What is Grief?
When we lose something, we often feel a sense of hurt. The emotional response of hurt lets us know that what we lost was meaningful or important. Although the hurt can fade with time, sometimes the loss leaves us feeling empty or broken. These feelings of grief can keep us from living the life we want or need. Grief is a complex process that can affect emotional, physical, and social wellbeing. Grief is also normal and a part of the human experience. We often regain a sense of normalcy and stability after some time, and some grief takes longer than others to process.
What You Might Be Experiencing?
Grief is not something that you ever fully move forward from unchanged. You can, however, lessen the intensity of the pain and have the loss not come to dominate your daily living. For some people, the normal grieving process does not resolve on its own, leading to what’s known as complicated grief. This type of grief refers to a persistent form of grieving or bereavement, lasting for one year or more.
When symptoms persist without improvement for an extended time period, they may qualify as complicated grief. Complicated grief may also interfere with your life and daily functioning.
SOME SYMPTOMS OF COMPLICATED GRIEF INCLUDE
- Intense and or unrelenting emotional pain and sadness
- Preoccupation with the loss
- Feelings of hopelessness or emptiness
- Avoidance of reminders of the loss
- Detachment and isolation from friends, family, and support network
- Difficulty engaging in happy memories of the lost person or time before the loss
- Lack of desire to pursue previously enjoyed hobbies or activities
- A reduced sense of identity
STAGES OF GRIEF
While everyone is different, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s model of grief can often be helpful as a way to understand the grieving process. This model includes five states of grief that many people experience following a major loss:
While these stages can serve as a general guideline, it’s important to remember that they are not always linear and that you may return to certain stages throughout your grieving process. When grieving, it’s essential to be patient with yourself and understand that progress is not always straightforward.
How Can Therapy Help with Grief?
You do not have to do this alone. Clients who engage in practices such as psychoanalytic grief therapy and psychodynamic therapy for complex grief are able to navigate the emotional complexities of loss in a supportive, empathic environment with a highly-trained professional. Working with a therapist in grief and loss counseling provides hurting clients with a space to cope and find freedom from unhealthy grief.
As you work through your anxiety with one of our therapists, you will notice:
- Decreased responses to traumatic triggers
- Greater understanding of self and others
- Feelings of compassion and forgiveness
- Insight regarding potentially harmful life patterns
- A greater understanding of your unique personality
- Greater capacity for emotional communication
- Improvements in social relationships
Each of our therapists is dedicated to providing a safe space where you can explore your psychological world. We are passionate about serving our community through thorough expert treatment and diagnosis, empathic understanding, and client-centered care.