Loss of a Loved One
We can “lose” a loved one in various ways: we can have a falling out with them and do irreparable damage to the relationship, couples can divorce or separate, and family members can become estranged. The most traumatic of all losses can be the death of a loved one. This doesn’t make the other types of loss any less difficult to handle, but a death is permanent. There’s no possibility of reconciliation or mending relationships. Experiencing the death of a loved one can be devastating and something that can take a toll on you mentally, physically, and spiritually. Intellectually, you may know that death is a part of life but when it actually affects you, you may feel shocked, angry, depressed, or that the death of your loved one is simply not fair. All these emotions are very common. It’s not easy to cope after losing a loved one but grieving is the natural process you have to go through and it looks different for everyone.
Symptoms & signs of extreme grief
- Inconsolable sadness
- Inability to function
- Obsession with the deceased
- Looking for or thinking you see your loved one in various places
- Disbelief or inability to accept that they actually died
- Obsession with death in general
- Feelings of anger or guilt
- Avoiding things that remind you of your loved one
- Withdrawing from others
- Participating in self-destructive behaviours (alcohol or substance use, for example)
- Lack of appetite
- Digestive problems
- Sleeplessness or sleeping too much
- Feeling achy
- Lowered immunity
When is it time to get help?
It’s normal to feel grief when you’ve experienced the loss of someone you love. The symptoms of grief are 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 into depression or anxiety, and can even be a trigger for substance problems. If the death was very sudden, violent, or disturbing, you may even develop symptoms of PTSD. Or if your relationship with your loved one was unhealthy or complicated, it would be beneficial to work through some of those issues that may compound or complicate the grief you’re experiencing. If the grief you are experience is affecting your life and ability to move forward, then it’s time to seek help.
Extreme grief treatment methods
There are several different treatment methods for dealing with grief from losing a loved one. Your therapist will discuss with you what may work best for you. Some common treatments include:
- 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.
- Acceptance and commitment therapy encourages clients to accept the difficulties and misfortunes of life. Clients learn coping techniques to not dwell on negative emotions by staying in the present.
- Client centered therapy (Rogerian therapy). Carl Rogers generally had a particular focus of therapy, which tended to view that the therapeutic process and progress is ultimately based on the accomplishments of the client and only psychologically aided by the therapist.
- Emotionally focused therapy is based on observations and experience. It looks at emotions and emotional intelligence, which helps support stronger and more secure relationships by helping better understand how our actions impact others, and how our emotions drive our interaction.
- Faith based therapy is using science-based therapeutic techniques that are administered by a therapist with similar spiritual beliefs or an understanding of those beliefs. This is not based on any one religion or spiritual belief.
What will I get out of treatment with Insight Psychological?
Here at Insight Psychological, we have trained specialists in grief and loss, allowing you to feel confident in the expertise that your therapist brings, and more at ease when coming in. Your therapist will work with you to identify and deal with your feelings. Although you may feel like you’re alone in your grieving process, you are not. We’d be honoured to support you on this journey.