Grief & Loss

Grief Counselling
Services in Calgary

Grief and loss counselling is available to support you after you have said good-bye to someone that you love and care about, whether that be a family member such as the loss of a child, a friend, a loved one, a pet, or beyond. It might also be dealing with yourself, a loved one nearing end-of-life. It can also include a diagnosis of a physical health issue, living with chronic pain, loss of a job, or a relationship ending. Feelings of grief and loss do not just happen when somebody dies, they happen related to change. Change happens all the time in our lives and, therefore, so can feelings of grief. Loss can trigger feelings of being sad, down, blue, hopeless, tearful, as well as physical changes like appetite, sleep, energy, and motivation shifts. Many people start to think they are depressed but they may actually be experiencing the body and mind’s natural way of adapting to the loss or change.

There is a difference between clinical depression and grief and loss. Clinical depression is often long-term, episodic, and not necessarily connected to triggers or specific situations. Grief and loss often have a specific trigger, resolve over time, and do not tend to be episodic to the same extent and severity as depression, though it is a process that can unfold over a long period of time.

Grief and loss counselling often involves holding space for you, your feelings, and processing. It is a safe and comfortable place to talk about the loss, share memories, and discuss ways for you to look after yourself while honouring the situation you have experienced.

The short story

At Sana Psychological, Paige Abbott (Registered Psychologist) works to provide that safe space to process your grief and loss.

This will involve sharing and potential feedback and strategies you can use to support yourself outside of counselling, including support groups and Alberta Health Services programs. The grief counselling may also open up other issues that can be explored. For grief and loss counselling services, you have the options of in-person, phone, and/or video sessions. The cost for each of these is $200/50 minute sessions. You are welcome to come in for a few sessions to process feelings and learn some tools for yourself, as well as invited to stay and build a long-term therapeutic relationship that you can utilize at any time to explore presenting issues and challenges. If needed or appropriate, family members and loved ones can be invited into the counselling process.

The longer story

Grief counseling is an opportunity to meet with an objective, neutral expert who can help you with bereavement support, help you process the feelings you are experiencing as well as provide suggestions for what you can do differently in your daily life to aid healing. The idea behind grief and loss counselling at Sana Psychological is to help you support yourself during an uncomfortable and hurtful time.

How Do You Know if You or a Loved One Would Benefit From Grief and Loss Counselling?

Any loss or change (whether anticipated or not) will come with feelings of grief and loss. This does not necessarily require counselling, but you may benefit from counselling if:

If you connect with any of these, then we would recommend you consider engaging with a grief counsellor or a mental health professional to support yourself at this time.

Grief and loss counselling may pertain to a recent loss or change, but it may also relate to something that happened long ago that you are struggling to find acceptance and peace around. Either way, counselling is a safe space to be able to share and get support wherever you are at. It is never too late to work on releasing the past.

Treatment Approach

Grief and loss counselling is typically a short-term process, particularly if you already have good self-awareness, support network, and self-care resources.

Those with these coping tools may also appreciate the opportunity to check in every few months or even once or twice per year to ensure they are staying diligent and accountable to their mental health plan, which are available at Sana Psychological. If you are new to counselling, have spent limited time self-developing and reflecting, have greater severity of issues, and/or have multiple challenges, then grief and loss counselling may be a longer and more intensive process. A great starting point is to be open to sessions every 1-4 weeks for a period of at least 3 months. Typically, it would be recommended that you meet with Paige more often initially (like every 1-2 weeks for a few sessions) before spacing out sessions to every 2-4+ weeks. This is because there is always lots to learn about you at the beginning of the counselling process and the more that is known about your background and situation, the better support we can provide. For all sessions, you have the option of in-person or Technology Assisted Counselling depending on your needs and preferences.

Paige really values building meaningful relationships with her clients and establishing a foundation of connection to not only support you through your immediate grief and loss but to also open up the door to exploring other parts of your life, as needed. It is okay if this does not fit your needs and goals. If you are interested in a short-term counselling program to do some process and build some tools and coping, that can be accomplished. If, however, you are interested in finding a therapist that is available to you over time for a variety of issues and life challenges, that can also be supported.

Initial counselling involves getting to know you through as many lenses as possible. This usually incorporates learning about your family, educational/work, and relationship background, in addition to current coping tools, activities, and supports. Grief and loss counselling is about much more than just the loss you are experiencing and involves the exploration and development of self-care, communication, boundaries, and more.

Paige Abbott incorporates a variety of therapeutic modalities into her counselling sessions. Her background is predominantly in Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) as well as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Solution-Focused Therapy, and motivational interviewing. The grief support program is often heavily focused on processing and draws on some principles of Emotion-Focused Therapy, where the focus is on connection and release rather than a “solution” per se. Follow-up appointments will involve a check-in to see how you are doing leading to a continued discussion of presenting issues and identified goals, and/or an exploration of acute challenges or new issues/goals that you would like to bring forward. The counselling process is fluid and Paige does not like to adhere to a set structure or rigidity with her approach and encourages you to be flexible in your exploration and meet yourself where you are at. Paige likes to actively engage with her clients by asking questions, providing feedback, and offering psychoeducation along the way to support you. If you want her to just sit back and listen, that works too!

Logistics

Counselling sessions are available in person in Calgary or by phone or video to anyone in the province of Alberta at the time of contact. The fees for these sessions are $200/50 minute appointments. For payment, Sana Psychological accepts cash, credit card, e-transfer, and direct billing with a number of different insurance carriers. To start the intake process, please e-mail, phone call, or text to request an appointment.

For loved ones

If desired or needed, grief and loss counselling can incorporate sessions with concerned family members or friends who would like to learn more about how to best support. They are welcome to come in for individual counselling sessions for their own support and/or do some joint appointments with the person who is engaged in the grief and loss counselling process. Being concerned about a loved one is challenging and draining. Waiting for them to access help and take steps towards change can be very frustrating. If this is where you are at, then perhaps it is time to consider counselling for yourself to see what change is possible for you. While these joint sessions are not specifically family counselling sessions, this may create some change in the relational unit in and of itself, and/or inspire your loved one to do something different for themselves.

Sana Psychological is here to support you in doing different to be different.