Dealing With Grief and Loss
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Sipora Levy, Advanced Diploma in Humanistic Counselling
2nd February, 2011
"Dark moments come, light moments come - if we can remember that we are not any of these, then bliss arises", wrote Osho, a teacher of eastern philosophy. Unfortunately, grief has a habit of wiping out any memory of lighter moments and it is hard for us to realise that however bad things are, they could change and get better.
A grief reaction can occur for reasons other than bereavement. The end of a relationship can also stir up earlier feelings of loss, which we may have forgotten at the time because we did not have the resources to deal with them. This could explain the feelings of grief that can occur for no apparent 'reason'.
If we are taught from a young age that it is healthy to express our feelings and not a sign of weakness, we could grow up with a spontaneous ability to heal ourselves from emotional pain. Because most of us receive the erroneous message that crying and other forms of emotional release should be stifled as soon as possible, we build up a store of old wounds and hurts which accumulate and lead to us either numbing out of 'breaking down' when difficulties arise. If we could be encouraged to have a 'good cry' as regularly as we work out at the gym, we would be in much better emotional and physical health. Rather than a sign that things are wrong, tears are an indication that we are healing our pain. To be human is painful and happiness can be transient.
There are things we can do to help the grieving process. Firstly remember that grief is a natural response to emotional pain and try not to bottle things up. Secondly, find someone you can trust to talk to. Isolation only compounds the grief and can make it seem worse. This is where a trained Counsellor may come in useful. Friends and family may be too close to us to be able to be objective about our grief. Finally, be kind and patient with yourself. There are no pre-ordained time limits for working through grief. However, you are the best expert on yourself. If a long standing grief reaction has not responded to counselling and self help, you may want to seek medical advice. Tomorrow may be a better day.
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