Painful as it is, the journey through grief is a transformative time. Rather than laying the roots of sorrow or bitterness, it can be an opportunity to face long-buried feelings from past losses and to develop a new outlook on life, to begin a new relationship with yourself and those you love.
For the most part, people find their own way, naturally, through the grieving process. But not all loss experiences are created equal, and the following links provide information that can help you evaluate whether your grief situation is unusual or may benefit from therapy:
• Conventional Grief & Loss
• Traumatic Loss and Bereavement
• Complicated or Prolonged Grief and Ambiguous Loss
Working with people in grief, Tamara often finds herself thinking of the giant sequoias of Central California, the world’s largest trees. Also among the planet’s longest-living life forms, giant sequoias require the blaze of a wildfire to reproduce. In order for the oatmeal-sized seeds contained in the tiny cones of these massive trees to germinate, a blazing wildfire must first come through the forest, scorch and blacken the earth and thin out the surrounding vegetation. The intense heat of the fire forces the cone to open and drop its seeds onto this devastated ground. Only then, in these harshest of conditions, is there an opportunity for a new giant sequoia to take root and flourish.
It is a metaphor for grief. In losing someone or something (jobs, relationships, our health) significant, the landscape of life may seem scarred and blackened. It might appear a desolate place from which no good can come. But, in fact, grief provides a rich opportunity to reconsider and reshape important aspects of our lives. Where someone dear, or not-so-dear, has departed, there is a call to re-evaluate priorities and to know ourselves in a new way. It is a time to:
- Recognize and honor the influence people, animals or situaitons have had on our lives
- Process emotions in a healthy, adaptive way to avoid complications down the road, such as the depression and anxiety that often follow in the wake of significant loss
- Heal the wounds of conflictual relationships by finding compassion and forgiveness for ourselves and others
- Explore and expand our ability to accept life as it comes
- Evaluate our philosophical or spiritual beliefs to ensure we are living life fully, without succumbing to painful stories that engender long-term isolation, despair and poor physical health
- Process pain and troubles from previous losses that frequently show up when we lose someone or something else, as can be the case with complicated, prolonged or unresolved grief
- And in the case of traumatic loss, process the troubling aspects of the death and the existential crisis that often follows, ultimately avoiding more troubling mental health concerns such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Tamara Webb, LPC, LMHC, is an experienced, thoughtful counselor with a special talent for helping people navigate the charred landscape of grief. She is an optimistic and dedicated explorer who helps clients explore grief’s opportunities for growth and development, keeping loss from being a meaningless painful event. She teaches skills and encourages an outlook that embraces grief as natural part of life, helping clients transform suffering into possibilities and encounters with death into opportunities for a more fulfilling life.
Five Bodies Counseling
Psychotherapy for the whole being