A lot of literature about grief is overwhelmingly death orientated. This is a good thing in that death is a universal experience but it is not an everyday thing. True, the loss of a loved one permeates one’s daily life long after the event, but the actual event is singular and for the more fortunate, not nearly as regular. The reality is most people go to counseling for relationship loss. Grief counselors deal with many people who are devastated by divorce, a cheating spouse, a broken engagement, or the sudden change of not having that person to call, hold, or spend time with. These aspects are very common to the human experience. With proper guidance, the wounds become scars and help one grow emotionally and sometimes spiritually.
The loneliness and the un-needed anxiety people experience in finding a mate can be stressful enough for some, but when one truly believes they found the one, only to be shocked that everything was an illusion can be a horrifying change. Changes in life style from the tiniest schedule can shake the foundation of that person’s life. Even the smallest scent or image can bring a tidal wave of emotional imagery. Unfortunately there are no short cuts in this adaptation period. As so many grief specialists emphasize, one must do their “grief work”. They must experience the change the emotional pain that accompanies it. Of course, as death, there is the acceptance stage, the emotional stage of anger and mourning, and the final adaptation to the new situation. A good grief counselor will guide the broken person through these phases and encourage emotional release in the healing process. Only after these initial steps, can the person utilize new meaning concepts to a new reality and properly place the lost relationship in its proper perspective of his or her life story. The question arises why does this adaptation take so long for some people? It all varies based upon the level of attachment. Attachment theory is a theory that was used in great depth with widows or widowers in their loss of a spouse. The same can be applied to broken relationships that do not involve death, but separation. The attachment will determine the length of the adaptation to the person. So, if someone was in a relationship for many years and suddenly the relationship ceased, one should expect a greater withdrawal and more intense and lengthy adaptation period. The opposite can be said for a short two month affair where there is little attachment and hence less adaptation. As a grief counselor, it is important not to only deal with death but also every day pains of the heart. Proper understanding of attachment can help one assess the situation and lay a ground work for eventually adaptation and assimilation of the past into the person’s present. One can never give a time frame for recovery, but with a special guidance, a grief counselor can help a person understand the phases and steps and help them take the necessary steps for a happy future with someone else. You can learn more about grief counseling, including available grief counseling courses and online study and training programs by doing an internet search for the American Academy of Grief Counseling. Mark Moran, MA, GC-C, SCC-C
Everyone experiences grief differently, but there are several stages of the grieving process that are fairly universal.
1. Shock and Denial.
This phase often manifests itself in a sort of numbness, a feeling of disbelief and a sense of helplessness.
2. Pain and Guilt.
As the shock abates, it is often replaced with feelings of longing for the one we have lost. It is standard at this stage to experience guilt and remorse about things we may have done or not done, said or not said, to that person. Overwhelming emotional pain is difficult to deal with, and should not be stifled.
A common question those in grief ask is ‘Why?’ Why Him/Her? Why us? Why me? Finding the answer to this question causes frustration and anger. It is common at this stage to try to find something or someone to blame, or take your frustration out on.
You may experience a period of introversion. This stage of the process may leave you feeling low, and you may find you spend a lot of time reflecting on the experiences you had with your loved one. Those close to you will often try to encourage you not to wallow in your grief. However, this is an important part of the process. It allows you to work through your feelings about the one you have lost, as well as reflect on your time together. At this point that you can start to look toward the future, and might even see some hope on the horizon. The worst is over. Often, people in this stage of the process start to think about how they might best commemorate and celebrate the life of the person they have lost. Deciding on an online memorial can be a great way to honour your loved ones. It allows you to have a permanent reminder of them which everyone can have access to, be involved in creating and even add to.
5. Hope for the Future.
The sense of hopelessness and despair you felt will start to lessen. You can now begin adjusting to life without the person you have lost.
6. Readjustment and Acceptance.
You will eventually begin to feel that you can settle in to new routines, and maybe even start making plans for your future. Life will seem less overwhelming. If you are experiencing prolonged grief, you may want to seek out the consult of a grief counselor. They can be very helpful in assisting you through the grief process or referring you for more intense treatment if need be.
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Thank you for visiting our AIHCP web blog. This category of the blog focuses on the specialty practice of Pastoral Thanatology. Our blog provides our visitors and professional members and students an ever expanding platform for related articles, information, discussions, event announcements and much more. We invite your participation by posting comments, information, sharing and authoring for our blog. Please visit us often and be sure to book mark us!