Grief and loss are considered a natural part of one’s life. However, when loss happens, grief can feel like a shock. Whether you lost a child, sibling, spouse/partner, parent, a pet, or going through some other life changing circumstances, grief can be overwhelming. Avoiding feelings such as sadness, anger, and loss may prolong the grieving process. If grief is not dealt with, symptoms such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, or health problems may surface. Some people not only experience grief, but also emotional trauma as a result of their loss with similar symptoms to posttraumatic stress.
“People in grief need someone to walk with them without judging them.”
What are Stages of Grief?
Most people cycle through stages of grief such as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance in no particular order. Grief is cyclical. You may feel like taking a step forward and two steps back, which is normal. Most people are resilient and recover on their own in their own time. For some it may take months, for others up to a year or longer. Typically, the first year following the loss is the most difficult. There is no right or wrong way of grieving. Some people are outwardly expressive with grief and some are not.
What is Complicated Grief?
Some people may experience so called prolonged or complicated grief that could last several years. There is a feeling of being stuck and preoccupied with the loss. Symptoms of complicated grief may include intense sorrow, preoccupation with the loss, feeling alone, bitter, or angry, excessive avoidance of reminders of the loss, difficulty pursuing enjoyable activities, and planning for the future.
Can Positive Events Produce Grief?
Positive experiences can also produce grief response. Happy events such as getting married, having a child, getting a promotion, moving, starting college, to name a few, may produce mixed emotions. Although these events are so-called positive, they signal change. You are saying goodbye to old and familiar ways of being and embracing the new and unfamiliar, which can be scary and unsettling as well as exciting.
What Grief Counseling May Look Like?
In no particular order, we will work toward neutralizing the emotional impact of the actual loss event. We will address the daily remainders or so-called triggers of the loss. We’ll process feelings, explore the meaning of the loss, identify strategies for self-care, and brainstorm ideas for integrating the loss into your daily life. A most recent loss may trigger additional past loses, that perhaps, you have not grieved yet. If that happens, we will have to process the older layer of the grief, in order for you to complete the grieving.
What Grief Issues Do you Treat?
As a grief counselor I have experience in treating a wide variety of grief related issues such as grief over death of a parent, sibling, child, pet as well as divorce, breakup, infidelity, abortion, miscarriage, moving, job/career change, marriage, birth of a child, entering college, empty nest, and many other losses and life changing events.
If you feel stuck, overwhelmed, or need help with any aspects of grief, please don’t hesitate to contact me today. Therapies such as Accelerated Resolution Therapy, EMDR Therapy, Art Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be very helpful with the grieving process.