If you are finding yourself on this page, you have likely experienced the loss of someone or something that was immeasurably dear to you. And I would like to offer you my deepest and most heartfelt care.
Grief is a massive life transition that impacts all dimensions of Life: physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and relational. Whether you’re in it for the first time, or the thousandth time, grief is and is always going to be intense, grueling, and deeply painful.
To be clear, no amount of grief counseling or support can make grief manageable: the intensity of grief is not something anyone can control. However, our culture’s avoidant relationship with grief does us no favors when we (all) inevitably find ourselves standing at the gates of profound loss. Because grief is often something that is hidden from awareness in the broader culture, individuals who are going through grief experience greatly exacerbated feelings of disorientation, isolation and loneliness.
While grief can never be made easy or palatable,
with the right kind of support and tools,
it can become more digestible one day at a time,
and you can feel less lost and alone in the process.
How we might support you to move through grief:
Navigate the initial shock.
Feeling frozen, numb, or blindsided; disbelief, confusion, disorientation; shock; feeling nauseous, faint, or completely checked out—all of these are normal responses in the early part of the grief process. This is your brain and body struggling to comprehend a loss that has unmoored you from the solid ground you were previously standing on. Therapy can help normalize these symptoms and offer body-based strategies for moving through them in safe ways.
Learn about the multidimensional nature of grief.
Grief impacts every facet of our being. Normal symptoms range from changes to eating, sleeping, and movement (can be either more or less), profound guilt or shame, intrusive thoughts or dreams, lack of mental clarity trouble concentrating or making decisions, brain fog, depression or anxiety, loss of faith and meaning, and feeling deeply unsafe and uncertain of the future. Grief therapy helps normalize all of these symptoms (and more) and have a safe, trusting place to be held and seen in all facets of the process.
Take care of your body.
Grief is a lot to process for your nervous system. Therapy can be a checkpoint and a support system for making sure you are doing what you can in the realm of the basics—food, sleep, movement, connection—to tend your physical and emotional selves as you move through the process.
Process the emotions of the loss.
Grief is way more than feeling sad. Rage, terror, loneliness, desolation, fear, anger, shame—all of these and more can get stirred up in the process. Grief counseling can support you in naming and validating these emotions, and finding safe ways of expressing them so that they can move through you.
Carrying the pain with others.
Because of the intensity of grief, many folks experience the urge to withdraw from their relationships. This makes sense and is perfectly normal. However, Grief is an energy that is too big to bear within any individual nervous system. A crucial part of grief therapy is supporting you in finding ways of connecting with the others who have been impacted by loss, and in carrying that pain forward together, in ways that feel doable to you.
Accept the reality of the loss.
One of the hardest, most baffling parts of grief is that we are tasked with the paradoxical task of accepting that which is unacceptable. This is a deeply personal process to each person. No one can tell you how, when, or even whether it is right for you to find acceptance. Grief therapy is a space where you are seen and held as you grapple with this contradiction, with all the rage, with the sense of betrayal from God/Life/the Universe, with the loss of basic safety and okay ness that is such a thorny and tender part of the process.
Adjust to an environment without the loss.
When grief moves forward in our psyches, it is because we have lost something that was woven inextricably into the fabric of our lives. We have lost that which was a pillar of our ecosystem, something that we were both giving and receiving a lot of energy into. Part of grief is identifying what was provided to you by that which you lost (a sense of intimacy? Meaning and Purpose? Connection to your past? Companionship? Holding and being held? Trust? Maybe all of the above.) Slowly, and only as you’re ready, we’ll support you in adjusting your life to meet those needs through other channels and resources.
Explore who you are on the other side of loss.
It is impossible to move through grief without changing at the deepest level. Grief is a shattering, and when you put the pieces back together, the mosaic does not look the same as it did before. In grief therapy, we support you in exploring: who are you on the other side of loss? What are your needs, on the other side? What has changed, what has stayed the same?
Rebuild a life worth living.
When you experience profound loss, it is like being taken out of the current of Life. In processing the destruction of grief, you often step out of the process of creation. The tail end of the grief process involves stepping back into the current, gathering the pieces and threads up after the loss and seeing what you want to weave them into. Only when and as you are ready (which could take many months or years), we will support you in asking the question "What does a life worth living look like now?", and in taking the slow and gentle steps toward birthing that life into being.