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We bereaved are not alone.
We belong to the largest company in all the world, the company of those who have known suffering.
When it seems that our sorrow is to great to be borne, let us think of the great family of the heavy hearted into which our grief has given us entrance, and inevitably, we will feel about us their arms, their sympathy, their understanding.
Believe, when you are most unhappy, that there is something for you to do in the world.
So long as you can sweeten another's pain, life is not in vain
Grief is on the few aspects of the human condition that is universal.
“Grief is the normal and natural emotional reaction to loss or change of any kind. Of itself, grief is neither a pathological condition nor a personality disorder.”
The 5 stages of grief and loss are: 1. Denial and isolation; 2. Anger; 3. Bargaining; 4. Depression; 5. Acceptance. People who are grieving do not necessarily go through the stages in the same order or experience all of them.
There is a distinction between grief counseling and grief therapy. Counseling involves helping people move through uncomplicated, or normal, grief to health and resolution. Grief therapy involves the use of clinical tools for traumatic or complicated grief reactions. This could occur where the grief reaction is prolonged or manifests itself through some bodily or behavioral symptom, or by a grief response outside the range of cultural or psychiatrically defined normality.
Grief therapy is a kind of psychotherapy used to treat severe or complicated traumatic grief reactions, which are usually brought on by the loss of a close person (by separation or death) or by community disaster. The goal of grief therapy is to identify and solve the psychological and emotional problems which appeared as a consequence.
They may appear as behavioral or physical changes, psychosomatic disturbances, delayed or extreme mourning, conflictual problems or sudden and unexpected mourning). Grief therapy may be available as individual or group therapy. A common area where grief therapy has been extensively applied is with the parents of cancer patients.
Grief counseling becomes necessary when a person is so disabled by their grief; and, so overwhelmed by their loss that their normal coping processes are disabled or shut down. Grief counseling facilitates expression of emotion and thought about the loss, including their feeling sad, anxious, angry, lonely, guilty, relieved, isolated, confused, or numb.
It includes thinking creatively about the challenges that follow loss and coping with concurrent changes in their lives. Often people feel disorganized, tired, have trouble concentrating, sleep poorly and have vivid dreams, and they may experience change in appetite. These too are addressed in counseling.
Grief counseling facilitates the process of resolution in the natural reactions to loss. It is appropriate for reaction to losses that have overwhelmed a person's coping ability. There are considerable resources online covering grief or loss counseling such as the Grief Counseling Resource Guide from the New York State Office of Mental Health.
Grief counseling may be called upon when a person suffers anticipatory grief, for example an intrusive and frequent worry about a loved one whose death is neither imminent nor likely. Anticipatory mourning also occurs when a loved one has a terminal illness. This can handicap that person's ability to stay present whilst simultaneously holding onto, letting go of, and drawing closer to the dying relative.
Joanne Jozefowski in 1999 through The Phoenix Phenomenon: Rising from the Ashes of Grief summarizes five stages to rebuild a shattered life.
For each of us - - rich or poor, young or old - - there are times in our lives when we must face and deal with personal losses and the pain and sorrow they cause. Examples that come easily to mind are the death of a parent, spouse, child, or other close family member or friend. Many other events and transitions also bring with them sadness and a need to grieve:
Losses such as these are simply part of living.
Like their counterparts among the joyful occasions in our lifetime - - the birth of a child or grandchild, a celebration of marriage, an enduring friendship - - they are part of what it means to share in the human experience. And the emotions they create in us are part of living, as well.