Call Us: (312) 522-7920

A Guide to Overcome Grief

A Guide to Overcome Grief

The term ‘bereavement’ often comes in context of the recovery process for someone who had faced a loved one’s death. Grief, on the other hand, encompasses all forms of loss. However, both the words are related to a thought process induced by the feelings of sadness that gradually lead to anger. Moreover, the process of recovery and adaptation to the unfortunate loss is unique for every individual. It varies according to their beliefs, background, relationship with the lost, and other similar factors. Therefore, grief counseling should be performed accordingly.

Thoughts And Behaviors Associated With Grief

Grief is associated with a range of feelings, which include yearning, sadness, regret, guilt, and anger. There are some other people who may only feel a sense of meaninglessness after a loss. Emotions are often complex and hard to understand. The thought process of a person experiencing the trauma, which is a natural result of loss, is highly disoriented. They may start thinking that the loss was their fault in some way. Apart from such feelings of guilt there can be other confusing thoughts as well such as why did this happen.

The reaction of such grieving thoughts varies as well. Some people take refuge continuous crying while others prefer sharing their feelings with other people. There are still others who become silent after a loss or start indulging in activities such as writing, cleaning, and exercising. For some, company works better while others prefer to hide in loneliness.

Categories Of Grief

The variety of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors expressed by different people as they suffer from grief can be divided into two separate categories. Most people, however, show a combination of symptoms from the following two main categories:

Instrumental — In this case, people focus more on solving the tasks instead of expressing their grief.

Intuitive — This is based on heightened experience of deep and profound emotions of loss and grief. It circles around thoughts such as thinking deeply about the lost one, speculating about the meaning of life and mortality.

Process Of Grief Recovery

Just like the thoughts and feelings associated with the grief, the process of grief recovery is extremely complicated as well. While it takes around 6 months for some people to return to a functional state for the day to day living, others may require at least a year or more for proper recovery. There are other cases where a complete healing never happens as the grief never truly subsides. However, it does not mean that moments of temporary contentment, humor, and joy are completely absent from the suffering individual’s life. While there are some factors that can bring a little positivity in a grieving person’s life such as exercise, self-compassion, and a supportive social gathering, there are other elements that may cause distress. The most common side effect of grief is depression, which may be a manifestation of failure to adjust to a life without the presence of a love one. Grief counseling is the first step a person suffering from bereavement should take. Opting for grief counseling will help an individual in understanding their emotions, which makes for the first step in a complicated process of grief recovery.

Grief Counseling

There are different levels of grief and while in the initial stages if the person does not go into a state of shock, the grief seems to be bearable. However with the passage of time if a person is not recovering and finds that the grief is interfering with their normal functioning, then it is high time for them to find grief counseling.

This state of grief where grief counseling becomes essential is termed as complicated grief. For such condition to be at least a combination of the following symptoms must be found in the patient prolonging for about a year:

  • Intense sadness
  • Preoccupation with the situation and phenomenon of death
  • Difficulty with engaging in joyful memories
  • Meaninglessness or feelings of emptiness
  • Avoidance of remembering the deceased
  • Lacking desire to pursue plans or personal interests
  • Longing or yearning
  • Bitterness or anger

Therapy for Grief

In order to find an effective way of grief counseling you must seek the help of a professional Chicago therapist. One of the best ways to cope up with the stressors of the grief is use techniques of meditation and relaxation.

Individual Therapy

You must realize that each case of grief is unique, personal, and complex in its own way. Therefore, only an experienced therapist will know how to customize the treatment methods according to the specific needs of every sufferer. This form of grief therapy is called individual therapy.

Group Therapy

Not all people are looking for individual therapies and some feel better with reciprocal sharing of their loss with a group of people going through the same level of grieving. They tend to improve and recover faster with this type of treatment.

Another type of group therapy is family therapy where the whole family or some of its members are struggling as they are faced with the necessity to adapt after losing another family member.

Grief Models

Researchers and psychologists have studied the topic of grief in detail. As a result, they have come up with various stages or models of grief. The most famous model that is often taught to the trainee therapist was given in 1969 by the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. According to this model grief has five major stages, where one moves form one stage to the next with the passage of time.

Figure 1 Five Stages of Grief by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (1969)

While the ideal condition is that the one suffering from grief passes through these five stages before coming out of it. However, in reality people often find themselves moving in circle among these stages.

Therefore, psychologists Hank Schut and Margaret Stroebe came up with an alternative based model that is not linear. It is based on the dual process of grief.

Figure 2 Alternative grief model by Hank Schut and Margaret Stroebe

With all these mechanism available and loads of studies conducted on the topic, finding relief is not difficult. All you need is the help of a professional therapist for proper grief counseling. Are you a resident of Chicago looking for therapy? Call (312) 522-7920 for booking an appointment at Anxiety and Depression Clinic Chicago.