Grief

Grief is one of those words people don’t want to have a connection to. Relating to grief, means we know what it feels like to have felt loss, pain, and many other feelings commonly associated with it. Even if grief is something we hate to relate to, it is an integral part of the human experience. Many in this world have felt some semblance of it, however several people may not truly understand what grief is, how it affects us, and how we can begin healing.

What Is Grief?

The word grief has been defined countless times by many different people, groups, and organizations. Grief may be defined as “the constellation of feelings, behaviors, cognitions and alterations in functioning attendant upon loss of any kind” (Zisook & Kendler, 2007, p. 781). Other definitions place emphasis on the aspect of “change” associated with grief- the idea that some aspect of one’s “normal” ended or changed significantly. Many definitions will commonly relate grief to the death of a loved one; however, it is much more common to see definitions, today, that associate grief to “a loss of any kind.” While none of these are necessarily wrong or inaccurate, it is incredibly important for people to understand that feelings of grief are not limited to the experience of losing a loved one.

Non-Bereavement Grief Experiences

Other grief-related experiences that do not involve death include:

  • Chronic Illnesses

  • Job Loss or Career Change

  • Divorce

  • Infertility

  • Bankruptcy and Foreclosure

  • Retirement

  • Moving

  • Multicultural Discrimination

  • Loss of safety after trauma

Why Seek Help?

There are many different reasons that someone may seek professional help with a grief-related issue. Some clients I have personally seen have come to me for reasons of:

  • Attempting to find that “new normal”

  • Identifying and trying therapeutic tools to help with the loss

  • A desire to work on depressive symptoms

  • Experiencing frequent panic attacks relating to grief

  • Having a space to talk freely about the loss, while attempting to make small steps forward

  • Coping with life changes since loss

If you relate to any of this or want to begin addressing how grief/loss has impacted your life, give me a call or book a session.