Each of us will experience grief throughout our lives, whether it’s due to the loss of a loved one, pet, job, or circumstances beyond our control. This grief is all part of our body’s natural response to loss. Everyone experiences grief differently, and often it can be overwhelming or confusing. Grief therapy is designed to help you process loss and the emotions that come with it. Grief therapy involves working with a therapist in an individual or group setting to support and process your grief.
Grief is not exclusive to death. It is a multi-dimensional emotion that affects mental health, physical health, social, spiritual, and philosophical areas of life. The compassionate staff and therapists at Mindful Living Group understand the impact a loss can have on your life. From psychotherapy, mindfulness practices, to bodywork and specialized retreats, Mindful Living Group is ready to help you process your loss and heal in a healthy, natural way.
What is Grief Therapy?
Grief therapy is not permanent therapy. There is no timeline on how long it takes each person to grieve. The time it takes for each person to move through the grieving process varies according to the individual. In the short-term, grief therapy can help in making decisions, such as the next steps in life or funeral arrangements. Long-term grief therapy provides support and guidance for accepting loss and creating or adapting to your life afterward.
There are techniques and types of psychotherapy your grief therapist may use to help you. One of the most common types of psychotherapy is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT functions to identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is another form of psychotherapy structured to help you accept negative feelings and life circumstances. This is influential in grief therapy as many people get caught in a loop of guilt around life situations that cannot be changed.
Mindfulness practices in dealing with grief can be potent in healing. Your therapist may suggest participating in group therapy or retreats centered around mindfulness or integrating it into your sessions. Through mindfulness, you can allow yourself to accept and express your feelings at any given moment while maintaining self-compassion and being free of judgment.
Children who have experienced a loss will grieve differently than adults. It can be difficult to understand what emotions they are feeling, and they likely are struggling to understand it themselves. Grief therapy for children is recommended. Rather than counseling or therapy, an adult would receive, the environment is a safe place for the child to openly express their emotions. There are options for support groups for children or one on one sessions with a therapist. Activities are involved that encourage children to share how they feel and help them understand the emotions and where they come from.
What Can Grief Therapy Do?
First and foremost, identifying and expressing your emotions is an important step that grief therapy can help to achieve. Some people feel an overwhelming sadness, and others may feel numb or angry. All of these are healthy and normal to feel. Expressing your emotions can be difficult, especially if you feel alone in them. A grief therapist is there to listen without judgment and provide insight and guidance in understanding your feelings. We mustn’t avoid our grief, no matter how painful and relentless it feels. Grief therapy and mindful practices can teach us that pain and sorrow are temporary. This is not to say your grief will go away completely, but rather change its shape.
After losing a loved one, many people feel as though a part of them is lost. Grief therapy does not aim to change who you are but helps you to redefine your identity. For example, after the loss of a spouse, the identity of the wife or husband becomes widow or widower. This new identity can come with heavy emotions and confusion about what it now means for you. With the support of your therapist, you are able to explore new ideas or create a new routine that is suitable for this new life.
Learning to remember and honor your loved one in a healthy way can be challenging. It is easy to become consumed by your grief, even if it is years later. A study published in the journal Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy discovered that people who participated in grief therapy had fewer symptoms in the long run than those who did not.
Grief therapy for children struggling with loss can have many benefits and is highly recommended if any trauma is involved with the loss. Children must be given the proper guidance and outlet to express how they feel and understand their emotions. Unprocessed grief in children can manifest into other behavioral or mental health issues. Young children are at risk to regress back into bedwetting, or baby talk. It is difficult for young children to understand the permanence of death, and grief therapy for children and the parents can help with the communication about loss.
How Can Mindful Living Group Help?
Our licensed and experienced therapists are here to support you and your family. We recognize the effects grief can have on both your mental and physical health and are equipped to meet all of your needs on an individual level.
During a time of loss, our emotions can become overwhelming, tension within the family can grow, or communication between one another can become difficult. Family grief therapy is optimal for coming together, establishing boundaries, or resolving conflicts that may arise from the loss. The loss of a loved one, or even a job, can put a lot of stress on the relationship between couples. If there are children, they feel the aftershock of the stress, too. Family or couples therapy can have significant value on communication and setting goals.
Group therapy can provide a unique and supportive process for those facing grief. Group therapy is led by one or more experienced therapists in the area and helps mediate and provide insight from which the whole group can gain. Group grief therapy offers a source of community and togetherness for those who may feel alone in their situations and seek a support system.
Grief takes a physical toll on our bodies. It is important to communicate with your therapist if any physical issues arise. Several bodywork practices can be utilized to help your discomfort. Acupuncture is a valuable treatment for insomnia, reduced appetite, stress, and other physical symptoms commonly accompany grief.
Within the first month after your loss, it can feel impossible to return to anything, or the idea of facing crowds or traffic can induce anxiety. Mindful Living Group offers telehealth counseling. This way, you can begin your grief therapy journey from home. And worry not, your sessions are just as confidential as they would be in person.
Not every person who experiences loss will require grief therapy. It is recommended for those who are having a difficult time navigating through their emotions or getting back to a regular routine. If you find yourself experiencing traumatic or complicated grief or any other emotional or behavioral issues, it is very likely grief therapy can benefit you. Whether it’s individual, family, or group sessions, getting started with your healing is an appointment away. Click here to contact us, and set up your appointment.