*Cue big sigh*
A universal emotional experience that we will all encounter is grief. As ubiquitous as loss is, grief can hit you hard and can feel impossible to even keep your head above water. There are physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and behavioral impacts of grief.
Your world has been turned upside down, while the external world around you keeps on spinning. While grief is an unwanted and demanding endeavor, it is also a powerful teacher that reminds us of what is important to us and helps us grow in ways we never could have imagined.
Seeking therapeutic support for grief can be incredibly helpful for the bereaved and the bereaved’s support system.
Therapy is a space for you and your grief, even when society has expected you to return to a normal that no longer exists for you.
Therapy offers an opportunity to grow in grief, reflect, reminisce, increase resilience, remember, honor, laugh, and learn about yourself in this life-changing process.
Therapy can help you develop methods and strategies for coping with loss, give you a space to express all your emotions (even the complicated ones), and come to terms with your new reality.
The hard truth is that there is nothing to be done to undo the loss–but managing the loss can be a bit easier with therapy.
Seeking out therapy for grief can even lead to posttraumatic growth, which is the idea that positive psychological change can be experienced as a result of the struggle with highly challenging life circumstances.
Oftentimes, people talk about grief with Elizabeth Kubler Ross’ Stages of Grief. This model tends to discuss grief as a linear process with a finite ending.
While that may be tempting, grief is much more finicky than that and sometimes we go through multiple experiences at once, move forward, and regress backwards.
At ChangeWell, we prefer to use the Duke Hospice Bereavement Grief Wheel model to better understand grief.
This model is visually circular and describes grief as a nonlinear experience. The hole that grief leaves will continue to be deep, but the surface can narrow with support, therapy, and perspective.
Grief is not isolated to death–it is found in all types of experiences of loss including professional roles, natural disasters/pandemics, trauma, heartbreak, change of identity, illness, divorce, loss of ability, and life transitions.
The trauma experienced from a loss can be quite significant and even lead to complex bereavement, which is why all of ChangeWell’s therapists are trauma-informed providers.
Check out this podcast where one of our therapists talks about her experience with grieving a heartbreak and what it means to “date yourself” after loss.