Grief and Loss Treatment

Feelings of sadness and anger are very typical following a significant loss, but if these feelings continue and persist over a long period of time and interfere with the quality of your life, it may be that you would benefit from grief therapy.

How can you tell the difference between ‘normal’ grief and more complicated or prolonged grief? Here are some signs:

  • You have a persistent and pervasive longing for the deceased or a persistent and pervasive preoccupation with the deceased
  • You are having intense emotional pain e.g. sadness, guilt, anger, blame
  • You find yourself avoiding locations or situations that remind you of your loss
  • You feel like you don’t know who you are anymore, as though you’ve lost of part of yourself, or that life is meaningless without the person who died
  • You have trouble doing the things you normally do because you are thinking so much about the deceased
  • Having suicidal thoughts, a sense of worthlessness, or persistent feelings of depression
  • In the case of a death, you can’t convince yourself your loved one is really dead
  • You’re abusing substances, like alcohol or drugs, or engaging in addictive behaviors
  • If you have trouble re-engaging in your normal life
  • You feel emotionally numb, or detached from others

One question I sometimes get is “How am I supposed to deal with this?” First and most important, there is no one right way to grieve. Secondly, you don’t have to be in mourning for years at a time to get help. If you start to feel like you wish you could be done grieving, then you’ve probably done it long enough.

An important fact to remember is that any loss can cause a grief reaction. Most folks equate grief with death, but there are other more covert losses as well:  loss of a friendship, loss of health, loss of a job, loss of a pet, divorce, the list can go on.

Individual group counseling or group counseling and support can both be very helpful, including online support groups. I offer individual therapy for prolonged grief, also called complicated grief. In fact it’s one of my specialties. I have been trained and credentialed as a Certified Grief Counselor (the only one in the area) in order to be helpful as resolving and healing from the grief that can accompany significant loss. You can find my listing here.

The therapy I use for grief work is EMDR, as it is a powerful and relatively fast way of working through unresolved emotions and related experiences that can make it difficult to complete the mourning process. I found in my trauma work that there can be a significant overlap with trauma and grief. Frankly, some of our losses are traumatic. Even those that aren’t can still seem to haunt us even if we don’t know why.

I can help.  I offer counseling services for grief and loss here in the Tri-Cities area. Please write me or give me a call. Click here to be taken to a form to contact me via email, or call my office directly at 509-531-6698. You can heal, and you can feel better!