Whenever we lose someone close, it is natural to have a period where we experience symptoms of grief. The loss may be due to death, the ending of a relationship, divorce, or the loss of a relationship we never were able to experience (such as issues related to adoption or abortion). Grief issues also occur with the diagnosis of a terminal illness in a loved one or in oneself. We call this anticipatory grief. Other types of grief include the loss of a pet, the loss of a job, losses that occur through disaster or financial bankruptcy, loss associated with physical and mental disabilities, and loss that is symptomatic of certain types of childhood trauma such as having had an alcoholic parent or having one's innocence stolen through childhood sexual abuse.
Each person grieves differently and while some people may seem to emotionally flood for months after the loss, others may appear to move through grief quickly and effortlessly. Sometimes, possibly due to societal expectations that we "get over it", clients will think they've processed their grief when actually they are stuffing their emotions and have taken on other symptoms as maladaptive coping tools (i.e. increased substance abuse, eating disorders, relationship conflicts, etc.) that they may hide from others or from themselves.
Grief and loss can cause symptoms similar to depression and may interfere in one's sleeping and eating habits, may cause short-term memory and concentration problems, and may interfere with energy levels and productivity. There is no law that says a person must deal with grief in a specified amount of time. Yet, many times, clients feel they are taking too long and often they are even told that. It is difficult for people to know the right things to say to someone who is experiencing grief and often well-meaning friends and associates can actually make the feelings worse by their misguided attempts to be helpful.
At Veritas Counseling Center, the therapist works with both adolescents and adults helping them to develop coping skills to deal effectively with their grief as well as offering supportive guidance through the grieving process. Depending on the individual circumstances, counseling may include individual, couples', family, or group sessions with appropriate referrals to support groups and other resources. Since grieving is unique for each person, a gentle approach to healing is encouraged for each client.
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