Grief and Loss
Losing someone we love is an unfortunate event we all experience at some point in our lives. Grief is the reaction triggered by loss or losses, and though we will all know grief at one time or another, the way we experience it can vastly differ from those around us, or even from our own past grief experiences. Some of us feel grief strongly via physical symptoms (e.g., exhaustion, muscle/stomach aches, lack of appetite and/or increase in appetite, headaches, etc.), while others may express grief more emotionally (e.g., inability to stop crying, emotional numbness, angry outbursts, etc.). More commonly, we experience a combination of these physical and emotional grief symptoms.
Tolstoy wrote, “Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow; but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them.” Grief therapy can support you during your time of grief by assisting you through the grieving process and transition to healing. More specifically, therapy can help you understand your experience following a loss, assist families in the resolution of a loss, support those with special loss situations, and facilitate healthy mourning rituals that assist in the movement through the various tasks of grief.
What are the Tasks of Grief?
- To accept the reality of the loss
- To work through the pain and grief
- To adjust to an environment in which the deceased is missing
- To emotionally relocate the deceased and move on with life
Accepting the reality of the loss
This means to accept the reality that the person is dead and will not return. This takes time and involves both an intellectual and emotional acceptance.
Working through the pain and grief
It is necessary to work through the pain of grief, or it can manifest itself through physical symptoms and sometimes abnormal behaviors. It is important to feel this pain fully, with an understanding that one day it will pass.
Adjusting to an environment in which the deceased is missing
After a loss, there are three types of adjustments that need to be made:
- external adjustments- how the death affects your everyday functioning in the world
- internal adjustments- how the death affects your sense of self
- spiritual adjustments- how the death affects your values, beliefs, and assumptions about the world
Emotionally relocating the deceased and moving on with life
We need to find a way to memorialize the dead loved one, but continue on with life. It is important to continue to feel connected to the deceased, but not in a way that precludes you from moving forward.
Grief Therapy Can Help You Move Through the Grieving Process Gracefully
Knowing the tasks of mourning is not sufficient enough to pass through the grieving process. It is important to understand there are many variables that can impede and/or support one through grief and loss. At Focus Forward we are not only professionally trained in this process, but are passionate about supporting you and would be honored to assist you on your grief path.