Loss and Grief

Loss & Grief Counseling

Grief is universal. At some point in our lives, each one of us will experience grief.  We often think of grief as painful feelings that follow the death of someone close to us, yet grief often accompanies other significant losses-divorce, the loss of a job, a home, friends, a pet, our health, a diagnosis of infertility or even cancer.  Grief can create a devastating feeling of loss.  There is no “right” way to grieve. Everyone grieves differently and for different lengths of time. Every culture also has their own way of grieving. The healing process is unique to each individual.

What makes grief complicated is when someone has had prior losses and particularly if those losses are unresolved.  The loss then tends to be compounded. The prior loss “melts” into the current loss and one has a traumatic grief reaction.  What matters is the meaning we have given to what we have lost. This takes some sorting out and that is where psychotherapy comes in. Some people feel they have lost a part of themselves after losing someone they were very close to. The deeper the connection with someone that we have lost, the more deeply we feel the loss and the harder it is to bear. We make emotional investments in people and in our experiences. We come to depend on these attachments. They may have given us a sense of security. They may have given us a sense of belonging. Loving someone or even a pet, for example, has brought us invaluable joy. Being cut off from something we have loved, that has brought so much meaning into our lives, is indescribably painful. Each person must find his or her own words to give the loss its meaning.

Grief throws us off balance and disrupts our everyday equilibrium. The grieving process is truly a dance that I would describe as one foot forward and two steps back. It is a series of steps. It has an ebb and flow that works with time. It is a relinquishment of what was, and an honoring of someone or something that we must take in and make something new from. Saying goodbye can be overwhelming and frightening. If forging ahead feels too difficult to do alone, then talking with a professional may feel very comforting.

Move beyond the pain caused by loss