Grief is our natural healing response to the loss of someone or something that we had loved or when we are faced with extreme change. It is a complex process, not an event, proceeding in stages from initial shock and chaos through adaption on to acceptance and transformation.
THERAPY FOR TRAUMATIC STRESS AND COMPLICATED BEREAVEMENT
People deal with grief and loss in many different ways and have many different accompanying emotions. Some feel angry, some feel terrible sadness, some people feel numb to it and some people feel like they need to take urgent action. Therapy is indicated particularly when the process and resolution of grief and morning is disturbed by some intervening event. For example, the natural process of mourning may be overshadowed by the need to take care of a family or the need to survive. There may also be an internal fear of expressing feelings or a lingering feeling of deep resentment towards the deceased person or the circumstances that had caused the experience.
This complicated grief reaction requires a mind/body approach to help one move through the stages of grief to complete the process of resolution and acceptance. Dr. Paul Standal’s goal in therapy is to help one accept the reality of a loss and to process the pain of the grief. He looks to help his clients adjust to the world without a loved one to find new connections in life, while honoring and recognizing the passing of the loved one. He works with those going through the grieving process on letting the loved on go with love.
Dr. Standal generally uses a supportive, interpersonal approach, which is also quite directive. He also creates strategies that help his clients in the management of the complex and disabling patterns of emotional dis-regulation they experience that accompany deep complicated bereavement and trauma.
For many clients, their pain is held so deeply that to allow it to resolve sometimes requires specialized techniques that can reach these deep levels of pain. Like emotional pain due to trauma, deep grief is held in an altered state of consciousness and to release it requires connecting to it in an altered state of consciousness using techniques that can assess those states.
Dr. Standal finds that the grieving process is hastened by the use of techniques that help his clients clear their memories and past emotional baggage. Additionally, he uses both cognitive behavioral therapy and specialized journaling to help his clients clear their relationships with the traumatizing experience.
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