by Melissa Skinner, M.A.,LCPC
At some point everyone experiences loss and grief. Although grief is universal, we all do it differently and it is a unique experience for everyone. When we lose someone close to us, the pain and sadness can be very intense. It is not uncommon to feel as though you will never be happy again. It is important to understand that although the grieving process is very painful, dealing with and working through your loss, will enable you to begin to move forward and eventually find peace again.
As a society we do not talk about grief and death, so learning to express your sadness and how you are feeling can be very difficult. Therapy can provide a safe space to express your grief and to receive support for what you are going through. Often in my practice, I see client’s enter therapy thinking they should already be “over it”. I remind my client’s that grief is actually a journey and a process which unfolds in it’s own time. Sometimes not as fast as we’d like.
As a therapist I provide psycho education about grief and normalize the experience of feeling sad and needing to cry. I encourage my client’s to embrace their sadness, despite the intense pain they may feel. As part of the grieving process, I work with client’s on developing a new relationship to the deceased. Honoring rituals can be a good way to do this. Rituals to honor the dead can provide purpose and meaning and serve to connect an individual to something larger then themselves. The rituals can also provide some closure and help a person begin to navigate through the grieving process. Some rituals might include honoring a loved ones birthday or an anniversary, planting a tree in memory of the deceased or making a donation to a specific charity.
Practical ways to manage grief include, taking care of yourself by eating healthy, getting enough sleep and avoiding things that “numb” the pain, such as alcohol. Surrounding yourself with family and friends and allowing yourself the time and space to feel sad, will help you move forward. It is a time to scale back on obligations and focus on your own needs. You may want to explore the option of a grief support group or schedule an appointment with a Professional Therapist.
Melissa Skinner is the founder of Northwest Counseling & Wellness and a Licensed Professional Counselor. Melissa has extensive experience working with individuals and families who are coping with grief and loss. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 872/222/3132