Coping With Loss: How Therapy Can Provide You With The Grief Support You Need

Grief is powerful. It can gnaw, attack, and engulf you with its unforgiving emotions. Grief can make you feel scared and alone; it can make you insecure and doubtful; it can create an insidious cycle of shame, fear, and depression.

Grief and loss are inevitable. All humans experience pain and hardship, and yet, we all cope with its aftermath differently.

During this vulnerable time, you may feel hopeless. It may seem like the situation will never improve, as if your life will never get better. Reaching out for grief support can help provide you with some guidance and perspective. It can help restore your confidence and boost your optimism moving forward.

Normal Reactions For Grief and Loss

Although grief and loss are natural in this lifetime, these experiences can be incredibly painful. It is essential to know that you are not alone or “crazy” for how you feel.

Normal reactions to grief and loss include:

  • Sudden or intense mood swings
  • Distraction and struggles with focus and concentration
  • Limited energy
  • Crying often (or feeling like you are crying for no obvious reason)
  • Replaying the feelings, people, or incidents that happened just before the loss
  • Feeling uncertain about how to talk about your feelings with others
  • Sense of numbness or detachment
  • Physical reactions (chest tightness, stomach pains, nausea, appetite fluctuations)

These reactions may range in severity. Moreover, they may fluctuate over time. One day, you may feel “fine,” and the next, you may feel utterly distraught. These shifts are also reasonable and expected. Your body and mind are adjusting to the transition, and that process takes time.

When To Consider Seeking Grief Support

There is not a perfect time to reach out for support. It doesn’t matter how recently the loss occurred; if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it may be time to consider professional help:

  • Increased feelings of depression
  • Intense guilt or shame
  • Withdrawal from friends, family, or usual interests
  • Sleep problems (nightmares, insomnia, restlessness)
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Intensified anxiety (panic attacks, hypervigilance, racing thoughts)
  • A pervasive sense of hopelessness or dread
  • Suicidal or violent thoughts
  • Feeling worse as the months progress

Some of these symptoms may gradually decline on their own. However, they can also persist for several months or years. Likewise, without addressing them, some symptoms may progressively worsen.

Loved ones may have good intentions in helping you cope. They may tell you that “time will heal everything,” or that he or she is “in a better place.” Unfortunately, these statements can feel both invalidating and harmful. That’s why reaching out for professional support can be so helpful.

Therapy For Grief and Loss: What To Expect

Throughout this lifetime, we will encounter all kinds of losses. Death, illness, significant life transitions. Invariably, losing what we know and love hurts. It can feel like abandonment, like a sweeping tornado that will never cease.

And, yet, therapy provides some perspective, healing, and comfort during this difficult time. You can have a supportive space to explore those painful feelings. You can have a safe professional who will truly listen without judgment or expectations.

Grief therapy may include several components. You will learn about the common reactions and feelings associated with grief and loss. Likewise, your therapist can teach you practical and helpful techniques for coping with your distress. These techniques will vary, but they may include:

  • Mindfulness and meditation exercises
  • Creative expression (journaling, art)
  • Free association and open dialogue (expressing whatever is on your mind)
  • Building positive support (attending bereavement or other grief-related groups)
  • Challenging negative thinking
  • Increasing emotional resilience
  • Implementing healthy self-care techniques

You and your therapist will work together to determine the appropriate length of treatment. There is not an optimal amount of time. Some people notice an immediate improvement after attending just a few sessions; others benefit from more long-term work.

The Decision To Seek Help

Professional grief support doesn’t necessarily “cure” the pain. It doesn’t make you forget what happened, and it doesn’t provide instant relief for your emotions. After all, these are not the goals of healing from grief and loss.

Instead, therapy provides you with an inviting space for growth, change, and insight. Therapy offers warmth and comfort- during a time when you may feel terrified and alone. It provides you the valuable chance to honor your grief process and cultivate meaning out of the loss.

Together, we can unpack the raw emotions associated with your loss. Together, we can find healthier strategies for coping.

The journey to healing may be a difficult one, but you don’t have to walk on this path alone. Contact me today to learn how therapy can help you.

4601 Spicewood Springs Road Building 3, Suite 200
Austin, TX 78759
(512) 988-3363

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