Loss and Grief Essay
3238 WordsJan 23rd, 201213 Pages
Loss and grief:
Grieving allows us to heal, to remember with love rather than pain.
It is a sorting process.
One by one you let go of things that are gone and you mourn for them.
One by one you take hold of the things that have become a part of who you are and build again.
—Rachael Naomi Remen. MD
In this essay I will outline the main theoretical models relating to loss and grief. I will show how these theories may support individuals within the counselling process.
To demonstrate the above I will draw upon my experience and learning from classroom triadic practice, my counselling placement practice and my personal and professional development to date.
During the process of which I will…show more content…
The major significance of the Kubler-Ross model is that it maps emotional responses of the individual’s journey through the changing landscape of the loss and grieving process. The counsellor can use this model as a guide to help navigate their client through the ‘roller coaster of change’ and the fluctuating emotional terrain of grief.
J. William Worden sets out the 'four tasks of mourning' (Worden 1991).
The four basic dynamic tasks are: • To accept the reality of the loss. • To work through the emotions associated with the loss. • To learn how to cope with practical tasks of living without the support of the deceased. • To find a new place in one’s emotional relationship with the deceased.
These tasks relate to the ideas of denial, anger and grief, learning to cope’ and' relocating the deceased in ones mental and emotional life'. Worden refers to the work of Klass 1996, which challenges the notion of breaking the bond in order to let go of a loved one and form new attachments. Klass suggested a successful process of grief through bereavement was one which created a ‘continuing bond, compatible with other, new and continuing relationships’ (Klass 1996, In Machin. P44. 2011).
Within all these theoretical standpoints, the theme and process of coming to terms with death and relationship could be regarded as the essence of an existential quest; one
Death is inevitable, yet the loss of a close friend or family member always showers us with a range of emotions. One day we might desperately try to avoid the pain, anxiety and feelings of helplessness we feel when a loved one dies. Other days, we feel like life has returned to normal—at least until we realize that our life has changed irrevocably.
Despite the gamut of emotions we feel, grieving for a loved one helps us cope and heal. The intense, heart-breaking anguish indicates that a deep connection has been severed. Without a doubt, grieving is painful. But it is also necessary.
Going forward doesn’t mean forgetting about the loved one who died. Enjoying life again doesn’t imply that the person is no longer missed. Piecing together your shattered emotions doesn’t mean you, somehow, betray a friend or family member. It simply means that your grief has run its course.
While no single pathway through grief exists, people do share common responses.
In 1969, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross introduced what became known as the “five stages of grief,” which represent feelings of those who have faced death and tragedy.Based on her years of working with terminal cancer patients, Kübler-Ross proposed the following pattern of phases many people experience:
- Denial: “This can’t be happening to me.”
- Anger: “Why is this happening? Who is to blame?”
- Bargaining: “Make this not happen, and in return I will ____.”
- Depression: “I’m too sad to do anything.”
- Acceptance: “I’m at peace with what has happened.”
Although these are common responses to loss, there is no structure or timetable for the grieving process. That said, understanding grief and its common symptoms are helpful when grieving. Recognizing the difference between trauma and depression is also beneficial.
Besides understanding how stress can take a toll on us physically, emotionally and spiritually, we need to understand the practical guidelines to ease the process. These include taking care of our bodies, spending time with others and reaching out to the church community.
Finally, there will come a time when someone close to us experiences a significant loss. Knowing how to respond to a grieving friend is a good first step in acting as a reliable companion.
The death of a loved one is a shattering experience with far-reaching implications. As difficult as the loss may be, it is possible to move forward with hope for the future.
Copyright @ 2007 Patricia Johnson. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Next in this Series: Understanding the Grieving Process