Grief is a universal experience. We all will, at some point in our lives, experience a devastating life event and lose someone or something who matters to us. That is part of what it means to be human: love and loss. Grief is the very normal expression of loss. If you’re needing support processing grief and loss, please get in touch with us to schedule a free consultation to see if we might be a good fit.
The stages of grief is a commonly known model for how we heal; however, grief is not a linear process. Grief comes in waves and you can experience a multitude of emotions and thoughts at once. This is why grief can feel overwhelming and exhausting.
Your experience of grief might include:
A large percentage of the folks we work with in processing grief didn’t first come to us wanting to work on this topic. In the process of therapy, we learn more about our clients and can point out situations and experiences that are worthy of grieving. There are many life experiences that are minimized due to the loss not being something widely accepted.
Ken Doka coined the term disenfranchised grief and defines it as the following:
When we expand our definition of grief, we make space for all of our varied life experiences and we get to ditch the rules of what society deems as “appropriate” grief. We can validate our grief and allow our feelings. This is the way towards healing.
Some other examples of disenfranchised grief include: death of a pet, infertility, miscarriages, faith transition, death of someone you didn’t know like a celebrity or someone in your town who you never met, estrangement or distanced relationships with family, loss of physical health, loss of community or moving cities, death of a therapist or client, and so many more examples.
As you read the list above, I hope you will take note that in some way we all will experience grief. Connecting to our common humanity is an important part of coping with grief. We can begin to see grief as a fact of life and something that we will experience throughout our lifetime. Perhaps grief is not something we need to hurry through or push away.
Grief can be a rollercoaster; we're here to help. Our therapists are trained in providing support for those grieving. We provide grief support by using a combination of evidence-based therapeutic interventions:
Narrative Therapy. A method to help process your story and find meaning to make sense of what you are going through.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. This approach can support you in accepting your loss and connecting you with what matters in your life as well as provide tools to use to help when things feel overwhelming. You'll learn how to process your grief while also learning how to adapt to your new routine after loss.
Mindfulness. We can help guide you on how to stay present when the waves of grief want to pull you down. Mindfulness also helps you learn to be with your feelings rather than pushing them away (which only tends to make feelings intensify). Mindfulness also teaches us how to have a different relationship with our pain and connects us to our shared humanity and reminds us that we are not alone.
Somatic Therapy. Grief is felt in the body and we can help teach you body-based techniques to process your grief.
Creativity. Sometimes words are hard to find when processing grief. We can help provide creative outlets for you to explore your grief such as writing, music, poetry, art, photography, and movement.
We hope this post has helped normalize and validate all of your varied experiences and expressions of grief. There is not one way to experience grief and there isn’t a “right” way to express it. We’re here to be a support to you if you’d like space to explore your grief journey with someone who gets it and knows how to help. We want to help you:
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