Grief Therapy

December 10, 2019
grief counseling, grief therapy, counselor for grief process, holistic counseling, the wholeness center, Fort Collins

The holidays aren’t always cheerful and bright for everyone.  Many of us face moments of grieving that may have built up or may come on suddenly. 

At Wholeness Center, we honor your whole health and that includes holding space for grief.  If you or a loved one is struggling, our grief therapist (Doreen Horan) is available to offer support and guidance.  Call 970.221.1106 for more information.

 

Spending time with loved ones is part of the holiday theme.  The holiday season is merry and bright, right?  But what if it doesn’t feel that way to you?  How do you cope?

Do you find yourself pushing through and ignoring emotions?  Or maybe you find that you are pulling away and consciously or subconsciously seeking isolation?  If you find that grief is swelling for you during this time of year, take a moment to be aware of it and acknowledge what your body, mind, and soul is telling you.

Physical symptoms of grief can include:

Headaches

Dry mouth

Shortness of breath*

Chest pain*

Nausea

Stomach Pain

Digestive Disorders

Feeling tired, overwhelmed

Brain fog, memory loss

Joint aches

Insomnia

*shortness of breath or chest pain could be signs of a heart attack

When we think of brain trauma, we tend to think of it as a physical injury.  Emotional brain trauma is an injury as well and has a profound effect on the physical body.  For example, Broken Heart Syndrome (Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy) is caused by stress hormones and causes symptoms similar to a heart attack.   Those symptoms can lead to serious cardiac consequences, including a heart attack.  Truly, a broken heart.

Grief is part of the healing process.  It’s important to our health and our growth.  You are born with the innate ability to grieve and doing so can release tension and purge emotions.  Positive expressions of grief can heal.  When ignored or left unchecked, grief can grow, percolate, or suddenly come on without warning.   And, as virtuous as our society has made holding back emotions, doing so can be harmful to your health.

How to Help
If you notice that a loved one is grieving, often seeing someone else’s grief can remind us of our own loss and we may try to get them to move on or avoid the pain.  But grief is a skill, it’s a natural process.  You can help your loved one by holding space for them as they grieve.  Often times, the person grieving is simply too exhausted to seek out help on their own.

Some ways you can help include:

Offering to contact a counselor for them and drive them to the appointment

Offering to set up a call or video chat with a counselor in their home

Ask “How are you feeling today?” rather than “How are you?”

Cooking them a meal, even if they say they aren’t hungry

Try to avoid judgment and the myth of “closure”

Walking with them on an outdoor trail, either quietly or in conversation

Be there to listen, or to sit with them in silence

Taking time to process your own grief to find a deeper level of empathy

Embracing Grief
Embracing grief at the holidays and throughout the year is an opportunity to heal even our deepest wounds.  Leaning into grief can be scary, overwhelming, and bring up powerful emotions.  That is why we strongly suggest finding a counselor to work with throughout your grieving process.  Grief is normal, it takes courage, and it can affect every part of our lives.

Grief isn’t something we recover from.  I say “we” because we’re all in different stages of grief throughout our lives.  No one is untouched.  There’s no timeline to grief, it’s not a linear process, and there’s not a point when grieving is over.  We all experience grief, at different levels, throughout our lifetime.  With therapy and time, grief can help heal loss and it can be integrated into our daily lives.  Our lives will not be the same as before, they’ll be different.  They will be filled with more understanding, more strength, more compassion, and with an ability to love more deeply than we thought possible.

Closure from grief is a myth.  Evolving with grief intertwined is a possibility.

For more questions about grief therapy, counseling, or any of our services at Wholeness Center, feel free to contact us 970-221-1106.  Our collaborative team is here for you, to support your health and wholeness.  The  blend of conventional and holistic therapies we offer make us one of the most integrative mental health centers in the United States.

– Dr. Steve Rondeau

Wholeness Center can be found in the Riverbend Office Complex in Ft. Collins.  Just a short drive from the 1-25 corridor near the areas of Greeley, Loveland, Longmont, Cheyenne, Windsor, or north Denver.

 

Resources:

https://www.press.jhu.edu/news/blog/and-after-loss-neurologist%E2%80%99s-perspective-loss-grief-and-brain