Loss and Grief
Most people will experience Loss at some point in their lives. Grief is a reaction to any form of loss. Bereavement is a type of grief involving the death of a loved one.
Bereavement and grief encompass a range of feelings from deep sadness to anger. The process of adapting to a significant loss can vary dramatically from one person to another. It often depends on a person’s background, beliefs, and relationship to what was lost.
GRIEVING THOUGHTS AND BEHAVIORS
Grief is not limited to feelings of sadness. It can also involve guilt, yearning, anger, and regret. Emotions are often surprising in their strength or mildness. They can also be confusing. One person may find themselves grieving a painful relationship. Another may mourn a loved one who died from cancer and yet feel relief that the person is no longer suffering.
People in grief can bounce between different thoughts as they make sense of their loss. Thoughts can range from soothing (“She had a good life.”) to troubling (“It wasn’t her time.”). People may assign themselves varying levels of responsibility, from “There was nothing I could have done,” to “It’s all my fault.”
Grieving behaviors also have a wide range. Some people find comfort in sharing their feelings among company. Other people may prefer to be alone with their feelings, engaging in silent activities like exercising or writing.
The different feelings, thoughts, and behaviors people express during grief can be categorized into two main styles: instrumental and intuitive. Most people display a blend of these two styles of grieving:
- Instrumental grieving has a focus primarily on problem-solving tasks. This style involves controlling or minimizing emotional expression.
- Intuitive grieving is based on a heightened emotional experience. This style involves sharing feelings, exploring the lost relationship, and considering mortality.
No one way of grieving is better than any other. Some people are more emotional and dive into their feelings. Others are stoic and may seek distraction from dwelling on an unchangeable fact of living. Every individual has unique needs when coping with loss.
What Grief Counseling Can Help With
Grief counseling can help you identify and express your emotions. If you have lost someone who was an integral part of your life, grief counseling can also help you rebuild your routine and your identity.