Specialising in Grief and Loss

The pain of grief is just as much a part of life as the joy of love; it is, perhaps, the price we pay for love, the cost of commitment.
Colin Murray Parkes 1928 – English Psychiatrist.

Grief and Loss Counselling

My Counselling and Me provides empathetic, friendly, and safe counselling, helping you work through your pain, assisting with practical strategies to manage distress and reframe memories to be less painful and more positive. My Counselling and Me is person-centred and utilises an integrative approach to assist the diverse needs of people and their unique grief experiences.

Grief is the feeling experienced after a loss. Grief is commonly associated with a loved one’s death. However, grief can also occur with other types of loss. For example, a person might grieve the loss of a pet, a job, divorce, or estrangement of someone close in their life and the impact of illness or injury, such as the loss of future hopes and dreams.

Grief

Grief is a normal and natural feeling after a loss or change. When someone we love dies, it represents an end to what has been familiar to us, and we must adapt to that new, usually unwanted, reality. Our lives are different after someone meaningful to us dies.

Grief includes the conflicting feelings caused by the loss or change, and for most people, the primary emotion they feel when their loved one dies is tremendous sadness. Part of the sadness is the reality that the death of their loved one is unchangeable.

But sometimes, in addition to the sadness and other painful feelings involved, there can be complex feelings. For example, some people experience guilt or remorse about time not spent together, and others might experience relief that a loved one is no longer suffering. Others might feel irrational anger towards the person they’ve lost for leaving them, even if they didn’t have a say. All these responses can be bewildering and make it harder to go about your daily life. To an extent, they’re a normal part of the grieving process, and some things take time to resolve.

If your grief stops you from living a full life, getting help is important. Grieving people often feel isolated because loss is deeply personal.

Counselling can help you process and live with your grief and regain your quality of life.

Grief is different for everyone and can present itself in many ways. You might experience feelings or behaviours you don’t recognise as part of the grieving process:

  • Feelings of disbelief, confusion, anxiety, fear, sadness, anger, guilt, and relief
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Lack of interest in daily life
  • Numbness
  • Shock.

Grief can raise confusing and complex emotions.

During the grieving process, it is important to maintain connections with others, such as family and friends and, where possible, maintain a regular sleep routine, exercise and eat well.

Resources

  • Lifeline 13 11 14
  • Mental Health Emergency Response Line 1300 555 788
  • Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
  • Griefline 1300 845 745

My Counselling and Me can also assist in the following areas.

Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) Counselling

You or a loved one may be considering or navigating their way through the voluntary assisted dying (VAD) Process. My Counselling and Me has experience supporting people through the emotional challenges before, during, and after the completion of VAD.

Voluntary assisted dying is a process for someone to access medication and legally choose the manner and timing of their death. Voluntary assisted dying became a legal end-of-life choice for eligible Western Australians from 1 July 2021. That means that in WA, adults can now ask for medical help to end their life if they have a disease or illness that is so severe it will cause their death within 6-12 months, and their suffering can’t be relieved in a manner tolerable to them.

When someone you love dies, whether through VAD, we experience loss and grief not dissimilar to any other cause of death; according to evidence-based literature, grief symptoms are no more difficult or complex in VAD than in other dying contexts1.

Family and loved ones commonly report ‘Anticipatory Grief’ (anticipatory grief is when a person suffers grief symptoms before a loss) before a VAD death; Once aware of the planned date and time of their loved one’s death, which includes an acute awareness of sharing the last moments with their loved ones2.

At My Counselling and Me we are very familiar with the VAD process. We can support those going through or impacted by VAD, including considerations around your loss, grief and preparing for the day of the VAD death.

1 Laperle, P., Achille, M., & Ummel, D. (2022). To lose a loved one by medical assistance in dying or by natural death with palliative care: A mixed methods comparison of grief experiences. Omega-Journal Of Death And Dying. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/00302228221085191.

2 Beuthin, R., Bruce, A., Thompson, M., Andersen, A., & Lundy, S. (2022). Experiences of grief-bereavement after a medically assisted death in Canada: Bringing death to life. Death Studies, 46(8), 1982-1991. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/07481187.2021.1876790.

Resources

Voluntary Assisted Dying Statewide Care Navigator Service

You can contact the Statewide Care Navigator Service to talk to someone about voluntary assisted dying. This is a free service established to assist all Western Australians with any aspect of voluntary assisted dying. To talk to one of their experienced health professionals, contact the service at (08) 9431 2755 or VADcarenavigator@health.wa.gov.au.

Willow – Community and Family Support Through Voluntary Assisted Dying

Growing the space for community connectedness and peer-to-peer support in voluntary assisted dying. https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100095063409905&mibextid=LQQJ4d

End of Life Counselling

Facing a life life-limiting illness/condition? You are not alone. My Counselling and Me are here to provide you with support in coping/processing a life-limiting illness/condition, drawing upon a vast and diverse experience within counselling and nursing; Including palliative, critical and aged care.

End-of-life counselling helps you to process death and dying, enabling you to develop strategies and explore options and solutions that include considering and planning for the many tasks ahead, consistent with your values and beliefs. We provide help, supporting you during this emotional and challenging time through counselling, including practical support and helping you and your loved ones through this challenging time.

We work collaboratively to help you navigate the practical tasks ahead.

Resources

Pet Loss Counselling

Losing a beloved pet is a deeply personal and often profoundly emotional experience. The bond we share with our furry companions is one of unconditional love, and when that bond is broken, it can be overwhelming and distressing. Grief for a pet is a real and valid emotion, yet it can be challenging to find understanding and support from those who may not have experienced the unique connection you share with your beloved pet.

It is important to acknowledge that your feelings are genuine and deserve recognition.

As a passionate dog owner and lover and professional grief and loss counsellor, My Counselling and Me recognises how important this special relationship is, and we are here to support you before, during and after the loss of your beloved pet.

People facing end-of-life commonly worry about the fate of their furry companions after they die. Information on care and support for your pets can be located here.

LGBTIQ Counselling

My Counselling and Me proudly provides empathetic counselling within a safe environment to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans/gender diverse communities, including people who are intersex or identify as genderqueer, non-binary or gender questioning.

My Counselling and Me recognises the concerns LGBTIQ clients bring to counselling are often universal to all people and not necessarily related to their personal sexual orientation or gender identity. Most importantly, we are committed to providing our clients with a safe, nonjudgmental, and accepting therapeutic environment.

Inclusive Communication

LGBTIQ inclusivity means acknowledging and respecting that diversity in sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics is a normal part of life. When inclusive communication is present, it is verbal (through comfort with LGBTIQ language), written (in intake forms), and visual (the display of LGBTIQ flags or imagery), and it is linked to feelings of safety and being welcome. Inclusive communication can reduce stress, anger, and fear of poor treatment and rejection.

Pronouns are integral to who we are, and we share pronouns because we want to avoid assuming someone’s pronouns based on factors like appearance. Pronouns are linguistic tools that we use to refer to people.  (i.e., they/them/theirs, she/her/hers, he/him/his). By assuming someone’s pronouns based on their appearance, one implicitly reinforces harmful stereotypes about gender expression. For example, masculine-looking people always use he/him/his pronouns. This is not always the case, and it is important to understand and respect everyone’s identity. This is why we want to ask, not assume, someone’s pronouns and introduce ourselves with our pronouns. Using someone’s correct pronouns is an important way of affirming someone’s identity and is a fundamental step in being an ally.

LGBTIQ clients may seek counselling for many reasons, such as:

  • Sexual orientation
  • Isolation
  • Gender identity
  • Discrimination
  • Homophobia
  • Coming out
  • Biphobia
  • Trauma and Stress
  • Transphobia.

Relationship Counselling

With My Counselling and Me, we can assist you with working through your relationship problems or issues; empowering you to develop strategies, increase self-awareness and explore options and solutions towards achieving positive and healthy relationships. We have a passion for empowering couples to overcome hurdles and achieve their goals of being more fulfilled; Encouraging and supporting people in moving from where they are to where they want to be. We proudly provide an empathetic and non-judgmental safe space for all relationships, including individuals who identify as LGTBIQ.

Sometimes achieving positive healthy relationships includes recognising that not all relationships can be reconciled and the focus of counselling shifts toward achieving an amicable understanding and separation.

D’Accord Employment Assistance Program
(EAP)

My Counselling and Me provides Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) counselling for D’Accord Clients; providing a confidential short-term solution-focused counselling service for employees and/or their family members. D’Accord is a national industry leader in providing EAP, critical incident stress management services, workplace training, mediation, outplacement, psychological assessments, and organisational consultancy services. D’Accord aims to assist their client organisation in improving and maintaining their workforce’s health, well-being, and adaptability.

D’Accord OAS

Level 15 / 379 Collins St
Melbourne VIC 3000
Toll-Free: 1300 130 130
Website: www.daccordoas.au
Email: enquiries@daccordoas.au