Grief is a term for the deep distress a person may feel after experiencing a significant loss. Grief counseling is a type of psychotherapy that may help them recover their day-to-day functioning after this loss. Instead of face-to-face counseling, some people may prefer online grief counseling.
- shock or numbness
If intense feelings of grief are affecting a person’s day-to-day life, they may benefit from counseling, such as online grief counseling.
This article will discuss different types of online grief counseling, how they may help, and when to seek help.
Online grief counseling is a form of grief counseling that is available through the internet. Some research suggests that telemental healthcare is comparable with in-person services. It may also have the added benefits of being cheaper and more accessible.
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), grief counseling is the “provision of advice, information, and psychological support” to help people regain the ability to function following a loss.
Usually, this will include counseling for the grieving process. In 1969, Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross introduced the five stages of grief that many people know today.
However, there is no correct way to experience grief. Therefore, experts may instead refer to these stages as domains of grief, as they understand that people may move back and forth through the domains or may not even experience all the “stages” of grief at all.
Usually, a health professional will recommend grief counseling to people who are finding it difficult to function or having trouble grieving after a loss.
A person may benefit from counseling if grief is:
- interfering with their daily activities
- causing relationship problems
- making it hard to go on with their own lives
- causing intense feelings of guilt or depression
Grief counseling aims to provide a person with methods and strategies to help them cope with their loss and sense of grief. This may involve a person discussing their feelings and emotions with a therapist or support group to help them discover ways to navigate the grieving process.
Undergoing grief counseling may also help people avoid potential side effects of grieving, such as eating problems, self-destructive behaviors, or difficulty sleeping.
Why seek grief counseling online?
Online grief counseling may be particularly useful due to its availability, potential for anonymity, and accessibility.
Compared with face-to-face therapy, internet-based interventions may also offer more flexibility and faster attainability.
There are many different types of online grief counseling, and a person may choose one or more depending on their individual needs.
The following sections will look at the types available in more detail.
Video call sessions
One option is counseling through video or phone calls. These options allow people to access services that they may otherwise be unable to, such as due to distance or time commitments.
The APA suggest that telemental health is equivalent to face-to-face care in various settings and an acceptable alternative to it.
Online chat or therapy apps
Therapy apps, such as Talkspace and Betterhelp, allow people to connect with a therapist online or via text.
The cost of counseling through BetterHelp ranges from $60 to $80 per week, whereas Talkspace counseling starts at $65 per week.
Studies have also suggested that asynchronous messaging therapy can be as effective as in-person therapy. Therefore, apps such as these can be a convenient option for those who do not want to be vocal about their feelings.
Like support groups that meet in person, people can also access support groups online. As it is online, this can be with people in the local area or with people worldwide.
With group therapy, it can be useful for a person to be around others going through similar experiences. This can reassure them that they are not alone, help them through their grief, and help them realize that people work through grief at their own pace.
There are also a wide variety of online grief support communities. Many of these forums are available 24/7.
For example, grieving.com is a grief support community that helps a quarter million people annually from over 100 countries.
A person should first consider how they would be most comfortable accessing support, whether that be via live chats, social media groups, apps, or videos. Alternatively, they may wish to see a therapist in person.
They should also ensure that any grief counseling service they receive is from a professional and that they have accreditation by a professional body.
Clergy members, social workers, nurses, or marriage and family counselors who have received advanced training in helping people with grief may also offer grief counseling.
Different types of online grief counseling have different costs. Some, such as forums, may be free to use, while some may run on donations. Others, such as video calls, are usually cheaper than traditional forms of therapy and may also be more cost effective.
Some insurance plans may cover online therapy or therapy through apps, but a person should check this with their insurance provider. Some Employee Assistance Programs may also include access to grief counseling.
Other options may include sliding scale therapists, training clinics, or trainees.
Although online grief therapy may be better for some people, this may not be the case for everyone. Some may prefer traditional face-to-face therapy.
Some people may find it difficult to form a relationship with their therapist if they are not meeting face-to-face. This may also make it difficult for the therapist to identify any nonverbal cues that they may pick up in person.
Some people may also feel more self-conscious when in front of a screen.
A person should try to seek help if they are struggling to cope with loss and are experiencing prolonged, intense, or problematic reactions. It is also OK for a person to seek online grief counseling if they just feel like they need someone to talk to.
Although family and friends can provide a support network, sometimes, speaking to them may not feel like an option, as they may also be going through the same grieving process.
Therefore, a person may prefer to speak to a professional to work through their emotions.
People experience grief in different ways. There is no correct way for a person to experience grief. A person who is grieving may want to seek help from friends or family, support groups, or a professional counselor.
Many experts consider teletherapy to be as effective as traditional face-to-face therapy. Online grief counseling may be particularly useful due to its lower cost, better accessibility, and wider availability.