Some form of grief comes to most of our lives eventually. It is hard, however, for most of us to understand and process. Experiencing grief is a normal part of the healing process after a trauma, and it does not always mean that someone has a mental health disorder. Sometimes, though, grief becomes so intense that it prevents an individual from being able to go about their daily life. Traumas that can lead to profound grief include:
- Terminal diagnoses
- Natural disasters
- The loss of a job
While understanding grief can be difficult, what anyone experiencing grief should understand is that it is a normal part of healing.
The Stages of Grief
There are five stages of grief, according to mental health experts.
Denial: Denial is the first stage. This stage involves the individual refusing to accept events. Blocking out reality gives the person time to adjust and deal with intense emotions.
Anger: Anger is the second stage. Anger appears as the person realizes that something they cannot control has happened.
Bargaining: Bargaining is the third stage of grief. Bargaining often means the patient imagines what-if scenarios where things may have turned out differently. They may also blame themselves for what has occurred.
Depression: The fourth stage, depression, occurs as reality sets in. While painful, this is the essential precursor to the final stage, acceptance.
Acceptance: Acceptance is not about getting over something. It just means that the individual has adjusted to a new normal.
The Complications of Grief
Moving through the stages of grief can be difficult. When grief interferes with one’s quality of life, mental health treatment may be necessary. Symptoms of complicated grief include:
- Clinical depression
- Suicidal thoughts
- Loss of quality of life
Dealing With Regret
Dealing with grief can really be extremely challenging because often people think that trying to forget about certain events isn’t respectful to the person they lost. Getting through grief isn’t disrespectful. It’s just about beginning a new chapter of life.
Therapy once or twice a week can be helpful to those in extreme stress. The following are some of the interventions we offer at Carmel to help you with your grief.
Therapy for Individuals
Individual therapy can be extremely beneficial to someone experiencing grief. In therapy, you will be able to share your personal thoughts and talk through your feelings of grief. You can also work on coping mechanisms that can help you through this time.
When you take part in group therapy, you realize that others are going through the same experiences you are. This can help you feel less alone. In this type of therapy, a counselor will make sure everyone in the room feels safe to share and to speak. The counselor may also provide techniques that can help the participants with their grief.
A child’s experience with grief is different from an adult’s. For instance, they might not process death or trauma in the same way. Also, they have a different way of expressing information and processing feelings. Working with an expert therapist in childhood grief can really impact a child and provide more positive outcomes for that child. Therapists can identify obstacles a child has and help parents with strategies to help their children.
Teen Therapy for Grief
Just like children, teens will experience grief differently than adults. They understand more than children, but have a different way of expressing their emotions. Therapists specializing in adolescent grief can benefit the teen, and work with family members as well.