Getting Stuck in the Grieving Process

Most of us have had the experience of watching someone we care about grappling with the grieving process. It can become challenging to comfort someone and come up with the perfect thing to say when you understand the depth of this individual’s unhappiness. There are three major therapies that address this situation and for someone who has been grieving for a long time, seeing a therapist or counselor may be the best way to proceed.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a psycho-social intervention that is the most widely used practice for improving mental health. CBT focuses on the development of personal coping strategies that target solving current problems and changing unhelpful patterns in cognitions, e.g. thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes, and behaviors. When we fixate on thoughts about our loved one, we keep them alive in our minds. These ideas shut down the possibility of feeling better and assure us that we do not have to give up the deceased person. For many whose grief seems overwhelming, death signifies an end of life rather than a life change, an intolerable experience rather than one we should work through and manage, and a meaningless event rather than one that is full of meaning. Changing our irrational thoughts to rational thoughts takes the reality of the loss into full awareness.

Exposure Therapy: Sometimes people who are grieving exclude events from the past and thoughts about the future that do not include the person who has died. Exposure therapy exposes the grieving person to all the people and events that make up their lives. It’s important to mark out specific times just for grieving whenever possible. It’s also a good idea to remove reminders of the deceased person so you become able to break the habits that keep you stuck in the grieving process.

Meaning Therapy: The grief process forces us to make sense of the death through our existing understanding and beliefs about death. For example, you may believe that “God’s will” is the reason that the person is gone from your life. We can learn to live with the loss by deepening our understanding of life in its entirety, and realizing that going forward, you will need to stand on your own two feet without the benefit of your loved one’s physical presence.

If someone in your life is grieving, never tell them to ‘snap out of it.’ It takes time and skill, and sometimes the help of a mental health professional, to help them face their loss and learn to find hope for the future. Polchinski Memorials’ compassion and sensitivity is well known throughout the area. We have been in business for decades, so we are able to give you the valuable advice and guidance necessary for making the important decision of choosing the right memorial for your loved one. Please call us for more information at 914-984-4198 or 203-413-1345. You can also email us at info@polchinskimemorials.com.

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