Friday, May 15, 2009
Managing Bereavement II
by Maurice Turmel PhD
Bereavement has a definite beginning but no predictable end. How you manage your bereavement recovery will determine how long it takes to regain your former composure. Avoiding, or repressing the feelings of sadness and the need to cry will sabotage your recovery efforts.
A good recovery program for bereavement requires that you face and accept uncomfortable feelings. Following such a plan will shorten the bereavement time period. What we mean here is that a well laid out approach will net results in weeks, or just a few short months. In this day and age, bereavement recovery should never be measured in years.
I instructed my clients to read specified material and journal about their feelings as we proceeded with their bereavement recovery. These assignments were to be completed between meetings because the importance of work done outside the consulting room needed to be emphasized. Clients would complete their homework and report at the next session. Taking responsibility for their feelings grew in proportion to this work and was spurred on by a noticeable diminishment in pain.
My bereavement recovery program came out of these experiences. After hundreds of cases of grief, loss and bereavement, I noticed a particular group of strategies began to emerge as essential to the recovery process. Taking these lessons and adapting them to mythical stories and poetry, along with the more literal instructions, helped drive the lessons home.
Supporting the written word with audio narration puts feeling into the words and helps reinforce many important points for bereavement sufferers. Most good books that aim to help individuals navigate this thorny emotional experience emerge this way. The writer's training and consulting experience helps extract the important themes from the client's experiences and turn them into a recovery program. Adding a poetic flair strengthens the impact of the narration and provides even better results.
Today we know more about grief recovery and bereavement than at any other time in our human evolution. Generations ago mythology served the purpose of guiding individuals through important life lessons by couching them into stories that were passed along verbatim. Every culture had them and every period of our human history reveals their presence. Todays psychology was yesterdays mythology and actually rests on that foundation.
Even in mythology, it becomes clear that a feeling based approach to bereavement recovery is the treatment of choice. With today's understanding of emotional dynamics, defense mechanisms and other survival strategies the point is driven home. A heart-centered and feeling based approach will deliver the best results in the shortest amount of time. The debilitating effects of grieving and bereavement can be turned around in a few short weeks.
Stories, poems, reflections and music selections are designed to put you in touch with your feelings. As each piece is read, listened to and digested, you are ready to start journaling and put those feelings down on paper. This is where grief recovery begins in earnest.
Your heart, your feelings, and your growing self-awareness are the keys to helping you heal your broken heart. You will travel this path with significantly less stress as a result of this detailed approach. No, it's not easy, but it is a journey that can be won. Many have done so using these strategies and so can You!