Frequently Asked Questions

50 Euro per call.

As I make the call to you, there are no additional costs for the call itself. This is covered by the service.

Each call is treated as a counselling session and lasts for 50 minutes, unless you decide to end the call earlier.

My service is currently available to residents of Ireland.

I generally work with clients who are 18 years old and over. I would consider working with a younger person but I would need the consent of a parent or guardian before doing so.

Other services that can help and support families and children who are bereaved are The Irish Childhood Network (www.childhoodbereavement.ie) and Child Bereavement UK (www.childbereavementuk.org).

I provide support for any death of a loved one. This covers the loss of a partner, parent, grandparent, sibling, or any other family relative, child (including miscarriage, stillbirth and neo-natal death), friend and pet. This is not an exhaustive list. Any death that impacts upon you and leaves you feeling you need support is appropriate for my service.

I also provide support for any type of death, whether it is due to natural or unnatural causes, such as, accidental death, suicide, murder, or death by medical negligence.

Bereavement, however, is not confined to death alone. Loss can take many forms and I provide support for any life event or development that results in you experiencing this. The end of a relationship, estrangement from family, infertility, redundancy and retirement from long-term employment, are but a few examples. There is what is known as “living losses”, wherein a loved one deteriorates and loses mental and / or physical capacity. This can also happen to oneself and result in having to face the greatest of personal losses in one’s own death.

Yes you can, whether this is to help you support somebody who is bereaved, or whether it is to help you cope with the bereaved person and your relationship with him or her. Many relationships feel the strain of bereavement when one person is going through a grief reaction. Bereavement can have a profound effect upon somebody’s personality and how they relate and feel towards others, which, in turn, can become stressful for those who experience these changes.

Deciding to access counselling is a personal choice. You may decide to get support based on how difficult you are finding your grief and the impact it is having upon you and your life. Grief is a natural process and, in most instances, it will resolve itself over time. However, it is still a painful and confusing process to go through, and counselling can help you cope with it until it does get easier. More complicated and prolonged forms of grief, in which a person may become stuck in their process, may require a therapeutic intervention in order for recovery to take place.

There is no right or wrong time to have counselling for bereavement, as such. Research does suggest that bereavement counselling tends to be more effective if it is received six months or more following a death. This makes sense as the time allows some distance from the event of the death for it to be processed and worked through in counselling. It can take this length of time before a bereaved person can face talking about a loss in depth and the feelings that accompany it. This is not, however, set in stone, and counselling can still support a client in the early stages of grief, in beginning to find a way to cope with and to begin to adjust to the loss.

On the other hand, counselling can help with bereavement that has occurred many years ago. There is no time limit on an unresolved grief that has not been processed and worked through. This is particularly true of many losses that occur in childhood, and were not permitted or supported with at the time.

Definitely not. If anything, you are showing strength of character by accessing counselling. You are committing yourself to facing your grief and how you feel about it. There are benefits to doing this, absolutely, but it can also be painful and tough going in doing so. The consequences of not working through your grief, however, can be detrimental, not only to your own wellbeing, but to that of others as well. If you don’t face up to your own suffering then the likelihood is that you are going to make other people suffer, including loved ones.

From my perspective, the first call is one in which I carry out an assessment of your grief, its impact upon you, and your support needs moving forward. In order to do this, I need to hear your story, what you have gone through, and the extent to which you are coping with your experience. For you, the client, this is an opportunity to talk about your loss and the impact it is having upon you. This may very well be the first time you have spoken about it at length and in depth with another person, so you may become emotional in doing so, but that is absolutely fine and appropriate. Nothing else causes such powerful feelings as grief does and there is a cathartic effect in being able to experience and express them.

This really depends on the outcome of the first call and what your needs are in moving forward. Sometimes a client feels one call is enough. Just to have had that one experience of being able to talk through your grief and its impact can be enough in itself. Sometimes it is useful to have a follow-up call to review how you have been since having your first call, and this may turn out to be sufficient. Other times, it can be useful to have ongoing sessions for a period of time, in order to work through an aspect of your grief that you are finding difficult.

Being a telephone counselling service I aim to be flexible in how I am accessed by clients. Unlike other issues that are brought to counselling, bereavement is something that very much fluctuates through a person’s life. There can be times when it eases but other times when it surfaces very strongly, such as, at anniversaries, significant dates, and other times of the year. Subsequently, I am comfortable with my service being accessed on an ad hoc basis, as and when the need for support arises.

There are several helplines in Ireland that provide a lifeline to people in crisis. They have a crucial role to play in supporting those who are depressed and suicidal. They certainly have their place and I would not deter anybody from using them. However, many are run and delivered by volunteers who, although will have received a certain amount of training, are generally not qualified counsellors and are not required to meet the requirements of a professional body, such as, regular clinical supervision or ongoing training for the purposes of continuing professional development.

When deciding to access help for bereavement, I feel it is important for a person to consider where this help will come from. It can be an enormous and brave step to take in reaching out for help, and if this isn’t met with the right response, it can have a damaging effect. Part of this is potentially causing the bereaved person to put up the shutters again and back off from seeking help. I hope that my training, experience and professional standing at least makes me a safe person to approach, especially for the first time, and if contacting me doesn’t turn out to be helpful, at least it will not be a detrimental experience.