Bereavement counselling website compressedLosing someone you love can be extremely sad and painful, and facing life after their death can be a struggle. You may experience all sorts of strong emotions or a numbness – this is natural. It takes time to heal, but support is at hand. Practical information is available to help you through the first few days after death.

What to do after someone dies

Please download our ‘What do I do now?’ booklet here.

What to do after a death

Please visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website for more information.

 Tell us once

There is some helpful information on the local authorities ‘tell us once’ section, which can inform relevant authorities after someone has died.

Visit the Dorset for You Tell Us Once page for more information.

Coping with grief and loss

Watch our Living With Loss video here.

Visit this useful website for support and information about the grieving process.

Helpful books and further reading

A Grief Observed by C.S.Lewis (paperback)

Courage to Grieve: Creative living, recovery and growth through grief by Judy Tatelbaum (paperback)

Widow’s Journey: A return to living by Xenia Rose (paperback)

Bereavement service

The bereavement counselling service is based at Forest Holme and provides support and counselling for individuals, couples, children, young people and families before and after bereavement. The service can be used by anyone who is affected by someone who is dying, or has died from cancer (treated by the Dorset Cancer Centre) or who has been under the care of Forest Holme Hospice.

The service is available by appointment from 9am-5pm Monday to Friday, with some flexibility for early morning and early evening sessions. There is also a confidential listening service staffed by a team of trained and experienced volunteers who meet people in their own homes. The volunteers are supported and supervised by the counselling team.

What is bereavement counselling?

Bereavement counselling takes place in a relationship built upon trust, respect and confidentiality, to facilitate the processes of normal and complex grief. It is a way of working that enables people to explore their concerns in a safe, supportive and non-judgmental atmosphere and to find the best outcomes for them.

Talking to a counsellor may help you to:

  • See things differently
  • Explore feelings in a safe environment
  • Find ways to manage feelings of loneliness and isolation
  • Improve communication with family, friends and health professionals
  • Feel supported
  • Find a level of acceptance and increased understanding of their deepest concerns.

How to access the bereavement service

We recommend, whenever possible, that the person choosing to have counselling contacts us directly. We appreciate that making the first contact may take considerable courage, as it is the first step towards being in the counselling relationship. This is especially the case if you have not previously talked about personal issues to someone outside of your friends and family.

Referrals can also be made through the medical and nursing staff, and the hospital and community specialist palliative care teams.

An initial assessment session will be offered to discuss your needs and whether counselling may be supportive to you at this time.

No charge is made for the counselling sessions.

If you would like to speak to a member of the Counselling team, please telephone 0300 019 8096 between 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday to make an appointment with a counsellor.

If you call outside of these hours please leave your name, a brief message and times when you are available and we will return your call.