer bereavement counselling, as well as more informal support. Many charities will offer counselling free of charge. Some may charge a fee, although even if they do, it is likely to cost less than therapy through a private practitioner and it may be offered at a rate that you can afford, according to your income.
Here are some of the charities that can support you with your grief through information, helplines and support groups. They may also have information about appropriate professional counselling in your area if they do not offer it themselves. You can find information on the charities most relevant to your loss at Get support. You may find it helpful to start with Sands, ARC, or the Miscarriage Association. Cruse Bereavement Care also provides charitable bereavement support and counselling in some areas.
Private therapists can be found on the its good to talk website, where all of the therapists listed are governed by a code of ethics and a complaints procedure overseen by their regulatory body. Or you may simply ask for recommendations from friends or family members who have had similar experiences, or get recommendations from those who are supporting you at your hospital or a relevant charity. However you find a private therapist, it is important to check that they are a member of the relevant professional body and that they have met the training requirements to be in practice.
The types of private therapy available, and the fees charged, will vary according to your location. The most important thing if you are choosing a private therapist is that they feel ‘right’ for you, so you feel able to trust them and able to discuss your feelings freely and openly.
How long does Therapy last?
Not everyone needs or wants long-term therapy – some people get what they need in a few sessions, some prefer to have a short period of therapy and then return at another time, others will want to stay for a longer time.
Warning: If symptoms persist, you may need more specialist help. If you are experiencing anxiety or depression that goes on for more than a few weeks and is disabling to your normal life, or if you feel like harming yourself or anyone else in any way then it is important to consult your GP.