Bereavement due to traumatic death
Rosemary found her NHS counselling very helpful, but the way in which the GP made the referral...
Yes it was, it was a National Health Service referral. I mean largely because that’s what this friend of mine suggested I did. I mean she said, “But only do it Rose if you really feel that’s what you want” but I’m glad I did, but the actual process itself was awful, really awful. I mean I really was made to, made to feel that a) was it really necessary, I mean it’s bad enough being told to go and find your own physiotherapist but I did think that on that occasion I thought yes I would like you to refer me please, you know.
Did you have to wait a long time?
No I didn’t have to wait at all actually, I had to, I think I got an appointment the next week actually. And it was all, the actual counselling was fine because the chap, you know, wouldn’t have been everybody’s cup of tea, I can see that, he was quite elderly but I quite liked him.
Did he describe what he did in any particular way, I mean did he talk about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or anything like that; he didn’t describe himself as a particular kind of counsellor?
No he didn’t, no, I mean in fact actually it was, that was, that was okay but, I mean I think for someone like me who’s lived as long as I have and never done anything like that before perhaps, perhaps slightly more direction would have been better, I don’t know. The benefit I got from it really was just sitting and talking to him, he did ask, to be fair though and I’m I mean he did ask me some pretty probing questions about the way I felt about things and my relationships with various people, including my mother and things like that but, you know, it wasn’t, I didn’t really I felt that what I got out of it was, because I talked to him, you know, really rather than because he didn’t, he never suggested anything at all really except he did, he did, at one point we came onto the fact that I hadn’t had a dinner party for a long time, I remember I thought and I said I hadn’t really felt like it and he said it might be an idea if I started having them again but anyway, I mean it sounded as if I did it all the time and I do remember that particularly because it struck me as being rather amusing about that I could rush off and make a dinner for somebody [laughter]. But you know I think in the end what, what’s really valuable is having somebody, I mean both the Vicar and the Psychotherapist who, who were not exactly paid to listen to you but were you felt that you could take up their time.
Alison had to wait months to see a counsellor who specialised in bereavement through trauma. The...
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Yes, I saw her, I saw her briefly for , let me think, I saw her, I saw her about another half dozen times, and that lasted about a year, so that was from about May 2007 to May this year.
So was that the most helpful thing?
I think so yes. I mean, there came to a point where I had to pay for some sessions myself, well it was very expensive, it’s was about £100 an hour, and we were, but I paid for an extra couple myself, just like a private thing really, just to put my mind at ease about some things I was still feeling, I was glad I did because it did, it did help. So she’s still available, she’s still there if, in case I need her.
Dorothy couldnt sleep and was having flashbacks after her son was killed. Her husband was very...
Did she put you in a state of hypnosis?
And it helped you to think back, think in a different way?
No, it was, it was mainly the kind of, putting me in a place where I felt comfortable and relaxed and able to feel, not quite happy but peaceful, basically.
How many sessions did you have to have with her?
Again I probably had about 10.
And that helped a little bit?
It did, it helped with the sleep, and the flashbacks, but then obviously you know the flashbacks have tended to come back, while we were going through the evidence for the, preparing for the inquest, you know, reading it all, I began to get these flashbacks back again during the night.
I’m so sorry.
Anyway that’s difficult.
Sarah thought that she would have a 3-month wait to see the counsellor attached to her GP’s practice but she was fast tracked and saw the counsellor a few days later. The counsellor helped Sarah to recognise that bereavement from a traumatic death can differ from other bereavements.
Sarah saw a counsellor attached to her GP's surgery, who used neurolinguistic programming...
And where have you found help for yourself at?
So can you give me the, another example of the wedding, did she make you think about it in a different way as well?
No, we talked about how to have him there, and the different ways to have him there, and so we did actually have a photograph on the table, with some beautiful flowers, not in front of me, off side, off side, so that he was there but I didn’t have to look at him, because if I’d looked at him it would have made me cry. But in fact when it, and then we’d talked about what I’d think about and how I would think and as a result the wedding was a, a, well they were definitely, it was a happy day.
So she helped you change the way you might think about it?
Absolutely, completely and utterly. Yes. So it’s not a, it’s not a contemplate your navel, and how do you feel about things. It’s strategies for coping.
So she’s professionally trained?
Oh incredibly professionally trained, incredibly professionally trained. And I don’t think I could have survived , well of course I would have done but she has enabled me to, and when I have issues that I have to deal with…
Can you still go and see her?
I can see her for as long as, the words are, “for as long as I like, whenever I want.” Well not whenever I want, I can go about once a month, every five or six weeks. But because of the trauma round about the second anniversary she did say if I wanted I could ring her up, and after the, that trauma she was able to put things into perspective, so she’s very clever.
And I would, I would recommend it to everybody.
The counsellor understood Sarah's emotions and allowed her to feel 'really awful'. She understood...
Victim Support provided a counsellor trained in trauma incident counselling. Counselling was free...
Jayne saw a bereavement counsellor who helped her to explore how Jonathans death had affected...
He just, it was just another statistic, you know? And I was very, very concerned that Jon had some dignity in his death really, that people realised the kind of man who had died and that his death in my eyes was preventable, and predictable because the man who had killed him had been violent in the past. I mean it was almost like saying, “Hang on a minute, there’s this major event that’s happened in my life, to Jon. I want you to know about it, and I want you to take it as seriously, as seriously as you can.” You know, and that’s where my energy was taken up, and it took me a very, very long time to think, hang on a minute Jayne, something’s happened to you. And then to start to look at that, really, and to realise the kind of impact it had had on me.
So was the counsellor a professional trained person?
Or a volunteer?
No. She was a, she was a volunteer but she was a professional.
Yes. Yes. She was an expert, you know, and she was very warm and welcoming and she wasn’t, you know the, the feelings that I described about people being overwhelmed. You know that, the feeling that you have are so raw that people don’t know what to say, and people don’t know what to do and you know people start saying to you, “You need to move on now.” You know people do say things like that, in fact even after a short period of time, but you go into a counselling situation with somebody who is an expert, and they will be able to bear witness to that, you know, that they will, they will let you, you will feel safe enough to show how raw you can possibly feel following something like this.
Did she visit you or did you have to go somewhere?
I went there.
They had their offices somewhere?
Yes. Yeah I went there once a week and I only left because she was leaving. I wouldn’t have stopped the relationship with her; I would have continued to go. But she left.
Michael decided to have some professional counselling because he found it hard to talk about...
Why do you think you felt you couldn’t cry?
I don’t know. I, maybe it’s a man thing. I just, didn’t want somebody else to see me in tears you know. I’m a man you know, I should be sort of stronger with my feelings and hold it back. But that’s the hardest thing and it’s probably the worst thing to do.
I’ve now since learned that you let your feelings go. You know, it’s okay to cry, and sometimes I do.
And can you talk about Lewis with your wife and family now?
I can now, yes. I mean we talk about things that you know, things that happened in the past, we talk about things that, that happened now, and we say well, Lewis would’ve done this, and Lewis would’ve done that, so yes, it’s easier to talk about now, because it’s not bottled up anymore. You know I’ve taken the cap off.
So the counselling really helped you with that?
The counselling did help yes. And I, and I was a skeptic, I did think that, you know talking about my son’s death wouldn’t be any help, but there’s so much more to it than that.
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It sounds really good.
Yes, she was great.
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Last reviewed October 2015.
Last updated October 2011.