Loss is an inevitable part of life and spans all areas of life including biological, situational and relational. Yet the loss of a loved one, friend or even an acquaintance can be most jarring. Whether you have experienced it yourself our have witnessed others, loss changes us forever.
When a human being dies, the impact of the loss on the surviving relative or friend varies depending on many factors: the type of relationship a person had with the deceased (close, distant, conflicted); the type of loss (natural causes, sudden, violent); and the emotional and psychological status of the survivor at the time of the loss.
Loss triggers a psychological and emotional response called grief which is comprised of a myriad of emotions such as shock, denial, anger, guilt, sadness and relief. With time and an adequate support network, many people can resolve grief on their own. This is noted when they are able to reach a place of acceptance of the loss and form a new type of relationship with the memory of the deceased in which they are able to carry on perhaps with a new daily routine and/or set of life goals. This does not mean that the person has forgotten about the deceased but rather that they reached a place of feeling, “I am now able to move on with my life while holding the memory of the deceased rather than have the memory of the deceased block me from moving on.”
Depending on the factors previously mentioned, a grieving person should begin to experience some improvement within a period of three to six months after the loss in which the painful and emotional responses have lessened somewhat in intensity and frequency. If the grieving person becomes increasingly depressed, feels excessively guilty and his/her life has seemed to come to a halt after the loss, it is time to seek immediate professional support. If you have lost someone and are in need of support, you need not wait for symptoms to worsen until you talk with a therapist, seek help as soon as possible.
Therapists at NYC Therapy Group believe that supporting the grieving person requires joining him/her in a journey of honest exploration and understanding of the nature of the relationship which the grieving person has had with the deceased individual. Such exploration may include areas of the relationship which have been conflicted, contemptuous and difficult to fully process while the deceased was alive. It is only through this route that the loss can be processed, and for a sense closure to be reached to allow acceptance of the loss to register. We want to support you with grieving in a healthy way which keeps in mind the loss, but also supports the possibility of growth and exploration of future life goals. Loss is a very difficult process, but also a huge opportunity for re-evaluating life goals and making decisions which might have seemed very difficult to make in the past.