10 Myths and Misconceptions about Bereavement Therapy Debunked

Myth 1: Bereavement Therapy Is Only for the “Weak”

Many believe that seeking help in the form of therapy, suggests weakness or inability to cope. This myth paints an unfair and inaccurate picture. Seeking professional aid when dealing with grief does not reflect a lack of strength. Instead, it is an acknowledgment of the enormity of your experience. Bereavement therapy is a tool that one can use to navigate grief healthily – it does not matter how strong or resilient one is – it is okay to need help.


Myth 2: Bereavement Therapy Means You Cannot Lean on Friends and Family

The idea that seeking professional help relates to a lack of support from your family or friends is a false notion. While your social network can provide much-needed support, therapists have specialized knowledge and understanding about the methods to cope with loss. Simultaneously, leaning on your personal support system and seeking professional help is not contradictory—it is complementary.

Myth 3: Grief Should Follow a Certain Timeline

A common but misconstrued belief dictates that grief has an expiration date and that after a requisite period, one should be ‘over’ their grief. However, grief is not linear, and it does not have a ‘one-size-fits-all’ schedule. Bereavement therapy aims to provide individuals with a safe environment to express and process their grief, encouraging them to move forward at their own pace.


Myth 4: Bereavement Therapy Is Necessary for Everyone Who Experiences Loss

Bereavement therapy can be incredibly helpful, but it is not necessary for everyone. People grieve in different ways – some find comfort and support in their existing personal networks and others find solace in faith, hobbies, or solitude. Bereavement therapy is a beneficial tool for those who feel stuck in their grief, are overwhelmed by their loss, or simply feel they could benefit from professional guidance.


Myth 5: You Only Need Bereavement Therapy if You Were Close to the Deceased

The relationship you had with the deceased does not determine your grief’s validity or intensity. People may experience profound grief after the passing of a distant relative, an estranged friend, or even a public figure who had a significant impact on their lives. The impact of grief is subjective, and therapy can help you, regardless of the nature of the relationship.


Myth 6: If You are Not Crying, You Do Not Need Bereavement Therapy

An insidious myth suggests that if you are not outwardly showing signs like constant tears, you do not need bereavement therapy. Grief does not always manifest as tears. For some people, it is quiet, internal, and sometimes even invisible to others. Bereavement therapy is a space to explore these quietly tumultuous emotions.


Myth 7: Other People’s Bigger Grief Invalidates Your Need for Therapy

Sometimes, people compare their situations to those who have experienced profoundly debilitating losses and thus feel their pain is not ‘worthy’ of therapy. But grief is not a competition. Everyone’s pain is significant to them, and no one should feel as though they need to compare grief or suffer silently.

Myth 8: Bereavement Therapy Is Solely About Talking

While talk therapy is a major segment of bereavement therapy, it is not the only method. Therapists employ various techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), art therapy, and techniques to nurture self-care. These diverse strategies cater to the different ways individuals process grief.


Myth 9: Bereavement Therapy Will Eradicate Your Grief

The idea that bereavement therapy will ‘fix’ someone by eliminating their grief is a prevalent myth. Rather than erasing grief, bereavement therapy focuses on giving individuals the tools to cope with their loss and live their lives while honoring their grief. Bereavement does not obviate grief – it fosters resilience.


Myth 10: Bereavement Therapy Will Rob You of Your Memories

There is a fear that confronting and processing grief will erase memories or lessen the love felt for the deceased. In reality, bereavement therapy is about learning to understand and cope with the loss emotionally. Far from erasing memories, therapy often helps individuals preserve and cherish the memory of their loved ones more healthily.


In conclusion, it is important to debunk these myths and misconceptions about bereavement therapy to eliminate any stigma, and to promote a better understanding of this form of therapy. Losing a loved one is a profound and unique experience for each person, and understanding the reality of bereavement therapy can offer a path toward healing for those who need it.


Farren Tkacsik

Alternative Therapy Solutions

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