I focus on trauma and a common element of past trauma is grief. Grief is often accompanied by conflicting emotions of anger, shame, guilt, betrayal, self-blame, relief, and more. Trauma is all about change, change that we couldn’t deal with effectively at the time it occurred, change that still affects us now. We’ve all experienced grief and change.
The only constant in life isn’t death and taxes. It’s change. Nothing ever stays the same. We all go through numerous transitions or changes as we go through our lives. Some of the changes we’ve experienced were relatively easy to deal with. Other changes we’ve experienced were hard and may still cause us pain.
Let’s face it. We’ve all had major changes in our lives. Grief and loss aren’t just about death. We grieve lots of other things – loss of innocence, ends of relationships, job changes, divorce, aging and loss of physical capabilities, etc. Major changes or losses can be traumatic with a host of “symptoms” that may resemble mental illnesses but aren’t.
William Worden came up with perhaps the best way to deal with grief and loss – 4 tasks:
- Learn to accept the reality of the loss
- Learn to work through the pain of grief
- Learn to adjust to an environment in which the person, capability, etc., is missing
- Learn to emotionally relocate the loss and move on with life
None of these tasks are easy. They aren’t stages, as some people have taught. Working through grief and loss is not linear, is not a progressive process, and is not subject to a time frame. Everyone grieves in their own way and in their own time. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, to get over a loss or major change in our lives. There is no right or wrong time frame. And grief is not mental illness.
But there are ways to make the process easier, to learn and grow as a person. I teach 37 ways to work through Worden’s four tasks. They do work and they’ve helped everyone who’s tried them.
There is a process to getting our lives back on track, to work through these four tasks. I’ve helped many people work through a wide array of losses – childhood abuse, suicides, unexpected deaths, as well as guilt and shame, etc. After completing your assessment and treatment plan, and helping you strengthen and learn safety and emotional regulation skills, we’ll get into the actual therapy.
The therapy I use is focused on Worden’s four tasks and there will be homework. Depending on your needs and desires we can do other types of therapy as well. You’ll actually get more out of therapy between sessions, so the homework is important. Therapy generally lasts 10 sessions, but may be less or more, depending on your needs and problems.
Having trouble dealing with changes and losses in your life? Send me an email asking for a free consultation. Include your availability in the coming week and I’ll respond within 24 hours with a day and time that works for both of us.