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Archive for the ‘Grief’ Category

Grief Takes No Holidays

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013 by Dr. Ilona L. Tobin

For those experiencing sorrow, whether through death, separation, divorce, illness, job loss or relocation, the glittering commercialism and unrelenting cheer of the holiday season can be stressful.

Facing family celebrations with an empty chair at the table can make unbearable grief so much worse, says Karen Silbert, MD, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, who suffered the loss of her five-monthold daughter.

Many people believe that anyone who has experienced great loss should be “over it” in six months or so. If only that were true. Emotions of the bereaved are raw and heal in their own time.

It can be difficult for those who are grieving to cope in social situations during the holidays, when tears would be out of place, Silbert says. At holiday time, many who are dealing with loss are often caught in a dilemma between the need to grieve and the pressure to “get into the spirit” of the season.

But holidays can stimulate memories and a renewed wave of pain, which feels even more pronounced. And it’s not only holidays that may trigger deep feelings of new or renewed grief. Birthdays, anniversaries

and other special occasions present a challenge for many, even after a number of years have passed.

While the experience of grief may ebb and flow, we should not expect it to altogether disappear, say grief counselors and experts. While it’s normal to hurt during the holidays. it’s also possible for the human heart to hope and heal.

Tending Grief

Here are some suggestions from grief expert Dr. Judith Johnson, author, educator, life coach and interfaith minister, to help the bereaved maintain inner balance during the holidays.

1. Reach out. Contact friends, family, support agencies, and anyone who can give you comfort during this difficult time.

2. However, be deeply honest about what you need. Honor what you need to do and not do through the holidays or other significant occasions. Be patient, kind and compassionate with yourself about what is true for you.

3. Allow all your feelings. Grief expresses in many ways. Give yourself permission to feel lethargic, grumpy or out of sorts. Stay focused on what is happening inside you and tend to yourself as you would anyone else you love deeply.

4. Anticipate and plan ahead. “Don’t wait for others to make plans for you that may or may not have anything at all to do with what you really need,” Dr. Johnson said. “Face your truth and communicate what you need.”

5. Make room for your grief or sadness. “Grief is a very private matter and the holidays have a way of magnifying it,” Dr. Johnson counsels. “Welcome your grief. Your sadness and tears are expressions of the healing process.” Be open to your grief and trust that it is healing.

Many people believe that anyone who has experienced great loss should be “over it” in six months or so. If only that were true. Emotions of the bereaved are raw and heal in their own time.

It can be difficult for those who are grieving to cope in social situations during the holidays, when tears would be out of place, Silbert says. At holiday time, many who are dealing with loss are often caught in a dilemma between the need to grieve and the pressure to “get into the spirit” of the season.

But holidays can stimulate memories and a renewed wave of pain, which feels even more pronounced. And it’s not only holidays that may trigger deep feelings of new or renewed grief. Birthdays, anniversaries

and other special occasions present a challenge for many, even after a number of years have passed.

While the experience of grief may ebb and flow, we should not expect it to altogether disappear, say grief counselors and experts. While it’s normal to hurt during the holidays. it’s also possible for the human heart to hope and heal.

Tending Grief

Here are some suggestions from grief expert Dr. Judith Johnson, author, educator, life coach and interfaith minister, to help the bereaved maintain inner balance during the holidays.

1. Reach out. Contact friends, family, support agencies, and anyone who can give you comfort during this difficult time.

2. However, be deeply honest about what you need. Honor what you need to do and not do through the holidays or other significant occasions. Be patient, kind and compassionate with yourself about what is true for you.

3. Allow all your feelings. Grief expresses in many ways. Give yourself permission to feel lethargic, grumpy or out of sorts. Stay focused on what is happening inside you and tend to yourself as you would anyone else you love deeply.

4. Anticipate and plan ahead. “Don’t wait for others to make plans for you that may or may not have anything at all to do with what you really need,” Dr. Johnson said. “Face your truth and communicate what you need.”

5. Make room for your grief or sadness. “Grief is a very private matter and the holidays have a way of magnifying it,” Dr. Johnson counsels. “Welcome your grief. Your sadness and tears are expressions of the healing process.” Be open to your grief and trust that it is healing.

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Ilona Tobin has been a psychologist and a marriage and family therapist for more than 25 years in Birmingham, Michigan. For more information, please visit her listing on the Therapist Directory.

Helping Teens Deal with Grief

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011 by Margaret Conry, MFT

Teens experience grief differently than a child or adults. Although an adolescent may understand death, in contrast to adults, he/she may have less ability to cope because of intense, emotional responses. They often feel overwhelmed by their emotions, depressed, angry, and fearful of the future.

There is also an increase in  suicides among teenagers to-day and they may not know how to cope with the death of their own peers. They may see suicide as a way to cope with their own problems and They needs someone to model a healthy reaction and to explain that suicide is not a  solution as there is always another way to solve a problem. (more…)

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Margaret Conry, MFT is a therapist in private practice in San Ramon, California. For more information, please visit his listing on the Therapist Directory.

We Don’t Need To ‘Keep Fear Alive’

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 by Rick Hanson, Ph.D.

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert had dueling rallies in DC in October, 2010. Stewart’s was “Rally to Restore Sanity” and Colbert’s was “March to Keep Fear Alive!

Obviously, Colbert is a great satirist who was poking fun, since we sure don’t need a rally to keep fear alive. Alarming messages are all around us, like the news about global warming or the “Threat Level Orange” announcements every few minutes in the airport.

Some of those messages are true and worth heeding. For example, dumping carbon into the atmosphere must inevitably make the planet hotter; it’s basic physics.

But others are wildly exaggerated: the actual odds of a bad event on your airplane flight are “Threat Level Chartreuse” — a bucket of green paint with a drop of yellow.

How do we tell the difference between real threats and bogus ones? (more…)

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Dr. Hanson is a neuropsychologist in San Rafael, California. His practice includes adults, couples, families, and children, as well as psychological assessments of children and adults related to temperament, school performance, and educational and vocational planning. For more information, please visit his listing on the Therapist Directory

Living With Grief: How to Survive a Significant Loss

Friday, March 18th, 2011 by Dr. Ilona L. Tobin

One of the hardest things we’ll ever experience is the loss of someone—or something—dear to us. Grieving is a normal and natural response to this loss. While death is one of the most common losses, grief also comes with other big and small life changes, such as a serious illness, the end of a relationship, the loss of a job, relocating to an unfamiliar city, or other lifestyle changes.

Even if you aren’t currently grieving, it can be beneficial to think about the grief process. At its core, grief is a part of the experience of being alive…and human. And while grief isn’t pleasant, it can give us insight, compassion and strength that we wouldn’t otherwise have found.

Here are some ways to access those greater qualities, survive a significant loss or help someone experiencing grief.
(more…)

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Ilona Tobin has been a psychologist and a marriage and family therapist for more than 25 years in Birmingham, Michigan. For more information, please visit her listing on the Therapist Directory.

The Thief

Monday, May 18th, 2009 by Ruth Gordon, LCSW

A thief arrived on our doorstep and breached the protective bubble that enclosed our family. The thief’s name was Death by Cancer. The thief stole Stacy Leigh Gordon, age 45. from our arms and whisked her to another realm, one which we will only be able to enter at some undetermined time in the future.

Stacy Leigh Gordon was a wife, mother, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, attorney and journalist. She was really something quite special.

While she was not my biological child, she was a second daughter in my heart. At the end of her life, when she was still battling, but becoming weaker every day, she called me “mommy” and liked to snuggle next to me in her hospital bed. What a privilege that was.

(more…)

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Ruth Gordon is licensed clinical social worker in both Massachusetts and Florida. For more information, please visit her listing on the Therapist Directory. This article may not be reprinted, reproduced, or retransmitted in whole or in part without the express written consent of the author.