Grief and Loss

Topics: Grief, Emotion, Grief counseling Pages: 7 (2492 words) Published: June 23, 2012
Discuss the psychological and physical effects of loss and grief. How might an ethical therapist incorporate this knowledge in his/her work

No of words:2479

Losing someone or something we love is very painful. We may experience all kinds of difficult emotions and it may feel like the sadness will never let up. These are normal reactions to a significant loss. But while there is no right or wrong way to grieve —there are healthy ways to cope with the pain. Grief is a natural response to loss. It’s the emotional suffering we feel when something or someone we love is taken away. We may associate grief with the death of a loved one – and this type of loss does often cause the most intense grief. But any loss can cause grief, including: * A relationship breakup * Loss of health * Losing a job * Loss of financial stability * A miscarriage | * Death of a pet * Loss of a cherished dream * A loved one’s serious illness * Loss of a friendship * Loss of safety after a trauma | The more significant the loss, the more intense the grief. However, even subtle losses can lead to grief. For example, we might experience grief after moving away from home, graduating from college, changing jobs, selling our family home, or retiring from a career we loved. Grieving is a personal and highly individual experience. How we grieve depends on many factors, including personality and coping style, life experience, faith, and the nature of the loss. The grieving process takes time. Healing happens gradually; it can’t be forced or hurried – and there is no “normal” timetable for grieving. Some people start to feel better in weeks or months. For others, the grieving process is measured in years. Whatever grief experience, it’s important to be patient and allow the process to naturally unfold. (Bowlby 1977) In 1969, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross introduced what became known as the “five stages of grief.” These stages of grief were based on her studies of the feelings of patients facing terminal illness, but many people have generalized them to other types of negative life changes and losses, such as the death of a loved one or a break-up. The five stages of grief:

* Denial: “This can’t be happening to me.”
* Anger: “Why is this happening? Who is to blame?”
* Bargaining: “Make this not happen, and in return I will ____.” * Depression: “I’m too sad to do anything.”
* Acceptance: “I’m at peace with what happened.”
If we are experiencing any of these emotions following a loss, it may help to know that our reaction is natural and that we’ll heal in time. However, not everyone who is grieving goes through all of these stages – and that’s okay. In fact, some people resolve their grief without going through any of these stages. And if we do go through these stages of grief, we probably won’t experience them in a neat, sequential order.(Parkes 1972) Kübler-Ross herself never intended for these stages to be a rigid framework that applies to everyone who mourns. In her last book before her death in 2004, she said of the five stages of grief, “They were never meant to help tuck messy emotions into neat packages. They are responses to loss that many people have, but there is not a typical response to loss, as there is no typical loss. Our grieving is as individual as our lives.” Instead of a series of stages, we might also think of the grieving process as a roller coaster, full of ups and downs, highs and lows. Like many roller coasters, the ride tends to be rougher in the beginning, the lows may be deeper and longer. The difficult periods should become less intense and shorter as time goes by, but it takes time to work through a loss. Even years after a loss, especially at special events such as a family wedding or the birth of a child, we may still experience a strong sense of grief. While loss affects people in different ways, many people experience the following symptoms when they’re...

References: Bowlby,J.(1980) Attachment and loss ,New York:Basic Books
Kubler-Ross,E.(1969) On death and dying. New York:Macmillan
Neimeyer,R.(Ed).(2001) Meaning reconstruction and experience of loss. Washington D.C :American Psychological Association
Parkes,C.M.(1972).Bereavement:Studies of grief in adult life.New York:International University Press.
Sanders,C. (1989 ) Grief:the mourning after.New York Wiley
Worden,W.J.(2009) Grief counselling and grief therapy.A handbook for the Mental Health Practitioner New York: Springer Publishing Company
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