Friday, May 15, 2009
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!
Monday, May 11, 2009
Working through your grief recovery is a fairly straightforward process once you understand the process involved. There are specific actions you can take to counteract the physical and emotional upheaval you are experiencing as a result of your losing a loved one. A variety of grief recovery methods are available and worthy of consideration.
Shock and disorientation are the first experiences we encounter upon hearing about the death of a loved one. This is the way our body and mind typically react to news of a personal tragedy. We find it difficult at first to absorb and accept the reality of this tragic news.
A sense of disorganization may persist until the reality of this tragic situation sinks in. We proceed in a dreamlike state through the funeral arrangements, the influx of family and friends, and the inevitable post burial let down. Our feelings and emotions are kept at bay until we complete these practical necessities.
Grief recovery begins after the family has left and we've made significant headway with our acceptance of the loss. Anxiety, depression and similar raw emotions that we previously contained are now allowed to surface. Once we are alone with our thoughts, feelings and reactions our grief recovery looms as a necessity.
Thoughts and feelings associated with losing a loved one make their way into awareness and begin pressing for attention. If we have some experience dealing with feelings, then the experience we are being exposed to may be easier to navigate. If this is our first tragedy then our grief recovery will be complicated by the confusion and disorientation that struck us at first and is now laden with these powerful emotions.
Medical help is a good option for our grief recovery in the short term. The effects of sleep deprivation, overwhelming anxiety or deep depression can be mitigated by physician prescribed medications. Your mind, body and emotions have received a severe shock and will benefit from this intervention and help you settle down.
Over the long term, additional grief recovery options worth considering may include joing a support group, seeing a therapist and acquiring helpful books and audio resources. If you feel strong enough in the face of this tragedy then a good book resource may be all that is required.
Books and audio resources usually include a description of the grieving process and an outline of the stages you are likely to encounter. The better resources provide a step by step program for dealing with your emotions which always reveal the strongest effects due to a recent loss. A grief recovery program that focuses on your emotions and feelings will deliver the greatest benefit in the shortest amount of time.
Grieving individuals often appreciate poetry and music as an accompaniment to their grieving process and healing measures. A good grief recovery resource will address all of these dimensions while helping you focus on your feelings and emotions. With the right tools and your determination to heal your grief recovery can proceed in short order, by which we mean weeks, or a few short months - but not years.