Grief and bereavement
Posted by dkwinter

What do people grieve?

  • Death
  • Dying
  • Family member dying
  • Friend dying
  • Pet dying
  • Separation and divorce
  • Dementia
  • Loss of job
  • Loss of place/identity
  • Loss of future plan
  • Diagnosis of self, family member, child


What is normal grief (common reactions)?

  • Shock (apathy, numbness, blankness, despair, lack of emotion/reaction)
  • Disbelief or incredulity
  • Anger
  • Sadness, helplessness, hopelessness, tears
  • Guilt and shame
  • Behavioural disorganization
    • Restlessness
    • Tension
    • Irritability
    • Loss of interest in typical activities
    • Loss of interest in people one cares for
    • Impairment of work performance
    • Pining
    • Preoccupation with thoughts of the loss to the exclusion of other more typical thoughts
  • Sense of continued presence of the deceased
    • Inability to form new attachments
  • Somatic complaints
    • Headaches
    • Digestive complaints
    • Muscle aches and pains


The Kübler-Ross 5 stages of grief and loss:


Tasks of grief

  • Acknowledge the loss
    • Emotionally and intellectually
  • Experience the pain of the loss
  • Have common reactions
  • Process positive AND negative feelings about the lost object/person
  • Adjust to the new environment
  • Assume tasks person used to do
  • Memorialization
  • Find a way to keep memories alive (spirit with you) while moving forward


Grief Counselling

  • Assists with the natural, normal, healthy grieving process
  • Accepting the loss
    • Talk about the details of the death and mourning process
    • Help identify and express feelings
  • Problem solve to assist with adjustment to new circumstances (brainstorm options)
  • Encourage continued bond
    • Discourage avoidance, distraction, rebound replacement
  • Provide information about normal grieving
    • Flexibility of time needed
    • Process of ups and downs
    • Anniversaries difficult
  • Provide ongoing support
  • Note productive coping (e.g. deciding to decrease workload while grieving)
  • Note interfering defences (e.g. taking on excessive amounts of work, substance use)
  • Avoid platitudes (e.g. I know how you feel. You're holding up well.)


Grief Therapy

  • Resolves complications in the grief process
  • Those who are "stuck"
  • Traumatic death
  • Conflicted relationships
  • Mental illness or personality disorders
    • Pre-existing or arising from
  • Masked grief
    • Behavioural, psychological, or somatic symptoms