At its core, grief is the series of emotions we feel when we lose someone or something we love. Intense sadness, anger and frustration, disbelief, and yes, anxiety, are among the predominant feelings.
Although conventionally focused on the emotional response to loss, it also has physical, cognitive, behavioral, social, and philosophical dimensions.
Grief is a natural process that most people experience following a meaningful loss. There are so many types of loss we may experience as humans, and often times as we grieve we can feel alone and misunderstood. Our society does not honor grief well and this can lead to feelings of isolation and confusion amongst the pain, anger, numbness, sadness and whatever ever else we may be experiencing. Everyone copes with grief differently, and the process is very non-linear for most of us. While grieving is important following a loss, we all grieve differently which can be difficult within the context of life and relationships.
Many people find the grieving process to be more manageable with the assistance of a grief therapist. Grief therapy encourages safe and comforting grief that ultimately facilitates healing after a loss.
“I’m unsure which pain is worse - the shock of what happened of the ache for what never will.”
Did you know…
that grief is not only associated with the death of a loved one. In fact, it can occur at the end of a relationship, a reproductive loss, a loss of a pet, a job loss, chronic illness, a loss of a community within spirituality and religion, a sentimental inanimate object, or even an intangible idea. Regardless of the object of your grief, the feelings and emotions that you experience following your loss are very real. You’ll go through a process of grief that is unique to you. As stated above, this process is non linear in nature.
While each person’s grief is different, there are some common symptoms.
“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.”
– Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need grief therapy?
You may need grief therapy if you are at any stage in the grieving process. It is not only for recent losses but rather for people who are still coping with feelings of deep sorrow or despair over a loss. Grief therapy is especially beneficial for those who have grief that interferes with normal, day-to-day life.
What is the difference between grief counseling and grief therapy?
Grief counseling helps to facilitate uncomplicated, or normal, grief to healthy integration. Grief therapy uses specialized techniques that help with complicated grief reactions. It helps to resolve conflicts of separation, avoidance, and adaptation. Grief therapy has a focus on trauma work connected to the loss. I offer both grief counseling and therapy use multiple modalities including narrative work, EMDR to help you process your grief.
What should I expect during grief therapy?
Grief therapy is different for everyone; but put simply, it is a safe place to express your feelings to an experienced therapist who understands the processes you are going through. Grief therapy is often comforting to those who may have felt like they are taking too long to heal or process a loss. You’ll have my undivided attention of a person who will not judge you, but rather will encourage you to grieve for as long as you need to in order to achieve healing.
We will utilize multiple skills to increase the strength you already possess as well as identify areas where tools may be useful. We will strengthen all areas to increase your confidence in being able to navigate through this windy process. Grief is non linear and can take hold in ways we never thought possible. I will help you to ride this roller coaster.
You will learn appropriate expectations in grief work related to…?
What happens after I have completed grief counseling?
The grief process is ongoing and may not necessarily end when you no longer need professional therapy. Grief therapy is not meant to stop the pain of grief, and it cannot bring back a loved one or a lost hope or dream. It can, however, provide you with helpful tips for adjusting to and moving forward with your new life despite your loss. This may include learning a new skill, picking up a new hobby, exercising, meditating, or even pursuing something you’ve always wanted to do.
Are traditional or intensive sessions right for you?
- Weekly sessions are a good option if you want to take the healing process at a slower rate.
- They allow you to spread out the cost of care over the course of treatment.
- Sometimes weekly hour-long sessions are more manageable for clients than half-day, full-day, or weeklong intensive sessions. This will be assessed and discussed during the intake process.
- Therapy work potentially including EMDR work can be hard to pack into a traditional-length session. Once you have a weekly check-in and account for the time needed to close the session, little room is left for actual work.
- If your distress is significant, meeting for just one hour once a week could mean it takes a long time to heal your pain.
- Committing to a regular time each week in your schedule may be difficult, especially if you are busy or travel frequently.
- I will take stock of your weekly needs and how you would like to utilize your time. If new situations arise that need time to be addressed or processed, we will focus on them as much as you need to. Then we will use the remaining time to work on stated goals.
- We’ll also need time at the end of each session to make sure you’re able to contain your memories so that you feel relaxed when you’re outside the office.
- You have time constraints in your normal weekly schedule that make it difficult to commit to therapy on an ongoing basis.
- You have traumatic events impacting your daily life in a way that makes it too overwhelming to spread treatment out over weeks, months, and years.
- You wish to process early trauma that is stored in implicit or preverbal memory. This type of EMDR is much more suited for in-person sessions or a multi-day retreat setting due to the nature of the work.
- Intensive are designed to provide longer and more frequent therapy sessions over a shorter timespan in order to accelerate your recovery.
- With intensive work, you can progress at a faster rate than you can with weekly sessions. Imagine the amount of work and healing that can be accomplished in a half day, full day, or three consecutive days (which equates to about 21 hours of highly focused treatment within a three-day period)
- You can address urgent needs in a dedicated manner instead of in a bits-and-pieces approach.
- In the long run, due to the efficiency of intensive sessions, you can save both time and money.
- Scheduling time for a single retreat may be more convenient if you have a busy schedule, kids to plan around, and travel or work commitments.
- Intensives are tailored just for you, so there are many different ways that they can be customized for your individual needs.
- Intensives may not be the right fit for everyone, just as weekly sessions aren’t the best fit for everyone.
- Some people with extreme cases of PTSD may feel overwhelmed by working through their issues for a prolonged period of time. In our assessment together, we can explore your individual needs and goals and see if intensive work feels like the best plan for you.
- Due to the varying options for intensives, they all look a little different. At your intake assessment, we will create an individualized treatment plan for intensive work.
- Generally, each two-hour block of focused work will be followed by a 15-minute break. We will do some resourcing, too.
- In our space, there is also room for trauma informed yoga, qi gong, and other body-based work. If you choose half-day, full-day, or multi-day options, you will be given retreat information about what to expect prior to starting.
- The complexity of your situation would be too overwhelming to process due to high levels of dissociation.
- If you are in an urgent crisis situation that requires stabilization or hospitalization.
- If you struggle with active substance abuse, suicidal ideation or self harm.
- If you feel forced into a therapeutic process not of your own volition.