Grief and Loss

Grief & Loss

Grief is a natural and NORMAL response to loss. Grieving is a very personal and individualized experience. No two people grieve alike and that is okay. How you grieve depends on your personality, life experiences, and the type of loss you’re experiencing.

What Counts as a Loss?

  • losing a job
  • loss of a friendship
  • death of a loved one
  • death of a pet
  • miscarriage
  • moving
  • divorce or relationship breakup
  • loss of health
  • loss of safety and security

What are some of the symptoms of grief?

The physical and psychological indicators of grief will vary from person to person, but may include:

    • Shock, disbelief, or numbness: feeling emotionally detached as you adapt to the knowledge that a loved one has passed or that your circumstances have been altered
    • Sadness: the predominant emotion associated with grief, and when not properly addressed, can evolve into a lengthier bout of depression
    • Anger, Guilt, or Blame: feeling angry or holding yourself, the deceased, or the people who were involved in your changing circumstance responsible for the loss; or finding yourself perpetually irritable and snapping at random people (grocery store clerks, librarians, etc.) with little provocation
    • Yearning: reminiscing and ruminating about the time before your love one passed or the event of loss happened
    • Futility: struggling to understand the purpose of the tragedy or of life in general
    • Relief: feeling relieved after the inevitable occurs and you’re no longer hanging in the balance… waiting for the other shoe to drop
    • Physical symptoms: including gastrointestinal upset, weight loss or weight gain, sleep disturbances (including excessive fatigue or difficulty falling and staying asleep)
    • Behavioral symptoms: including absentminded behavior, avoiding reminders of the loss, social withdrawal, or engaging in risky behaviors (such as substance use or sexual promiscuity) to dull unpleasant sensations

How Can Counseling & Therapy For Grief & Loss Help Me?

Counseling & Therapy for grief management can help improve recovery outcomes for all stages of loss—from initial moments of shock, anger, and sadness to more complicated cases of bereavement that seem to linger endlessly.  Your therapist will help you to:

  • Identify and confront complicated emotions or trauma: If you’re a silent griever, you may not know how you feel; or regardless of your grieving style, you may have complicated emotions regarding your loss (for example, you may feel relieved (and simultaneously guilty) when a family member with a drug addiction overdoses because you no longer have to be eaten alive with worry about their well-being and safety); or perhaps the loss itself was tinged with trauma (maybe you were sexually assaulted or lost a friend in a car accident in which you were both involved). Your therapist will help you to confront these emotions as you work together to find avenues for healing and personal growth.
  • Improve your self-care: Grief has a tendency to make people in its clutches forget to take care of themselves. As difficult as it is, your therapist will help you to establish a routine that’s a blend of maintaining your responsibilities, self-relaxation, and fun. Although it may feel like going through the motions at first, in time, taking care of yourself will become second nature
  • Connect to group or family therapy services that are appropriate for your situation, (for example: family counseling to process grief from the loss of a loved one or group therapy as a supplement treatment for survivors of trauma)
  • Recruit your spiritual beliefs (as applicable) to assist with coping: When a senseless tragedy occurs, some people derive comfort in placing their problems into the guiding hands of a higher power; for the non-religious, alternative therapy techniques such as mindfulness, or meditation.
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