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All of us will receive bad news—devastating news—in the course of our lives, if we haven’t already. Studies have shown patients and their families remember the way bad news is delivered—the exact words health care staff use, how they looked, and whether they seemed to sincerely care—for the rest of their lives.

The task of breaking bad news can be improved by understanding the process involved and approaching it as a stepwise procedure, applying well-established principles of communication and counseling. Bad news may be defined as “any information which adversely and seriously affects an individual's view of his or her future”. Bad news is always, however, in the “eye of the beholder,” such that one cannot estimate the impact of the bad news until one has first determined the recipient's expectations or understanding. For example, a patient who is told that her back pain is caused by a recurrence of her breast cancer when she was expecting to be told it was a muscle strain is likely to feel shocked.

One thing we know from talking to people who’ve been bereaved is that no one experiences grief in the same way. Whatever you’re feeling, try to remember that it’s normal and there are people who can support you if you need it. Grief is a natural response to losing someone you care about. There's no right or wrong way to grieve, and everyone experiences it differently. The important thing is let yourself grieve and mourn as much and as long as you need to.

Although grieving is painful, in time these feelings begin to change as you adapt to a different way of life. Grief can never be fixed, diminished or taken away. It becomes part of us, and shapes the rest of our lives.

 

Counsellors sometimes talk about grieving or mourning in terms of stages or tasks that are worked through. Some people find these helpful but don’t worry if they’re not right for you. Here are some common emotions experienced by people who are grieving:

 

Denial: This can't be happening to me.

Anger: Why is this happening to me? Who caused this to happen?

Bargaining: From now on, I promise to go church/visit my sick neighbour every day, and everything will be OK again.

Depression: What is the point of it all?

Acceptance: This has really happened.

These are sometimes called the five stages of grief. Some people have all of these feelings, while others may not experience any, or experience them in a different order.

 

You don’t have to go through bereavement alone. Although some people are generally more comfortable talking to friends and family about their loss, many benefit from talking to a professional counsellor or psychotherapist.

 

If you’d like to find out more about professional grief counselling, please contact us for further information.

Our counsellor offers her wealth of experience, specialising in Palliative Care, Bereavement and Pre Bereavement in Adults and Children and Grief Counselling.

We also now run workshops providing the guidance and educating of Health Care Workers in the medical settings and individual with the delivering and receiving of bad news.

For more areas of counselling and therapies offered click here.

 

PSYCHOLOGICAL SUPPORT, EDUCATION AND COUNSELLING SERVICES

CONTACT US

Tel : +44 (333) 577 1900

Mobile : 07500 949070

23 Woodlands Close

Hockley

Essex

SS5 4PN

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Life Aid Medical Ltd

23 Woodlands Close

Hockley

Essex

SS5 4PN

Registered in England.. 09437072

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