Grieving and Grief Counseling

GRIEF IS A NATURAL EMOTIONAL PROCESS,
RATHER THAN AN ISOLATED INCIDENT, AND CAN LAST DAYS, MONTHS OR YEARS. IT CAN OCCUR SOON AFTER A LOSS OR TAKE PLACE GRADUALLY.

The effects of a loss vary and have many consequences – psychological, behavioral, social and physical. Grief happens to most of us and we do not all react the same way. Some of us may develop a clinical depression after a loss.

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Grief has specific steps or stages. After the loss (to death, a romantic breakup or a move) or loss of a possession (such as pet or a home) or after losing a job, there are several stages you go through. Loss of a loved one’s trust also causes grief and is common after infidelity. Loss of one’s health can be a cause for grief.

You may experience some or all the stages of grief below and there is no specific order. Common stages are (per Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in “On Death and Dying”):

• Denial – In this stage you may believe a death or medical diagnosis is not real or mistaken. You may hold on to a preferable reality but eventually, you will accept that the loss is real.

• Anger – When you recognize that denial is no longer realistic, you may become angry. You may deflect your emotions onto a person or circumstance. Typical reactions are, “Why did this happen to me?” or “This isn’t fair!” or “Who is to blame for this?”.

• Bargaining – This is hoping that you can avoid grief or ignore an impending loss. You may “negotiate” with God for longer life or better health or another improbable reality by “promising” that you will change your lifestyle.

• Depression – You may think, “I’m so sad, why bother?” or, “I miss …, why go on?”. During depression, you may become sad by an impending death or other loss. You may become withdrawn or angry, hopeless or resentful. Medication may be needed to alleviate severe reactions. This stage is usually temporary but severe.

• Acceptance – Here, you realize, “It will be okay” or, “I can’t fight it” or, “I have to accept it.” In this (usually) final stage, you embrace the inevitable death of a loved one or the reality of a tragic event. If you are dying, you may arrive at a calm, introspective view of life and death with more stable emotions.

 

GRIEF IS A NATURAL, EMOTIONAL PROCESS.

You may revisit one or more stages at any time and it may be months or years between occurrences. There is no set order to the stages and they are not linear.

When grieving, coping styles can be healthy or they can hinder the process.  Crying is normal but stress, depression, intrusive thoughts, sadness, physical pain or illness, relationship problems, anxiety, social isolation, appetite changes or poor sleep can also result.

Counseling with a licensed practitioner and anti-depressant medication may help. Take the first step and call Becker Counseling today at 732-406-4422.

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