Update September 2021: Our Head Office in Hanley is starting to re-open, with Covid-19 safety precautions in place for the protection of our staff and our clients. We are currently seeing children & young people face-to-face and hope to start to open to our adult clients in the next few weeks. Our Dove Buddies groups are starting back up in several locations, please call our office or check our Facebook page for more information.

Coping with a traumatic loss

Sometimes the death of someone close to us can be sudden and traumatic. This may complicate the grieving process and leave us feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope with our feelings.

It may be that we were present at the time of death and witnessed a horrible event. We may have found the body or witnessed our loved one’s last breaths. It is because we have not been through anything like this before that it sends our body and mind into chaos.

Trauma memories are processed differently than normal memories and when we witness and experience a life threatening situation or a death, it can take quite a while for our mind to process this.

We may experience flashbacks. This is where an image comes into our mind and it is as though we are straight back there in the moment, feeling all the same sensations. We may have intrusive thoughts where we cannot get images out of our mind. We can also experience nightmares so there is no respite in sleep. Whilst very distressing, it is just our mind trying to make some sense out of what has happened.

It is essential to work through these thoughts, images and feelings in some depth so that the trauma memories can eventually be stored away under a normal memory. This means that the memory will still be distressing, but there won’t be the same high intensity, in the moment, feelings attached to it anymore.

A bereavement counsellor can help to process the trauma and aid in helping both body and mind to help find some equilibrium.


Our counselling team provide specialist counselling & support to those affected by grief, through bereavement, loss or life-changing illness.  For more information, contact us on 01782 683155 (Mon-Fri office hours) and speak with a member of our team.