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Discuss the psychological and physical effects of loss and grief: How might an ethical therapist incorporate this knowledge into his/her work? Base your answer of the theories and models presented in Module 7. It is a fact of life that every individual will experience loss and grief at some point in their lives but in certain circumstances they may be unaware of it. Loss can come in many disguises from the easily recognisable bereavement, to redundancy, children leaving home, divorce, relocation, disfigurement, chronic illness, miscarriage, loss of a close pet, abortion and others. When a client presents for Counselling, it is vital to be alert for losses, both recent and historical, to check if there are unresolved issues because grief can be easily missed or misinterpreted. Chrysalis (2012) states that there are two ways in which a therapist will encounter the need to work with loss and grief. These are: 1) When a client presents with a recent loss and their goal is to work through the process and understand it, reaching a satisfactory conclusion. 2) When a client presents with other symptoms which you then uncover as being a grief reaction. In this case the person may not recognise that their problems are related to grief or unresolved grief in the past. For the purposes of this assignment, loss and grief will be focus primarily on bereavement. Worden (2009) states “that the overall goal of grief counselling is to help the survivor adapt to the loss of a loved one and adapt to a new reality without him or her”. He goes on to explain that there must be four adjustments: increasing the reality of the loss, dealing with behavioural pain, and helping the client maintain a bond with the deceased while being comfortable with the new reality. I will now examine the psychological and physical aspects of grief and how a therapist may use grief models and theories in the therapy room and take into consideration social and ethical factors.
The Physical and Psychological effects of Grief.
Before exploring the theories and models of grief, it is important to be aware of the psychological and physical issues which accompany the grieving process. It is possible indeed common that a client may present for Counselling on an unrelated issue and on closer examination by the therapist; it becomes apparent that the client is in the grief process, and is in fact stuck at a certain stage in this process, or has failed to grieve in the past. There are feelings, cognitive processes, behaviours and physical symptoms which manifest not only in grief but in other psychological issues. It is the job of the Counsellor to make the link between the presenting issue with the unresolved past grief and loss. Many people will assume that the over-riding feeling associated with grief is sadness and if sadness is not being experienced then the issue is not grief. This is most definitely not the case. There is often a ray of emotions that individuals experience, such as anger, frustration, sometimes and a sense of relief. This is not uncommon after the deceased has been ill for months or years or if there was a difficult relationship between the deceased and the client. There are several stages to the grief process and each of these stages has distinct range of emotions and feelings. Common feelings surrounding grief are shock, numbness, denial, fear, sense of abandonment, anxiety, anger, guilt, loneliness, pining, relief, tiredness and freedom. The same is true for cognitive processes and behaviours which can be frightening and confusing to the client. They include obsessive thoughts, hallucinations or visions of the deceased, denial that the deceased has died or even sensing that the deceased is in the room with the client. Behaviours can be disturbed sleep, loss or a gain in appetite, forgetfulness, or lack of interest in life, withdrawal from the client’s normal network of friends and family, crying,...
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