When we think of grief, our mind often goes to the loss of a loved one, which can trigger immense pain. Whether it is unexpected and sudden or an expected relief from suffering, death can trigger a cascade of overwhelming emotions. These can be complicated, confusing and contradicting, especially in circumstances of traumatic death, suicide or prolonged suffering.
However, grief is not limited to the loss of a person or companion animal. There are also many symbolic losses we need to navigate as we go through life. The loss of a job or a home, the loss of a relationship, friendship or marriage, a child moving away to college, a loss of physical ability through injury or ageing, or having to let go of a dream or hope, are a just a few of the losses we may face.
Therapy can help us to come to terms with loss and adjust to the changes it has left. Part of the grieving process is to allow the reality of the loss to set in and to face our distressing emotions. Part of the grieving process is to construct meaning from the experience and create a new relationship with what has been lost. Therapy can guide us in organizing our thoughts, exploring conflicting and overwhelming feelings at our own pace, and processing our grief and loss fully.