Counselling To Help Deal with Relationship Breakup: 5 Stages of Grieving

Breakup can feel like an emotional roller coaster, akin to grieving a loss.

It’s a profound change that disrupts your daily life and plans, affecting your emotions, self-identity, and even your sense of reality.
Breakups manifest in various ways, and they’re painful regardless of the relationship’s duration or seriousness, necessitating time to heal.

The time it takes to move on from a breakup can differ greatly. Someone may recover from a short-term relationship in just a few days, whereas it might take years to heal from the end of a long-term relationship completely. Longer relationships often involve additional complexities like losing mutual friends, navigating custody battles, or resolving financial issues.

Breakups frequently lead to mental health problems, including depression, post-traumatic stress, substance abuse, and psychological distress.

If you find it difficult to move past a breakup, these are signs that counselling might be beneficial.

9 Signs You Might Need Counselling After a Relationship Breakup

9 Signs You Might Need Counselling After a Relationship Breakup

Determining whether you need counselling after a relationship has ended can be a critical step in your healing process.

Here are some signs that may indicate the need for professional support:

1. Persistent Sadness or Depression

If your sadness is overwhelming and persistent and affecting your ability to function in your daily life, this could be a sign that counselling might help.

Symptoms might include a lack of motivation, persistent low mood, withdrawal from social activities, or changes in sleep and appetite.

2. Difficulty Moving On

It’s normal to think about your past relationship occasionally.

Still, if you find yourself unable to stop obsessing over what went wrong or are stuck idealizing the past without recognizing the problems, it might be time to seek help.

3. Impacts on Your Physical Health

High stress from emotional trauma can manifest physically. If you’re experiencing symptoms like headaches, stomach problems, or other stress-related conditions, counselling can help address the root emotional causes.

4. Intrusive Thoughts or Emotional Numbness

If thoughts of your relationship are consuming your mind, or if you’re feeling emotionally numb and disconnected from your feelings, these could be signs of deeper issues that a professional might help you navigate.

5. Use of Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms

Turning to alcohol, drugs, or other unhealthy behaviours as coping mechanisms can be a red flag that you need more support in dealing with your emotions and the changes in your life.

6. Impact on Other Relationships

If your break-up affects your relationships with friends, family, or colleagues, it might indicate that the emotional fallout is more extensive than you realized.

Counselling can help you sort through these feelings and restore your relationships.

7. Anxiety or Panic Attacks

Experiencing anxiety, panic attacks, or extreme stress reactions when reminded of the relationship or when attempting to engage in activities that were part of your routine can be signs of underlying issues that might benefit from professional intervention.

8. Feelings of Worthlessness or Hopelessness

Feeling unworthy of love or hopeless about the future are serious signs that counselling could be beneficial.

A counsellor can help rebuild your self-esteem and optimism.

9. Desire for Professional Guidance

Sometimes, you might feel a strong desire or need for guidance and support from someone who can provide professional insights into your emotional state and coping strategies.

It’s important to remember that seeking counselling is a positive step toward self-care. It doesn’t mean you’re weak; you’re taking action to ensure your well-being.

Consider contacting a mental health or counselling professional if you resonate with the signs above. They can provide a supportive space to explore your feelings, help you understand your emotions, and equip you with strategies to move forward.

Can couples going through a breakup go to counselling?

Can couples going through a breakup go to counselling?

Yes, broken-up couples can go to counselling, which can be beneficial for several reasons. This type of therapy, often called “post-relationship counselling” or “closure therapy,” helps individuals or both parties process the end of their relationship healthily.

It provides a space for effective communication and conflict resolution, which is essential for achieving closure and mutual respect.

Counselling supports cooperative co-parenting arrangements for couples with children. It also promotes personal growth by helping individuals learn from past relationship dynamics and develop better patterns for future relationships.

Additionally, it assists in healing and finding closure, particularly useful if the former partners share business interests, mutual friends, or community ties.

Counselling can help manage these interactions smoothly, making it a constructive option for those looking to resolve complex emotions or respectfully seek closure.

Contact Relationship Counselling Gold Coast

Navigating the 5 Stages of Grieving the End of a Relationship

The concept of the five stages of grief, developed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, is a helpful framework for understanding the emotional journey of a breakup. Here’s how to navigate each stage and find recovery and personal growth.

Navigating the 5 Stages of Grieving the End of a Relationship

1. Denial: The Shield Against Pain

In the aftermath of a breakup, you might be in disbelief. Denial serves as an emotional defence mechanism to soften the immediate shock.

This stage might manifest as an inability to accept that the relationship is truly over and might involve waiting for your ex to return or acting as if nothing has happened.

How to cope:

  • Acknowledge your feelings: Recognize that denial is a natural part of the healing process.
  • Stay connected: Reach out to supportive friends and family to express what you’re going through.
  • Please write it down: Journaling can help you process the reality of your situation.

2. Anger: The Mask of Vulnerability

Anger often follows denial. This might be directed towards your ex-partner, yourself, or even random circumstances. It can manifest as resentment or a burning need for retribution. While this is a normal reaction, handling these feelings constructively is important.

How to cope:

  • Express anger safely: Channel your energy into exercise or creative pursuits.
  • Talk it out: Conversations with a therapist or a trusted advisor can provide relief and perspective.
  • Reflect on the reasons: Understanding your anger can help address the root cause rather than the symptoms.

3. Bargaining: The Quest for Control

Bargaining can involve negotiating with oneself or a higher power to undo the breakup. Common thoughts during this stage include “What if I had acted differently?” or “If only I had said/done this instead.” A strong sense of regret or guilt often accompanies this stage.

How to cope:

  • Avoid ‘what if’ games: Focus on what can be controlled, like your own healing.
  • Seek lessons: Identify learnings from the relationship that can lead to personal growth.
  • Practice mindfulness: Stay in the present, which can help reduce dwelling on past actions.

4. Depression: The Quiet Acknowledgment of Reality

Depression in the context of a breakup is not necessarily a clinical condition but is instead a sign of coming to terms with the reality that the relationship is over. This stage can feel like withdrawal and may involve sadness, decreased motivation, and a sense of emptiness.

How to cope:

  • Allow yourself to grieve: Understand that feeling sad is okay and is a step toward healing.
  • Create a routine: Structuring your day can help manage feelings of aimlessness.
  • Professional help: If feelings of depression persist, consider seeking help from a mental health professional.

5. Acceptance: The Path Forward

Acceptance does not imply happiness about the breakup but rather an understanding of it as a part of your life’s journey.

At this stage, you recognize that the relationship is over and begin to look forward and plan life as an individual.

How to cope:

  • Embrace your independence: Explore interests and hobbies you may have set aside.
  • Set new goals: This can be an excellent time to focus on personal development.
  • Stay optimistic: Allow yourself to feel hopeful about what lies ahead.

relationship break-up counselling gold coast


Dealing with a breakup is undeniably challenging, but understanding these stages of grieving can provide some structure in this tumultuous time. Remember, these stages are not linear, and you may move back and forth between them. It’s important to allow yourself to feel each emotion and to seek support when needed.

With time and effort, healing can pave the way for personal transformation and a new beginning.

If you struggle to navigate these stages independently, seeking professional help might be beneficial. Lee Calleja, from Chirn Park Health Group, offers relationship break-up counselling in the Gold Coast area or with online consultations.

Engaging with a skilled counsellor like Lee can provide tailored strategies for managing your emotions, finding closure, and moving forward with resilience and optimism.

Don’t hesitate to reach out and take that important step towards healing and personal growth.

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