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What Is The Goal Of Grief Trauma Therapy?

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Grief Trauma Therapy

Grief Trauma Therapy; Grief is something that genuinely no human being can live their lives without experiencing at least once. For most, it’s quite a lot more than once. It’s a crippling, agonizing emotion that can prove indirectly fatal if severe enough and left untreated. Grief, too, has something of an unfair stigma to a point. When someone we love is lost, we’re expected to mourn them on society’s schedule. Cry at home before the funeral, cry at the wake and the funeral. After that, society expects people to move on, stone-faced, and ready to resume life as it was before. It’s easy to point fingers at this, but the truth is, it just happens that way. We all know better, however. Grief isn’t a short-lived, easily-escaped state of being. Grief is a form of trauma and a complex one at that.

Understanding Grief

There’s been a lot said about grief since the very inception of psychology. Many different diagrams exist outlining a shared journey of sorts, through steps of grief, the most common of which is the “five steps” with which most people are familiar. These concepts hold some decent credence in actuality, human nature being human nature, but people are still individually unique enough to make it far more complicated than that.

The real rub with human mental health is that one problem tends to beget other problems, like a wildfire jumping and igniting across the countryside. Trauma is virtually the king of all triggers for serious mental health issues, and grief being a potent form of trauma, it’s not surprising that there are a host of psychological symptoms that grief can bring. Anger management, severe depression, anxiety and panic, suicidal tendencies, and paranoia are just the tip of the iceberg when someone experiences severe, acute grief trauma.

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While the severity of grief can vary from person to person, this severity is more strongly influenced by who was lost and how the loss occurred. Family, spouses, and too close friends evoke a much more powerful form of grief. It’s even worse when this loss is sudden and very tragic in nature. This makes obvious sense, but what’s the purpose of grief? Why do we feel it? How did it aid us in survival?

We don’t have all the answers, of course. We know (or at least think we know) that trauma is essentially a reaction to shock. It’s a severe reaction, and one that, like most of our ancient mental mechanisms, became broken when we achieved intelligence. Trauma symptoms are often the result of withdrawing from the world to prevent a more harmful response (self-harm, harm to others, attracting dangerous attention when vulnerable). The loss of someone important is a tremendous shock to the system, very much like the loss of a limb, a sudden change of living environment.

The world as one knows it does end when a loved one is lost – the world will never be the same without them. This takes much processing to accept, and grief is our way of doing so when it works properly. Unfortunately, for even the healthiest people, these mechanisms often don’t work correctly. Our ability to overthink can cause any of our emotional defense mechanisms to run positively amok and is grief ever one of the easiest ones for this to happen with.

Grief Trauma Therapy

Therapy for grief trauma doesn’t set the goal of you getting over your loss. You never get over a loss; that’s just poor language and unrealistic expectations. You will always miss the people you lose in life, and you will never forget them. Would you honestly want to? If you’re experiencing severe grief right now, you may think so, but not.

Grief trauma therapy focuses on helping you process your loss and come to terms with it in healthy ways. This is achieved first by achieving actual acceptance. This is not “getting over” a loss, but accepting it and being able to face it daily without shutting down. Finding new motivations to carry on is also critical. Rediscovering a purpose and an inspiration for living in a new, slightly less bright world is paramount in healing. Other constructive coping tasks can include memorializing lost loved ones in celebratory ways. Tell their story, preserve their legacy in healthy ways, and always focus on cherishing the time you had, rather than mourning the loss. This may sound cliché, but it’s cliché for a reason. Realizing the right mindset to have isn’t hard; adopting it is. There is no shame in seeking help in achieving this, only shame in doing nothing about it and letting the grief potentially ultimately be the end of you. Edmonton Counselling Services, located in southside Edmonton, provides therapy for grief and trauma.