Grief And Loss. What Are Their Causes?
Life presents us with many different kinds of losses—death of a loved one, loss of a relationship, losing or changing jobs, leaving home, or saying goodbye to grown children. Although all losses require our attention, everyone mourns in their unique way and in their own time. Because there is no right way to grieve, I provide a space for you to express your grief in your own way and at your own pace. Without taking time to truly mourn your loss, you can find yourself struggling with depression, anxiety, loneliness, and other symptoms. Grief therapy gives you the opportunity to mourn your losses so that you can once again fully embrace your life.
What Does Grief Feel Like?
Although most people expect pain and sadness in response to loss, you may experience a variety of emotions as part of your grieving process. These emotions and physical sensations may include anger, rejection, guilt, triumph, and relief. You may feel surprised, overwhelmed, or confused by these feelings and worry that they are all-consuming and dominating your life. Or, you may feel numb and unable to register what’s happened. You might wonder why you feel this way and why you can’t get over it. Perhaps you’ve withdrawn socially or lost interest in your usual activities or relationships. Loss can also stir up uncomfortable memories and feelings from earlier losses, making it harder to heal and move forward.
The grieving process is different for everyone. For some, feelings may be strong and immediate; for others, they may be subtler or appear unexpectedly later on. Grieving can last for days, weeks, or even years, depending on the kind of loss you are experiencing. Regardless of the type of your loss, dealing with grief is essential to your wellbeing. Without allowing yourself the time to grieve, these kinds of symptoms may increasingly affect your life. You may later feel inexplicably sad, exhausted, or isolated and disinterested in your life. After a certain time these feelings are not likely to go away on their own. Psychoanalytic therapy for grief can help you face and move through your feelings about losses you have recently experienced, as well as those from the past that may remain incompletely mourned. At a pace that is comfortable for you, you can learn to face what has felt unbearable and begin to find hope and joy in your life.
It’s Common To Feel Isolated When Mourning A Loss
In your day-to-day life, like many people, you may not have time or a safe place to grieve your loss. Our fast-paced society puts a premium on ‘getting over things’ quickly, and the people in your life may not be able to give you the time you may need to express your feelings. You may feel pressured to push through, and fear that your emotions will interrupt your relationships with family, friends, co-workers, or clients. Or, you may feel confused, ashamed, or worried that you’re overreacting to a loss of someone or something you weren’t close to. You may have friends and family you reach out to for help, but feel as though you are burdening them with your feelings.
If this is the case, a psychoanalytic approach can provide you with a safe time and place, outside the stressors of everyday life, where you can find the help you need.
Death Of A Loved One
Grieving a loved one can feel not only deeply sad, but also traumatic. You may feel profoundly lonely if you’ve lost someone who was a major part of your everyday life, especially if a part of you believed he or she would always be there. You may also feel that your sense of security or identity has been shaken. Or, you may feel confused or guilty about feeling joy or liberation—emotions that can also be associated with normal grieving.
If you lost a loved one when you were young, you might not have had the support or resources to fully mourn at the time. You may feel a mix of emotions now that stir up feelings about earlier losses. As old feelings and memories come to the surface, you may feel increasingly confused, lonely, and unsure of what is happening to you, even if you thought the earlier loss was already dealt with. These experiences and feelings are also all part of a normal grieving process
Other Types of Grief And Loss
There are many different types of loss we can experience throughout our lives, including losing your job or home, experiencing an empty nest, ending a relationship, losing something of value to you, and more. Although these losses are not actual deaths, they can have a similar emotional impact. You may feel hopeless and sense that life has lost its meaning. You may be aging and experiencing the loss of your physical or cognitive abilities. Perhaps people your age have started dying, and you’re afraid of illness or death. You may fear future losses and worry that you’ll never be able to find love or meaningful work. Or, you may have a more general sense of grief or loss, such as feeling upset or depressed without knowing why.
Like many people, you might feel ashamed, as if these losses shouldn’t affect you as profoundly as they do. You may find it hard to deal with the losses on your own. But these losses can be just as hard to bear as losing a loved one. All losses need to be recognized and worked through so as not to accumulate over time. Grief therapy can help you recognize and understand the extent and meaning of the loss you are experiencing and receive the help you need.
How Can Psychoanalytic Therapy Help With Grief?
I believe that the grieving process is essential to overall health and wellbeing. During our psychoanalytic sessions, I provide a safe, quiet place where I will help you sort through your thoughts and feelings about your loss, without judgment. I recognize the range of emotions that can occur when dealing with grief. I also know that no two people mourn in the same way. I will work with you with respect for you as a unique person. I will pay attention to your particular circumstances and honor your need to deal with grief in your own way. I will listen carefully to whatever emotions you are experiencing. Psychoanalytic grief therapy involves more than expressing your feelings; it also involves working together to bring insight and understanding to those feelings. It is a process of discovery. Some causes of your grief may be apparent; others may be un-covered through the psychoanalytic work. You may be surprised at how earlier losses may be affecting you now; psychoanalytic work helps you sort out which feelings may be related to the past and which are more clearly related to your present situation.
Going through a grieving process can help you with current losses as well as any future ones. It can help you feel freer and less afraid as you approach life’s difficult emotional times with more acceptance and greater hope for what’s to come.
If you are suffering from a loss of any kind, and would like help to understand and work through your feelings, please call or email me for a free phone consultation.