What’s Online Grief Therapy or Counseling? Purpose + FAQs

Updated

The experience of grief and bereavement is an inevitable part of life. Grief, although a natural and normal response to loss, can be an emotionally taxing journey. Bereaved individuals are often lost and confused following a tragic loss and unaware of available online bereavement resources. Sometimes they're unsure of exactly which grief resources may benefit them as they struggle to cope with their loss.

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Technology is rapidly becoming a mainstay in how we seek and receive bereavement counseling and therapy. The internet has expanded the way we connect with others and gives us vast and immediate access to grief counselors and therapists from the world over. As the prevalence of online technologies continues to increase, there are more opportunities than ever before for grief counselors and therapists to offer their services to bereaved individuals suffering from grief. 

What’s Online Grief Therapy or Counseling?

The digital world offers technologies and opportunities that can help deal with death, dying, and grief. Online grief counseling and therapy are virtual bereavement support services and form a part of the existing communities on the internet dedicated to bereaved individuals needing help coping with loss. Online counseling and therapy allow the suffering to access a more diverse pool of counselors or therapists than they would otherwise be able to discover in their local or nearby communities. 

Online grief therapy and counseling services offer the support of trained professionals who deal with death and bereavement to those suffering from grief and loss. Because technology has shaped and changed how we communicate and interact with others, online grief therapy has become an essential part of grief support, counseling, and treatment. 

Online counseling services exist for bereaved individuals seeking information and help following the death of someone close to them. Many sites devoted to grief and bereavement have a counseling or therapy component to them. Those faced with grief can turn to the thousands of grief support services found online to either get counseling or be referred to a service that can help them obtain the help they need. 


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What’s the Difference Between Online and In-Person Grief Therapy or Counseling?

Traditional psychotherapy sessions involve face-to-face contact between the clinician and the client. With the introduction of online video conferencing, it’s now possible to conduct grief counseling or therapy online from the comfort of your home or another place where you feel comfortable. 

As far as the services provided, there isn’t much difference between one and the other. However, some people prefer in-person counseling over online counseling, or vice-versa.

Online counseling or therapy sessions have the added advantages of accessing your clinician from anywhere. You won’t have to rush back from vacation or reschedule because you can’t make it into their office by a specific date and time. You can reach your therapist across thousands of miles to conduct in-depth grief therapy from any location in the world.

The disadvantages are that you’ll need to get comfortable with video conferencing, you won’t ever get the sensory experience of meeting with your counselor or therapist in person, and you’ll need to print out worksheets on your own. 

What Are the Goals of Online Grief Therapy or Counseling?

As virtual worlds become easier to access and more intuitive, getting online therapy begins to mirror real life. Online bereavement counseling and therapy each have the same goals as in-person sessions. Whether you’re receiving grief counseling via the internet or in-person, you can expect these common goals:

  1. Accepting the reality of your loss
  2. Coping with the ensuing grief
  3. Adjusting to your new reality
  4. Maintaining a connection to your deceased loved one
  5. Moving forward from loss

What Happens During an Online Grief Therapy or Counseling Session?

When meeting with your grief counselor or therapist for the first time, you can expect your session to involve getting a feel for one another to see if you’re a good match. The initial meeting is about fostering a trusting relationship with your therapist. In addition to getting to know one another, you’ll answer some preliminary questions about the type of loss you experienced and how it’s affecting you. 

This initial session also establishes your counseling direction based on answering preliminary questions about your background, including your relationship to the deceased. Together, you and your therapist will outline your treatment schedule, list your expectations, and set a path for the subsequent sessions to follow. A seasoned therapist will walk you through each stage of your grief healing journey and present you with an estimate of how long your treatment will last. 

How Do You Know If You Need Online Grief Therapy or Counseling?

The experience of pain and grief is inescapable the longer we live and go through life’s ups and downs. While some people will get through their grief on their own, others won’t. They’ll need the added support of not only their friends and family but of professionals trained to help them understand what they’re going through.

As with any other type of counseling, you’ll know if you need to seek online grief therapy or counseling when your grief becomes unmanageable on your own. There’s nothing wrong with admitting defeat when you’re struggling to cope with your loss. Professional counselors or therapists can help you regain control of your grief so that together you can find ways of moving past your pain and sorrow. Some things to look for in your grief experience that signal when it’s time to get outside support:

  • You’re having trouble processing your loss
  • You feel hopeless and discouraged
  • Your grief is lingering for several months without getting better
  • You have symptoms of depression
  • Your grief is getting in the way of life


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How to Find Online Grief Therapy or Counseling

Thousands of grief-related services and websites dedicate themselves to helping bereaved individuals get the needed help they deserve. Anyone with access to a computer or smartphone can take advantage of the benefits of online grief therapy or counseling services offered by hundreds of mental health, and bereavement counselors found online.

Much like looking for online grief support groups, you can start your search with what’s familiar to you. Here are a couple of places where you can begin your search. 

Ask your online friends

Many people count on the virtual support of their online friends whenever something comes up in everyday life. Whether it’s an argument with a spouse or significant other or getting a speeding ticket, online communities are often well-connected, and someone can always refer you to someone else who can help you with what you need.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to your online support system when you need help finding a counselor or therapist to help you cope with your grief. If you’re feeling a little shy about oversharing your personal life, start by including only a small circle of online friends and working from there. 

Visit several grief support websites

There are virtually thousands of websites dedicated to grief and bereavement, and it’s easy to get lost in the confusion of where to begin. Start by searching out terms directly related to the type of loss you’ve experienced. Tackle the first one or two most popular websites first so that you limit your exposure to the vast amounts of information you’ll find online.

Peruse what they have to offer without committing to anything or anyone. Check out some of their blog postings and also their interactive chat rooms. Some websites offer you free access to this information and support without being a member. 

Popular Online Grief Therapy or Counseling Companies

There are different types of online grief support services available online. While some are better known than others, keep in mind that just because an online directory lists a particular service as one of the more popular ones doesn’t mean that it’ll be the right one for you. It also doesn’t mean that the lesser-known companies aren’t any good.

Use your best judgment in finding the right fit for you. Here are some of the more well-known online companies offering bereavement services right now. 

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Betterhelp

Betterhelp.com is a widespread online grief and bereavement support website that offers access to convenient and affordable mental health treatment. BetterHelp touts itself as the world’s largest mental health help organization online, providing access to licensed therapists for all types of issues, including grief and bereavement. They’ll match you with a therapist or counselor that best fits your type of loss, the problems you’re facing, and your personal preferences. 

Talkspace

Talkspace.com offers a unique 24/7 approach to getting the grief and bereavement support you need. They offer comprehensive online mental health treatments by phone, text, or video chat. Not only do they provide continual access to your counselor or therapist, but they also engage with you daily to make sure you’re keeping on track with your grief healing goals.

You can text your therapist whenever you want. It’s also free and easy to switch from one therapist to another if you’re unhappy with yours. Talkspace also offers psychiatry services that other online grief support websites don’t. 

Goodtherapy

Goodtherapy.org offers counseling and therapy support for loss, grief, and bereavement. While this service doesn’t offer access to free online grief counseling, they help connect you with the right services to fit your needs based on the type of loss suffered, your location, and your budget.

Although their online counselors can assist you wherever you might live, your location determines the price you’ll pay for their services. Each counselor is licensed where they practice, and as such, their fees vary from location to location. They offer a searchable directory to help you find the right counselor or therapist for you. 

Getting Online Therapy

Online therapy is convenient and often an affordable solution to your grief and bereavement counseling needs. Accessing the help you need online is often the best choice for many individuals who otherwise can’t or don’t want to meet with a therapist in person.

Connecting to professionally trained and licensed mental health providers has never been easier. The virtual world of grief counseling is a safe space for you to address your grief-related symptoms and experiences in the comfort and privacy of your home. 

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