During this COVID pandemic I have had more clients who have experienced sudden loss and are seeking counseling. Though this has not been my area of specialty, I have been engaging in more research about how to effectively engage in the grief process. I thought I would spend some time talking through what I have gained from my reading and working with my various clients.
The first thing I have discovered is that many people are aware of the “five stages of grief”. Those stages include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. We often interpret these stages as linear and final, but this has not been the case as I have worked with various clients. What I am finding is that there are more than just these 5 stages that pop up as you grieve and the stages are not linear. Many times, we can enter a stage at any point and move forward or backward at any point during the grieving process. There are definitely unhealthy ways to engage in your grief, but there is not one right way to grieve. As I have been facilitating grief counseling, I have seen my clients move through these stages and more in a variety of ways as they navigate how to process their loss and the changes it brings to their life.
The other piece that I have found to be a focal point in the grief counseling process is this concept of “getting over it”. Many times, my clients will share that various people in their life have asked them when they think they will get over it or share a variety of things they could do to help them “get over it”. I recently watched a TED Talk about grief in it Nora McInery talked through a bit of her story in which she lost a pregnancy, her father, and her husband in the same year. I posted the link in this blog and I encourage you to check it out, but if you do not, her main point is that we don’t move on from grief, we move forward with it. I have found this to be true for myself and helpful and more comforting for clients. We are not looking to engage in this grief process to “get over it”, but to find healthy ways to carry the loss with us while still being able to engage in life with purpose and meaning.
So, how do we do this? Several factors go into next steps, but first step should be to seek out counseling. This may seem overwhelming at the start as you may have so much on your plate following your loss, but this is so crucial as you begin the grief process. Finding the right therapist can take time. You may connect in session with one right off the bat, it may take time, or you may have to “shop around” so to speak to find someone who you feel comfortable with as you engage in this vulnerable process and are trusting this therapist to walk alongside you. With the right therapist you can truly begin to engage in the grief process and learn to develop healthy ways to accept and move forward with your grief.
Please schedule a free consultation if you have further questions or want to schedule a session to create space for you and/or your family to begin to heal. This takes time and vulnerability, but it is worth it! You are worth it! Grief has many complexities, but engaging in this process in a safe way will allow you to rediscover who you are alongside this loss and find joy and happiness again.
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