Grief & Loss Counseling

Grief is complex and touches all aspects of the human experience—emotional, physical, behavioral, social, cultural and spiritual. It is important not to judge yourself if are going through any of these scenarios—they are all uniquely painful in their own way. Due to this complexity, how one experiences and works through bereavement is entirely individual. You may cry, or you may not. Or you may feel none of these emotions, but instead notice that you can no longer get things done how you used to. Every experience is distinctive and varies from person to person.  

Grief

Symptoms

Grief Counseling

My Approach

Grief or bereavement is a deep and intense feeling of sadness, sorrow, and pain felt after experiencing the loss of someone you have a bond or attachment with. Most often, bereavement is related to someone you love passing away. Whether you lose a partner, family member, or friend, the pain felt after a death is profound. It can make us question our own decisions, even existence, and cause unimaginable suffering. 

 

Throughout our lives we all will experience loss and changes that are difficult to cope with. Aside from losing a loved one, other circumstances that can cause a feeling of grief include:

  • Divorce

  • Ending of a relationship or friendship 

  • Loss of a job

  • Challenging life transition 

  • Deterioration of health

  • Unfulfilled life aspirations

  • Loss of job or financial stability

  • Death of pet

  • Miscarriage

Some common emotional symptoms of grief: 

  • Profound sadness 

  • Shock

  • Anger

  • Despair

  • Guilt/Regret

  • Hopelessness 

  • Emptiness 

  • Confusion

Some common physical symptoms of grief: 

  • Issues with sleep/insomnia

  • Changes in appetite 

  • Nausea 

  • Chronic pain or tension 

  • Weight gain or loss 

  • Fatigue

Grief in children and teens can be particularly devastating, as they may be losing something they loved for the first time. Beyond that, losing a parent or sibling at a young age is often traumatic and will stay with a child throughout their entire life. After loss, special events such as birthdays and holidays will be particularly challenging. Children and especially teens may feel like no one understands what they are going through, however, it is still vitally important to provide them with stability within a safe and nurturing experience as they process grief and learn to move through heartache.

One common question in grief counseling is: how long will these feelings last? Many personal and situational factors contribute to how prolonged the grieving process may be. Some these include:

  1. How close/how long you knew the person you have lost

  2. Your relationship with that person at the time of separation

  3. How much time you had to prepare yourself for the loss

  4. If the loss was expected or unexpected 

  5. How much the loss impacts you on a daily basis and/or changes your routine, ability to do basic activities, etc. 

 

There is no “normal” way to grieve or a specific timeframe and part of grief counseling is to validate your experience, whatever that looks like for you. If you are still searching for peace and acceptance in the grieving process, grief counseling may be one way to help you with the healing process. 

Therapy for grief helps you with healing and part of this process involves letting go. At face value, this may seem like the goal is to move on by forgetting the connection you once had. But this is not the goal. During therapy we will acknowledge the full spectrum of your feelings, which likely includes positive as well as negative memories, experiences, and emotions. Finding places of acceptance and peace is the objective, more than pushing any of these emotions away. In grief counseling, I use a variety of different approaches to meet the needs of the individual. One modality I find to be particularly helpful in therapy for grief is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). This type of grief counseling helps individuals become more open, accepting, and non-reactive to painful, unpleasant, or uncomfortable parts of life. This ultimately helps you better understand and accept what you have gone through, find peace in the mourning process, and learn how to create a new and meaningful life. 

Healing from grief can be a very challenging process, one that takes courage and strength. Some days you may feel strong, and others not so much. It can also often feel like a lonely process, and you may feel like no one understands what you are going through. I have worked with many individuals who feel just as you do, and I can assure you that you can heal.

In my Orange County and San Diego offices, it is my pleasure to provide care and support as you heal and grow through the pain of loss. I take a holistic approach, one that involves taking into consideration your unique experiences and allowing you to heal and grow in the way that feels most right for you. It may or may not exploring your spirituality, cultural identity, relationship with the person you lost, or exploring you relationship with yourself in the hope of finding more peace and acceptance for what you've been through.