Heal From Grief and Find A Way Forward...

Have you recently lost a loved one and feel extreme sadness? Have you  experienced a change in your life, such as the end of a significant relationship, health decline or any other change you were not in control of, and find it hard to move forward? Do you feel stuck and ruminating on how “life was before” or “should be”?

Grief is a deeply personal journey that affects each person differently. It cannot be compared from one person to another. While some may experience sadness, others may feel anger, confusion, or even relief. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. It also takes different amounts of time for different people to heal from grief. Grieving, or a period of bereavement is in fact a natural and adaptive experience all human beings are faced with during their lifetime.

Therapies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), group therapy, art therapy, and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) can support the natural process of grieving and address any difficulties or blocks if grief becomes too intense or stuck. 

Types of Grief

Grief is different for everyone. Understanding its different kinds can help during tough times. Knowing the type of grief you’re experiencing helps you make sense of the emotions. It also helps you see that you’re not alone.

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Normal Grief

All of us experience normal grief from time to time. It can occur after losing a loved one, ending of a significant relationship, or moving away from your loved ones. You’ll experience sadness, anger, and disbelief for a period of time and eventually the experience is integrated with understanding and acceptance.

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Anticipatory Grief

Occurs before a significant loss, often seen when a loved one is terminally ill, impending dissolution of a significant relationship, such as a divorce and separation.

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Disenfranchised Grief

Grief that is not socially acknowledged, such as the loss of a pet or a miscarriage is often categorized as disenfranchised grief. Society might not acknowledge this grief, making it harder to receive support and validation.

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Complicated or Chronic Grief

Years after a loss, if intense emotions are persistent and other symptoms are affecting your physical health, interpersonal relationships and daily responsibilities, complicated grief may be present. People may develop complicated grief after a sudden or traumatic loss, if a history of mood disorders is present, but also when the natural process of grief is not completed or allowed, for various reasons.

Therapies for Grief

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is all about understanding how our thoughts, feelings, and actions are linked. It helps you spot and challenge those negative thoughts. You'll learn techniques like cognitive restructuring, where you swap out negative thoughts for more realistic ones, and behavioral activation, which gets you doing positive activities.

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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Embrace your thoughts and feelings rather than fighting them. ACT helps you get in touch with the present moment and live according to your values. Techniques include mindfulness, which keeps you grounded, in the now, and cognitive defusion, which teaches you to see thoughts as just thoughts, not facts.

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Art Therapy

Instead of talk therapy, which primarily engages our logical brain, creative and artistic expression - whether it’s drawing, painting, creative writing — engages the feeling/emotional brain. Art therapy can be a space for self-exploration and understanding of your grief process better.

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Group Therapy

Group Therapy for Grief provides a supportive space guided by a therapist, where people experiencing loss can come together and share their stories. It's a way to connect with others who understand what you're going through, which can be incredibly comforting. In these sessions, you’ll talk about your feelings, listen to others, and gain insights and coping strategies.

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EMDR
(Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)

EMDR is a therapy designed to help people process and heal from traumatic experiences and works well to treat grief. It involves recalling a traumatic memory while following the therapist’s hand movements or other stimuli. It helps reduce the emotional charge of the memory and change the way it’s stored in your brain, making it less traumatic.

Do not let grief affect your everyday life. I’m here to support your healing journey. Take the first step today

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Jennifer Pinto
Registered social worker, MSW, RSW

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