Grief & Loss

There are five general stages of grief that most people go through. These include denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Everyone goes through them at a different rate, with some skipping certain stages altogether, although in some cases, it can take years to complete all five on your own. The death of a loved one, regardless of age – and even the prenatal loss of an unborn child – can cause extreme feelings of grief and loss. Grief can also be experienced from with the loss of a pet, a friendship, a job, or a relationship.

Signs & Symptoms of Issues from Extreme Grief and Loss

Emotional symptoms:

  • Extreme sadness
  • Inability to function
  • Obsession with the deceased or death in general
  • Feelings of anger or guilt
  • Numbness
  • Irritability
  • Withdrawing from others

Physical symptoms:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Digestive problems
  • Sleeplessness or sleeping too much
  • Feeling achy
  • Headaches

When is it time to get help?

It’s normal to experience grief when you’ve experienced a loss. The symptoms of grief re problematic if you’ve been experiencing them for a prolonged time or they are severe enough to affect your daily life – eating sleeping, working, etc. for an extended time. It’s easy to slip from sadness over the loss, to depression, anxiety and can even be a trigger for substance problems.

Treatment methods for extreme grief and loss

  • Grief work therapy allows an individual to deal with the feelings that come with grief. It is important for that person to ultimately accept the loss and move on without the deceased in body, but still possibly in another form. The process allows them to reach acceptance, which includes coming to terms with the pain and symptoms of grief. It is important to acknowledge that the pain they are experiencing is normal, but only temporary.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based approach to treatment that focuses on how your thoughts, emotions and beliefs influence your behaviour and how you perceive yourself, others and the world. CBT has been shown to be effective in dealing with anxiety because it helps you to change those negative thoughts, feelings, emotions and projections on a subject matter or circumstance and help you to learn more effective ways of dealing with your anxiety. This approach uses sound techniques to slow down, halt and eliminate your own learned reactions. Ultimately, CBT deals with those circumstances and events that you’re aware of, rather than dealing with circumstances and events relating to your unconscious. Through a sound therapeutic process, you’ll learn to respond differently to issues and circumstances, and you’ll learn healthy coping mechanisms.
  • Person Centered Therapy approaches tend to create a level of a permissive and noninterventionist climate suggesting that the client knows best, rather than the counselor. Typically nondirective, counselors avoid sharing a lot of personal information about themselves with clients and tend to focus more on reflecting and clarifying the verbal and nonverbal communications that clients express to them. Generally, this humanistic approach tends to believe that people are essentially trustworthy and have a vast potential for understanding themselves while also being able to ultimately resolve their own problems when guided properly.

What will I get out of treatment with Insight Psychological?

In some circumstances, symptoms of extreme or prolonged grief can go as far as emotional numbness; however it is important to realize that nothing is permanent and a therapist can help you identify and deal with these feelings. Once these feelings have been sorted out, and time has passed, you can return to your daily routine. Being able to work and keep busy also helps deal with the grief.