My Blogs

Grief Counseling and Grief Therapy: What’s the Difference?


In general, the difference between counselling and therapy is merely one of semantics. Both counselling and therapy use discussion between the client and the mental health professional to help the client address emotional, mental, or behavioural issues and solve problems.

However, the terms “counselling” and “therapy” are sometimes used in slightly different ways; counselling is more often used to refer to sessions focused on assisting clients who are dealing with everyday stressors and looking for ways to cope with normal issues and problems, while therapy is more frequently used to describe sessions in which clients are battling more difficult, more pervasive, and/or more chronic problems, like depressionanxiety, or addiction.

So although grief counselling and grief therapy are basically the same thing, “grief counselling” may refer to the counselling that any individual might receive after losing a loved one, while “grief therapy” is more likely to refer to sessions that a client engages in when they are experiencing issues outside of the normal range of responses due to their grief. For example, if a widow is simply struggling to cope with the loss of her husband, she may seek grief counselling; however, if she has lost her appetite and has had trouble sleeping for weeks, it may be a more serious problem that she seeks grief therapy for.

(Courtney E. Ackerman, MSc. -