Cindy Thelen, LCPC 630-530-0405Chicago grief counseling

Chicago, IL Area Grief Counseling

Learning to live without the physical presence of someone you love can be one of life's most difficult journeys. Grief affects our whole being - our body, our mind and our spirit.

Unfortunately, many of us are told to bury our feelings, to "be strong," to get over it and get on with our lives. So we do just that - we cut ourselves off from all the complex and intense feelings that grief naturally evokes, because they're just too frightening or painful to face on our own.

The problem is that feelings don't disappear. When we shut down our feelings, we also cut ourselves off from the natural healing process that occurs when we allow our grief to be fully felt. Healthy mourning requires permission, attention, time, validation, support and acceptance.

Grief is a natural reaction when someone dies. Because it's natural, we also have within us a natural ability to heal. But this natural healing process can sometimes be obscured or disrupted by the unique circumstances surrounding the death, other complicating factors in our lives, or the intensity of our emotions. As an objective, professional grief counselor, I can help you create some space around that intensity.

Grief counseling can help with:

Complicated grief. Sometimes our experience of grief can carry additional challenges, such as when we're grieving:
  • a death by suicide
  • a child's death
  • a sudden, tragic death
  • multiple deaths
  • a death involving alcohol or other drugs
  • a death after a long illness
  • the death of someone with whom you had a complicated relationship
Carried grief. When we don't have a safe, supportive environment in which to mourn, our grief goes unattended - for months, years or decades. Sometimes, this carried grief lingers nearly dormant just beneath the surface - a kind of restlessness or discontent that's difficult to pinpoint. Other times - perhaps when touched by a new loss or other stressor - it spikes into overwhelming feelings or unhealthy patterns of behavior and can contribute to a multitude of difficulties. Carried grief can:
  • disrupt our sleep or disturb our dreams
  • lead us to overeat to fill the emptiness
  • sap us of our energy and our coping abilities
  • weaken our immune system, allowing illness and disease to take hold
  • lead us to abuse alcohol or other drugs to numb the pain
  • drive us to be compulsively busy
  • complicate or jeopardize relationships
Grieving other losses. My grief specialty naturally extends to other kinds of loss that can trigger grief, such as:
  • getting divorced
  • being diagnosed with a serious illness
  • experiencing infertility
  • moving
  • experiencing estranged relationships
  • losing your job
  • loss issues around adoption
  • midlife and aging issues
How grief counseling can help. I know the terrain of grief well and I'm not afraid of your darkest, biggest emotions. I have come to know about living through feelings of incredible disbelief, unimaginable sadness, immobilizing fear, heartbreaking yearning, angry protesting, and agonizing despair. I have been present with people conflicted with unexpected feelings of guilt, regret, remorse, and relief. I have also come to understand, live through, and am privileged to witness, again and again, the slow rebuilding of a new kind of life - finding a new normal, discovering that you can feel joy again, and finding a deep healing and peace in your soul.

Whether your loss is new or your pain has been recently rekindled, it can help to have a compassionate, knowledgeable guide to hold the hope for you when you might be feeling hopeless. I provide support, education, a respectful, caring presence, and the abiding belief that you can move with and through even the hardest feelings and once again live a full, joy-filled life. Grief counseling helps you gently lean into your grief feelings, move through your pain, and remember, explore and honor the relationship you share with your deceased loved one. People die - love doesn't.

Because each of us grieves in a unique way and our needs may change during the course of our grief journey, I offer both individual grief counseling and grief groups. I would be happy to discuss different types of grief support and help you decide what best fits your current needs.

"Go into your grief, for there your soul will grow."
~ Carl Jung

Contact me to find out more or to schedule an appointment

Cindy Thelen, LCPC, CT
1550 Spring Road, Suite 215
Oak Brook, IL 60523
(630) 530-0405

~ Facilitating healing and growth in loss and transition ~

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