Understanding Grief and Loss for Adults, Families and Children

Loss and grief are two normal and natural parts of life. We cannot know love without knowing loss.

One constant in our lives is change; and that change can occur within a valued relationship. This can take on the form of grief.

Grief can manifest itself when a valued relationship changes significantly. For many, maybe even you, talking openly and honestly about your experiences is not something that comes easily. Without having outlets to speak about one’s loss and grief, feelings of chaos can begin to develop; it is not until we name and vocalize the experience that a sense of control emerges.

The 3 Types of Grieving

The act of grieving itself can be complex as there are many different nuances, which are influenced by a variety of factors such as: religion, spirituality, culture, and dominant discourses that may be different for men and women. This is often referred to as normal grief.

When traumatic reactions, preoccupations with the loss event, issues of isolation, self-blame, and persistent distress are often associated with complicated grief.

Finally, disenfranchised grief (hidden grief) refers to grief that goes unacknowledged or unvalidated by social norms. This kind of grief is often minimized or not understood by others, which makes it particularly hard to process and work through.

Examples of events leading to disenfranchised grief are the death of a friend, the loss of a pet, a trauma in the family, or the loss of a home or place of residence. This is particularly notable in the case of children who generally have little or no control in such situations. Their grief may not be noticed or understood by caregivers. Disenfranchised grief can also be a result of an aborted/miscarried pregnancy, a parent’s loss of a child to adoption, a child’s loss of their birth parent to adoption, or the death of a loved one due to a socially unacceptable cause such as suicide.

It is important to remember that grief and loss are experienced and exhibited differently by children and adults. Further adding to the individualized processing of grief is the variety of events that weave in and out of our lives. Events such as:

  • Perinatal Attachment and Loss;
  • Loss of Caregiver or Idealized child;
  • Loss of Child / Adolescent’s health;
  • Loss of Health (Chronic and Life-Threating Illnesses)
  • Loss of Relationship, Self-esteem or Identity;
  • Death;
  • Divorce, separation, relationship break-up;
  • Loss of Employment / loss of financial security;

How to move Beyond Grief and Loss

My role as a Counsellor to you as someone who is experiencing loss, grief or separation is to you support in learning about your relationship with grief, to explore the meaning of your loss, to explore your life after the loss, to understand your response to grief and its process, and to reflect on stories of loss and resilience of the lost while embarking on a life.

Let’s talk. I would love to support you.

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