Life: Losses and Gains
5th January, 2011
Loss is a constant in our lives. We 'lose' our childhoods and our youth, friends might fade away, our careers halt when we retire and each day's end is a kind of death - a moment never repeated.
These endings are so constant and unrelenting that we don't see them clearly - they are losses. So when tragedy comes with the loss of a loved one - a parent, friend or sibling dies - we are stunned, numb, angry perhaps and so overwhelmed that living itself feels impossible. We are paralyzed in our grief.
For those of us for whom grief becomes so unmanageable we can hardly function, there may be unprocessed emotions from other, lesser losses in our pasts. Through therapy these can be revisited and mourned to help us move towards and begin to make sense of this larger, seemingly impossible, grief.
Those feelings and memories which have stayed locked up, unnamed and unfelt can be safely, slowly and confidentially thought about in our work together.
Of course therapy itself is a special kind of relationship that one day will end. Even if it is long term work, it will end at some point in the future. The way this is managed, thought about, spoken of and felt is, perhaps, the most helpful ending we may ever experience in our lives. Through it we are offered another, different kind of ending.
It is an an ending that is explored fully. Its sadness, pain, relief even, or other feelings it generates are able to be expressed and shared. 'We are both in this together', is often the sense for both the therapist and the client. The loss is acknowledged and named.
Which is of course a special kind of gain. We have been given the gift of a new model through which to manage the future and all its inevitable endings.
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