Grief and Bereavement

The Counselling Corner – Martensville, Saskatchewan
Child, Youth, Adult, Couple, & Family Counselling

Grief and Bereavement

Submitted by Wendy Kritzer BSW MSW RSW

Grief is a reaction to any form of loss, which then is followed by a path of various feelings. The feelings can range from deep sadness to anger. The process of moving through the loss varies from one person to another, which will be dependent on an individual’s background, beliefs, relationship to what or who was lost, and various other factors. Bereavement is the process of recovering from the death/loss of a loved one.

Grief can come with feelings of sadness, guilt, anger, regret, and yearning to name a few. There can be feelings of meaningless while for others it can encompass a feeling of relief. Some individuals will go through the process thinking there was nothing I could do about it, or that he/she had a good life, or it was not their time. Some behaviors seen in grieving individuals vary from crying to laughter or talking to being silent. In the grieving process, some individuals find comfort in being around family and friends while others may need to spend time alone.

There are two main styles in regards to the feelings, thoughts, and behaviors people express during his/her time of grief. One is instrumental and the other is Intuitive. The majority of individuals exhibit an amalgamation of both styles of grieving. Instrumental grieving involves focusing primarily on problem-solving tasks while controlling or minimizing feelings of emotion. Intuitive grieving is based on a heightened emotional experience has individuals sharing feelings, exploring the lost relationship, considering mortality, and identifying meaning in life. There is no right or wrong way to experience grief, though some thoughts and behaviors after a loss can be more helpful or safe than others. It is important to seek out support when needed.

The process of grieving can vary in time some individuals can recover from their grief within six months with various moments of sadness from time to time. Others may take years to grieve without signs of improvement or relief. Other mental health difficulties can come forth with grief such as depression. It is important to seek out physician/counsellor support if you feel this may be something you are dealing with.

Positive avenues to utilize while dealing with grief are self-compassion, physical exercise, and strong social supports in family or friends. These avenues can assist with alleviating some of the difficult symptoms of grief.

One difficulty for many is adjusting to your new reality of moving on with living without your loved one. This may include seeking out new joys in life, creating a new future, or making changes to self in looking at a new identity without your loved one.

Stages of Grief

There are a variety of phases of grief an individual will experience with the loss of a loved one.

-Denial
-Anger
-Bargaining
-Depression
-Acceptance

Most individuals will experience at least two of the five stages of grief. It is normal for some individuals to move back and forth throughout the stages and this can be over years.

Stage-Based Model for Coping with the Death of a Loved One

-To accept the reality of the loss
-To work through the pain of grief
-To adjust to life without the deceased
-To maintain a connection to the deceased while moving on with life

Complicated Grief

Grief is not something a person completely gets over. Over time the intense feelings become less intense but the feelings of missing your loved one stays with you but are more manageable in order to cope on a day to day basis.

There are individuals that cannot move past the loss and it will take over his/her life in regards to daily functioning for long time periods. When the grief continues for at least a year or more and the individual’s ability to complete daily routines is affected then he/she may be experiencing complicated grief.

Symptoms of Complicated Grief
           -Intense sadness
-Preoccupation with the deceased or with the circumstances
surrounding it
-Longing or yearning
-Feelings of emptiness or meaninglessness
-Difficulty engaging in happy memories-
-Avoidance of reminders of the deceased
-Lack of desire in pursuing personal interests or plans
-Bitterness or anger

Therapies such as individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy may be beneficial to help an individual move from the difficulties they are experiencing with complicated grief.

(Information from GoodTherapy. Org)

You don’t get over it,
you get through it,
It doesn’t get better,
it gets different….
Every day, just like me,
Grief puts on a new face.
Unknown

If you have further questions concerning grief and bereavement please email me at thecounsellingcorner@sasktel.net.

If you have topics that you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at thecounsellingcorner@sasktel.net

Until next time –

From The Counselling Corner

 

 

                                                         

 

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