Bereavement counselling - what to expect.

My mother passed away a couple of months ago and I am not coping at all well. She was ill for a short time and I nursed her and was with her at the end.

For background: I have one close relative who was awful during Mum’s illness to her and to me. They moved in with us and there was lots of very spiteful behaviour and shouting at both of us with minimal practical help given. This relative lived with us for a short time about six years ago behaving in a similar manner and by the time they left I had started self harming with the stress. I did not visit the doctor about the self harming then and got over the problem when my relative left.

The local hospice who helped with Mum’s care have offered me counselling which I am thinking of taking. I have not mentioned to them my feelings about this relative and I don’t know what to expect at all from counselling or if it is right for me. I know there is group or individual counselling but nothing of how it all works. Can i just keep quiet in the group sessions or will i be expected to contribute? Do people cry or are you expected to ‘be brave’? Should my problems with this relative be even taken to this form of counselling?

Any advice would be welcome.
Thank you.

Hi Mel,

I work in the community team and I just wanted to say hi and welcome to the site.
I’m so sorry to hear about your mother. I’m also sorry that your relatives have not been helpful for you during this tough time.

I think it’s a great idea to take up the offer of counselling from your local hospice. It’s understandable that you might be feeling a bit nervous about your first session, but it’s also important to remember that nothing is expected of you. You’ll be able to talk about your problems and feelings in a confidential environment. Grief and loss can put a massive strain on our relationships. Your counsellor will understand that your relationships will have been impacted by the loss of your mother, too.

Whether you’d like to choose individual or group counselling is up to you. How about calling your local hospice and asking for some more details about both forms of support on offer?

You might find that if you have something in particular you’d like to talk about, for example how your relationships have been affected, you may benefit more from an individual session that can be tailored towards this.

On the other hand, you could find that talking to others who have been through similar situations as you is helpful. What would you like to get out of counselling?

It sounds like things have been really hard, and I’m glad you have joined the community. I wanted to let you know about a couple of other conversations with people who have also sadly lost their mothers. You might want to have a read through or join in:

Take care,


Hi Kate

thank you for your reply. I have made contact with the hospice and arranged to go along to an informal event they hold regularly if I feel up to it. Am very up and down each day but would like to go just to make contact with them and chat.

This community is great and am so glad have joined. Find reading other peoples such sad posts makes me cry but is a comfort to know I am not alone.


Hi Mel,

That sounds like a great idea. Do let us know how it goes?

I’m glad that you’ve found reading others’ stories somewhat helpful. You really aren’t alone here.


A quick update, met a friend who is recovering from cancer yesterday and lost her fathe last year. She is on her second lot of counselling and has convinced me it is definitely the route for me to follow. She seemed so much calmer and happier than i have seen her for years so know this is something i should explore.

It is good to hear that your friend has helped you make up your mind on this. Have you been able to see your GP about this or find a counsellor? Let us know how you get along.

Hi Priscilla

I am meeting someone from the hospice this week to talk about counselling. Nervous but feel it is the right thing to do.


Hi mel I’ve just finished counciling and it does really help I’ve had 5 and I’m going to try on my own now if I feel I need to gi back I will fingers crossed all goes well for you x

Hi Janey,

thank you. Good to know it works.