Grief and Loss Counselling Psychologist

What Is a Grief and Loss Psychologist?

Many people are surprised by the strength and complexity of the emotions that they can experience. Grief is the powerful set of feelings that most people go through after a traumatic loss.  The  feelings can be intense and often are not something that can be easily controlled. Seeing a psychologist for grief and loss counselling can help. Emer Dunne will guide you through the process of accepting the changes to you and your life. 

Feelings of grief and loss may follow the death of a family member but the same feelings follow after other significant events.

Other significant events are also important to consider. 

  • If you lose your job
  • Lifestyle change after an illness
  • changing financial status
  • stillbirth or miscarriage
  • death of a pet
  • relationship coming to an end, divorce
  • Serious illness in someone you love
  • Losing your physical mobility or independence

Grief is not a single emotion. It’s an experience that affects you emotionally, mentally, physically and/or spiritually when you are in this state. Grief can make a person feel very alone. Talking about your situation with others who are mourning may help you understand your own feelings.

What Is Normal Grief?

Grief after a painful or traumatic loss is a necessary part of life. While grief is different for everyone, most people have similar experiences and emotions in the days, weeks, or months following the major loss. This is referred to as normal grief.

Symptoms of normal grief include:

Feelings of sadness, anger, loneliness, guilt, emptiness

  • Frequent crying
  • disturbance to your normal sleep patterns. 
  • A low mood and fatigue
  • Feeling lethargic or apathetic about life in general
  • changes in eating patterns. 
  • Social withdrawal and emotional isolation
  • Poor concentration
  • Questioning the meaning of life, religious belief and reviewing life goals

Many people with normal grief will gradually have more time feeling normal, but may never entirely forget the loss – for example on anniversaries. 


What Is Complicated Grief?


Complicated grief is the official term that applies when the response to a loss or death does not fade over time. It impacts someone’s ability to feel or function normally in the longer term and is a cause for concern.

This can be diagnosed if symptoms persist 12 months (six months for children and adolescents) after the loss of a close loved one. It is characterized by the experience of intense longings for or preoccupations with thoughts of the deceased, accompanied by identity disturbances, disbelief about the loss, avoidance of reminders of the death, intense emotional pain, and experiences of numbness, meaninglessness, or loneliness, causing significant distress, impairment, and dysfunction in important areas of one’s life.

Whatever the name, the condition infers the abnormal delay or absence of coping in a way that causes undue disability or distress.

The characteristics of complicated grief can include many of the same experiences as normal grief. However, other symptoms may include:

  • Persistent anger, irritation, or episodes of rage
  • Inability to focus on anything but the loss
  • Excessive avoidance of any reminders of the loss
  • Intense feelings of sadness, pain, detachment, sorrow, hopelessness, emptiness, or low self-esteem
  • Problems accepting the reality of the loss
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as substance abuse use or risk-taking behaviors
  • Thoughts of self harm

 There is no set point at which normal grief becomes complicated grief.  

Delayed Grief 

Delayed grief is when a person’s normal grief response is delayed. There may be a need to be strong to support other, or otherwise put on a brave face. Or there may be other reasons getting in the way of grieving. For example, too much stress, to busy, or some people can’t grieve until something “triggers” those feelings.

Our grief and loss psychologist


 Emer Dunne is our psychologist who has undergone training in grief and is interested to work with you in this area of psychology. 





























Book an Appointment

If you would like to book in to see an Adelaide psychologist, our receptionist will help you to find the  psychologist with an interest in your area where help is needed. Westbourne Park Psychology has now amalgamated with Rose Park Psychology. To see the psychologists who treat panic attacks please follow this link to Rose Park Psychology

Email us on or call us on (08) 8364 3818. Monday – Friday we are open until 5:00 pm. We are open until 8:00pm on Tuesdays.