Grief Counseling – Grief Therapists and Counselors in Franklin, MA
After more than 30 years of marriage, your partner, the love of your life passes away. You feel like part of you has died. How do you recover from such a loss? Or, a family member who you were very close to loses their struggle with a terminal illness. How does one carry on after such a strategy? It is helpful to discuss the resulting pain with a trained professional experienced with how people experiencing such heartbreaks can learn to cope.
Grief and bereavement counseling is designed to help people cope with mourning and loss, not only following the death of a loved one but also with the sense of loss following a divorce or loss of a job. An individual’s sense of identity can very closely be tied to their roles as a spouse or as a professional. The end of one’s marriage or job can damage one’s identity creating a severe sense of loss.
Therapists providing grief counselors understand the importance that a family’s heritage and culture play in how someone experiences and expresses grief. However, grieving is also very personal with individual differences in how each of us overtly manifest deep feelings of loss. Various emotions associated with grief include: sadness, nervousness, irrational fears, anger, loneliness, guilt and shame, isolation, confusion, or emotionally numb.
People will often will often withdraw from their friends and family separating themselves from the potential source of support. As a result, people will compound the and feel helpless.
However, others will become angry and want to take action. But the emotional distress that they feel also may distort their judgment and decision making. As a result, problems associated with the loss can be multiplied.
Grief counselors at Thriveworks realize that people’s response to loss can range widely in emotion and behavior. They also know that the grieving person will benefit from proper and competently delivered supports. They also realize that counseling may provide an opportunity for healthy resolution that bereavement may present. But for this to happen the grieving process must be allowed to proceed for an adequate amount of time. If the process of grieving is interrupted by other life stressors, such as having to provide financially for the family or caring for a seriously ill family member.
Sometimes a person may feel that they need to be strong for other grieving family members. This can leave issues that are generated from the sense of loss to remain but not address. This underling stress, if left unresolved, can later resurface and manifest in symptoms of anxiety and/or depression. Other symptoms may include disorganization, fatigued, lack of concentration, sleep disturbance with frequent nightmares and significant change in appetite.
A person can also suffer anticipatory grief which is expecting the loss of a loved one who is suffering a terminal illness. This type of grief can be intrusive characterized by frequent worry and anxiety. These symptoms can handicap that a person’s ability to stay within the moment while the individual can simultaneously attempt to hold onto, let go of, and draw closer to the dying relative.
In her book, The Phoenix Phenomenon: Rising from the Ashes of Grief, Joanne Jozefowski summarizes five stages to rebuild a shattered life:
- Impact: shock, denial, anxiety, fear, and panic.
- Chaos: confusion, disbelief, actions out of control, irrational thoughts and feelings, feeling despair, feeling helpless, desperate searching, lose track of time, difficulty sleeping and eating, obsessive focus on the loved one and their possessions, agony from imagining their physical harm, shattered beliefs.
- Adapting: bringing order back into daily life while you continue to grieve: take care of basic needs (personal grooming, shopping, cooking, cleaning, paying bills), learn to live without the loved one, accept help, focus on helping children cope, connect with other grieving families for mutual support, take control of grieving so that grief does not control you, slowly accept the new reality.
- Equilibrium: attaining stability and routines: reestablish a life that works all right, enjoy pleasant activities with family members and good times with friends, do productive work, choose a positive new direction in life while honoring the past, learn how to handle people who ask questions about what you’ve been through.
- Transformation: rethinking your purpose in life and the basis for your identity; looking for meaning in tragic, senseless loss; allowing yourself to have both painful and positive feelings about your loss and become able to choose which feelings you focus on; allowing yourself to discover that your struggle has led you to develop a stronger, better version of yourself than you expected could exist; learning how to talk with others about your heroic healing journey without exposing them to your pain; becoming supportive of others trying to deal with their losses.
If you have experience tragic loss, take the step to seek help and support by contacting Thriveworks today. A therapist at Thriveworks-Franklin can help determine the type of support you need and how to provide it competently and caringly. Make an appointment to see a Thriveworks-Franklin Therapist by call us at 617-360-7210. They are there to help!
Kneip, Richard. “Psychology of Grief”. GLPG.
Nadeau, Janice Winchester: Families Making Sense of Death. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1998
Neimeyer, Robert: Lessons of Loss: A Guide to Coping. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1998
Rando, Therese A.: Clinical Dimensions of Anticipatory Mourning. Champaign, IL: Research Press, 2000
Joanne Jozefowski The Phoenix Phenomenon: Rising from the Ashes of Grief Jason Aronson, Inc.: Northvale, NJ, 1999.