Grief and Loss Counseling
Loss is perhaps life's greatest certainty - and most difficult of passages. I have written in this blog post about different kinds of loss. There is the long journey of a spouse's chronic or degenerative illness; there is the loss that occurs with acute illness and intensive medical interventions; there is the unexpected loss that shocks and catapults a new reality into existence in seconds. There is the loss of love, of a marriage ended, a relationship that hit a wall. All losses require a time of grieving and grieving too comes in waves, stages and sometimes accompanied by serious complications.
Small steps: Each day, baby steps mark the way towards a tolerable reality. Unexpected loss strips the survivor of their confidence in the predictability of life and this can be quite debilitating. Rebuilding a trust in the everyday world might take some professional help as well as the passage of time. Time is a paradox in loss. It is time whose excruciating tred moves so slowly along in the grieving process and yet it is time whose gentle hand can be so healing.
Our Coupledom Life: When we sign on for the shared life, written in invisible ink along the margins of the contract to love another is the profound truth: one of our twosome will depart first. Does that keep us from love? Hardly. Loss is life’s most consistent theme.
If you need a hand to guide you when you are faced with the unfathomable, seek out family, friends or experts. Don’t totter alone. This deepest of all human emotions needs company.
How I work:
- To lose a partner, a spouse, a child, a friend, parent or pet is the most difficult of life’s many challenges. My first goal is to create a safe and non-judgmental environment for the grieving patient. Loss can trigger conflicting and deeply confusing emotions in each of us. Grief and relief; loneliness and freedom; anger and guilt. Fear and excitement.
- Because life doesn’t stand still for grieving, daily functioning and often complicated decisions have to take place alongside the arduous task of hauling the emotional baggage of loss through the course of a day. My role here is to help sort through resources and brainstorm choices for the tasks required while simultaneously providing a safe place for the bereaved to be honest and open with themselves.
- I see an important part of my role as therapist is to aid the bereaved in deepening their understanding of how best to meet their needs for life’s next chapter. Accompanying a profound loss can be a questioning of one’s identity - who am I now if not the wife, husband, mother, father, brother, sister, or best friend anymore? Recalibration of identity is normal and can be enriched by an exploration of the relationship with the deceased along with the memories, and meaning of shared experiences. A key role as the therapist is to aid in deepening the bereaved’s understanding of themselves and how best to meet their needs for life’s next chapter.
Riverview School parent