Support for Grief, Loss, and Heartbreak

Grief Counseling

Orange County and San Diego

Grief after Loss

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. 

People may also experience grief and mourning following a breakup in a romantic relationship. In fact, going through a breakup can be one of the most traumatic events to go through—someone you were so intimately connected to is now gone. Divorce often leads to significant grief, as you may be grieving the loss of a spouse, as well as a change in dynamic to your family system and your life as a whole. 

Throughout our lives we can also experience changes that are difficult to cope with. Although less recognized, some other instances that can cause a feeling of grief include:

  • Ending of a 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 physical symptoms of grief: 

  • Issues with sleep/insomnia

  • Changes in appetite 

  • Nausea 

  • Chronic pain or tension 

  • Weight gain or loss 

  • Fatigue

Some common emotional symptoms of grief: 

  • Profound sadness 

  • Shock

  • Anger

  • Despair

  • Guilt/Regret

  • Hopelessness 

  • Emptiness 

  • Confusion

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 in Children & Teens ​

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.

Some Benefits of Grief Counseling

  • Better understanding of your emotions

  • New awarenesses of how pain is related to anger, anxiety, depression, and self-worth

  • Improved sleep

  • Improvements to physical health such as less fatigue, nausea, body pain, etc.

  • Learn ways to cherish what you lost while also learning to let go

  • Understanding and recognizing your own inner strength 

  • Find greater acceptance around the loss and ultimately more peace

Grief counseling

We all will sustain some loss in our lives. It’s an unavoidable part of being human. We seek connections, and sometimes those connections are broken—by death, divorce, or other changes. But this does not mean our lives end here—we must go on to continue to love and be vulnerable to loss again. 

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. 

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. 

My Approach to Grief Counseling

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. 

Interested? Let's Connect. 

Whether you experienced grief due to death, miscarriage, job loss, health issue, divorce, or a breakup, it can be extremely difficult to deal with grief on your own. I am here to help you through this difficult time. Grief counseling is available in Orange County, San Diego, or online via teletherapy.

 
 
 
 

Grief & Loss Articles

 

Newport Beach | Orange County, CA

180 Newport Center Drive Suite 168, Newport Beach, CA 92660

Encinitas | North County, San Diego, CA

169 Saxony Road Suite 111, Encinitas, CA 92024

 

© 2019 All Rights Reserved | Dr. Meagan Stanley PSY 30880

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