Losing someone is a part of one’s life, yet nothing and no one can prepare you for the pain it can bring. Grieving is a common response to the death of a loved one. However, the process is not the same for everyone. Some people are naturally resilient and can weather storms. Unfortunately, there are some who have a much harder time dealing with it.
Grief can take many forms and isn’t always brought on by the loss of a loved one.
What is grief?
A person experiences grief when someone they love dies or is taken from them. Grief is an emotional sadness or pain. It can happen following a death, divorce or separation, illness, or the loss of something significant, such as a job, a home, or something with sentimental value. Even though grieving is not typically thought of as a mental health problem, if left untreated, it can nevertheless have a significant negative influence on our health, especially if unresolved.
Grief progresses through five stages: denial, rage, bargaining, sadness, and acceptance. To get to the acceptance stage, where a person accepts the loss they’ve endured, it’s crucial to give the emotions they’re experiencing the right amount of time to run their course. The best way to deal with these emotions is through therapy.
Here are some coping strategies for adults experiencing grief and loss.
Practicing mindfulness is about trying to reach a state of mind where you can become fully present by letting go of all distractions. It is known to reduce stress levels, minimize overthinking, reduce negative thoughts, and improve wellbeing.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT is the most common form of therapy wherein clients are encouraged to both recognize and understand their thought patterns in the hope of developing a new perspective and putting these changes into practice.
This type of therapy intends to help adults going through grief and do it in a healthy manner. The therapist also helps clients focus on understanding their emotions and ultimately find a way to move forward.
Adults are not the only ones who experience grief. Children are also vulnerable to mental health issues due to unaddressed grief or loss.
Here are some therapies for children.
Art therapy is a recommended form of treatment for children as it encourages creative expression to help them deal with their issues. The therapist guides the children to create art in order to gain insight and develop coping mechanisms.
The very goal of this therapy is to find out and understand the issues of the child that may be influencing their behavior. This is an effective way to help them recognize any inner conflict the child may have.
This type of therapy uses playtime as a way for the therapist to observe the child in order to gain insight into problems or issues they may be facing. Play therapy is known to expose the child’s unspoken emotions and concerns they may not be comfortable enough to express to their parents.
Working through grief takes time, but the above strategies make it easier to help one cope over time.
Ackerman, C. (2018, April 25). Grief Counseling: Therapy Techniques for Children and Hospice Care. PositivePsychology.com. https://positivepsychology.com/grief-counseling/
11 Types of Therapy for Kids. (n.d.). Verywell Family. https://www.verywellfamily.com/understanding-the-major-types-of-therapy-used-with-kids-5206700
HelpGuide. (2019, January 7). HelpGuide.org. HelpGuide.org. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/grief/coping-with-grief-and-loss.htm
American Psychological Association. (2020, January 1). Grief: Coping with the loss of your loved one. Apa.org. https://www.apa.org/topics/families/grief
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