The Bereavement Counselling Service (which is a registered charity) was formed in 1982 by a group of professionals with backgrounds in psychiatry, medicine, social work, nursing and psychology, who were concerned at the lack of support available for those who had experienced bereavement.
A group of volunteers was recruited and trained in the theory of grief and the counselling of bereaved individuals. The service trains it’s own counsellors. There is a strong supportive monitoring system within the service for counsellors and attendance at ongoing training is obligatory. A committee elected at the A.G.M. is responsible for the organization of the service.
The Bereavement Counselling Service offers support and counselling to enable people deal with their grief. This applies not only to those directly bereaved through death, stillbirth, miscarriage, abortion etc., but also to those whose lives are affected by the losses of those near to them.
The basic service consists of one-to-one counselling by appointment. Volunteers may also be available for telephone and emergency counselling sessions. Although the BCS is free of charge, donations are welcome as they are the chief source of income to meet administrative expenses.
At present the Bereavement Counselling Service operates at several centres in the greater Dublin area, also Bray, Newbridge and Carlow. Counsellors also give talks on coping with bereavement to various groups, schools and businesses within the community. The Service holds regular information days.
In 1994 a children’s branch was formed. This branch is run by experienced beravement counsellors who have been specially trained to work with grieving children, who are facilitated on a one-to-one basis.
The Grieving Process
Grieving is a natural process following any significant loss or separation. Everyone will, at some time in their lives, experience the awful numbing grief and anguish at the loss of a loved one. Few people realise that it is quite usual for the bereaved to feel anger, depression, guilt, fear and hopelessness, as well as sorrow.
Some people are fortunate to have family and / or friends to see them through this difficult time. However, frequently those closest are unable to help in the process of mourning, which is essential for the health and well-being of the person involved in the loss.
It is always helpful for the bereaved to talk about their feelings with someone who will listen in a caring and confidential way, Bereavement counseling offers the opportunity to explore and work through feelings of grief.