I was recently asked how we would assist a client that is experiencing a lot of grief. The answer is not always straight forward, as it depends on where the client is in the grieving process. Also how long they may have been dealing with the grief or a particular part of it.


If you have recently lost someone, it is quite natural to experience grief. The problem comes in when people get stuck and don’t move through the grieving process. This can be very detrimental, both for the person’s health, as well as their relationships with others.

It is important to remember that as a coach we are not counselling, doing therapy or other modalities. Similarly, if you are not skilled in a particular area, then you should be referring the client to a professional that is trained in that particular area.

The client could also be experiencing a number of negative emotions, so it is important to understand where in the grieving process they are. Let’s look at the 5 stages of grief and discuss them a little further.

Five Stages of Grief.

1. Denial
2. Anger
3. Bargaining & Regret
4. Sadness
5. Acceptance

This is like a defense mechanism and is generally the first stage in the grieving process. A part of us cannot accept that the change or loss has actually occurred. This can happen whether somebody has passed away or been diagnosed with a critical illness. We may experience shock and block out the facts.

We feel anger that we have lost the person or that they have become ill. The person may ask “Why me?” “What have I done to deserve this?” Anger can be aimed at other people or objects. It could be aimed at the doctor who did not cure them or the person who actually died.

Bargaining & Regret.
Here people may regret not spending more time with the person who died. They may have lots of regrets of what we have or have not done. Often questions like “If only they saw that doctor,” “I wish I had done that,” etc.

Sadness or depression.
The person feels sadness that they have lost a loved one or have been diagnosed with the illness. Possibly sadness over things we have said or missed out on. This can lead to depression, which is obviously unhealthy.

Finally there is acceptance. Not everybody achieves acceptance. It may be that the person who is dealing with the grief is the person who was diagnosed and they pass away before this stage. Some people stay with anger or depression and never find acceptance. At the acceptance stage we accept the loss and deal with it. Not to say we are happy or ok about it. We just accept that it is the way it is.

Some things you can do to let go of grief.
So the client may find themselves in any of the above stages of grief and could even be stuck at a particular stage for some time. We need to be able to recognize where the client is at and then assist them through the process. At Coaching with NLP, we use a number of techniques, including Time Line Therapy®, hypnosis, NLP and coaching, to deal with the grief and to get rid of the negative emotions.

Sometimes people might even feel that they must grief for the person that has passed away, because if they don’t, it is as if they are not honoring the person they are grieving for. Of course this is not true, however it is true for them at that time. One way to deal with this, is to ask the client to get in touch with the part of them that represents the person they are grieving for. Then ask this part if they have grieved long enough, or for how much longer they should grieve. Here’s the thing, the person for who you are grieving, would not want you to be overcome with grief. They would want you to move on and be happy. You can remember the happy memories and still move on with your life. This does not mean that you are forgetting them or dishonoring them in any way.

So in short the way in how you would assist a client in the grieving process would depend on where they find themselves in the process.

If you would like to find out more about how we may be able to help, simply contact us today.