March 17th, 2014 · the grieving process
The grieving process is one of the most difficult times in life, but it has its own shape and form. Effective counselling or therapy can help us make our way through it.
There are many types of grief, but the deepest and most difficult concern the loss of those we love, who are the key people in our lives.
The Grieving Process: A Normal Human Thing
It’s a normal human thing to grieve, not a pathological state.
In extreme loss, there’s a natural pattern to grief. The human mind-body goes through a process of accepting the reality of the loss, and ultimately, finding a way to retain a healthy connection with the reality of the loved person. The grieving process will often take from 1 to 2 years, and, in certain types of circumstances, up to 5 years
In general, antidepressants are not the best way to deal with grief, for grief is not pathological depression, but a normal part of the human condition. Harvard Medical School Psychiatry Professor Robert Berezin tells us:
Antidepressants should never be prescribed for grief. They inhibit mourning. They numb out feeling and harden the personality.
A very important part of grief therapy can be helping the individual to accept the normalcy of the grieving process.
Whether loss is expected or unexpected, it is still devastating. When a person who has been truly loved, an anchor in our lives, passes, something fundamental happens, right at our center.
Counselling to enable the griever to take in the full impact of the loss – everything that the individual has meant, and still does mean — can be essential. Working with an understanding therapist, who enables the individual to talk frankly and openly about the whole of their grief reaction, without having to worry about the impact of their grief on other loved ones, can be an invaluable, even essential.
Carrying the Loved One
In grief we must begin to work out our relationship to what Jung would call the imago of the departed individual, that part of the person that we carry within us, still, and forever.
What is the meaning of this individual to me? How did he or she have significance in my life? How will I carry his or her memory with me, on my journey? All these questions point to important parts of the grieving process, with which counselling / therapy can help us.
Brian Collinson, Psychotherapist & Jungian Analyst
Oakville, Burlington & Mississauga Ontario
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© 2013 Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)