Defining Grief

We often associate grief with death. However, grief is more far-reaching, debilitating, and misunderstood than any one cause.

Grief is deep sorrow caused by a loss of someone/something we are bonded to.

Below are some expected & unexpected causes of loss that contribute to deep and profound grief:

Loss of Life

When we lose someone we are bonded with in any way, it causes us to experience grief and pain. This may include:

  • Death of a loved one.
  • Death of someone impactful in our lives, which can include those we have not met, such as authors, the President (or other politicians), world leaders, celebrities, or other influential people.
  • Abandonment by a loved one.

Loss of Self

This occurs when we experience a trauma causing us to lose parts of who we are or what makes us, us. This may include:

  • Divorce: we lose our identity as a wife or husband
  • Job Loss: we lose our professional identity that came with our job title
  • Illness: cancer and other illnesses can cause us to lose parts of ourselves physically which impacts our identity
  • Spiritual: changing or losing our spiritual affiliation can impact our spiritual identity

Loss of Safety

When we experience trauma, our safety is violated and our very core is shaken. This violation of our safety triggers a fight or flight response system that stays with us. This may include:

  • Physical Abuse
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Neglect or Abandonment
  • Worldly Violence, such as war
  • Human Rights Neglect, Violence, or Abuse
  • Relationship Abuse, such as infidelity

Loss of Hopes, Dreams, & Aspirations 

We all have dreams when we are little. When things do not go as planned and we lose some of those, especially when due to experiencing a trauma, it is painful. This may include:

  • Inability to have children.
  • Not becoming what we expected of ourselves professionally.
  • Not finding the partner we expected to.
  • Not being able to attend the school we hoped to, or be the student we expected ourselves to be.
  • Not being the athlete or reaching the level of play we hoped to.

Grief and Trauma

A trauma is a loss, whether a real loss or a threatened one.  We experience a loss when we are deprived of or have to go without something that we have had and valued – some that we needed, wanted, or expected.

When left untreated, grief festers and we may experience it through a wide range of manifestations, including:

  • Chronic Anxiety
  • Tension
  • Fear
  • Nervousness
  • Anger or Resentment
  • Sadness
  • Emptiness
  • Unfulfillment
  • Confusion
  • Shame
  • Numbness, or a Void of Feelings

The experiential techniques used at The Bridge to Recovery are helpful in activating and facilitating grief work by addressing parts of ourselves that may remain hidden from our ordinary awareness.

Complicated Grief

For some people, feelings from trauma and loss can become debilitating and do not improve, even after significant amounts of time have passed.  This is known as complicated grief.  The inability to move forward from loss over time can impact an individual’s overall wellbeing and happiness, sometimes without them even knowing that grief is the culprit.

The Process of Grieving

At The Bridge to Recovery, incorporating grief work into our process is key to helping our clients experience healing and emotional recovery.  In doing so, participants can expect to work through their losses and grief in a number of ways.

Part of that work that occurs at The Bridge to Recovery is identifying losses, identifying needs, understanding and moving through the stages of grief, and working on core issues.

Grief and loss are often so painful that we often try to avoid the pain around it, and find ourselves stuck in the healing process, moving further into complicated grief.

By attending our program, clients report they are able to finally and successfully identify, understand, and heal from their losses and grief, which in turn improves many of other symptomatic behavior patterns.

Stages of Grief

One of the most common and widely accepted theories on grief was developed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, and suggests there are 5 stages of grief:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

Whether you subscribe to the Kübler-Ross theory or one of the other theories on grief, we find it certain to ascertain that without processing any of the above types of grief, we are left in a state of unbalance. Working through grief and finding healing from it is pertinent to restoring emotional balance.

At The Bridge to Recovery, we help clients re-frame the grief process (which plays a tremendous role in trauma, pain or loss) as courageous rather than an embarrassment. This helps the client become free from shame that often accompanies grief.

To learn more about how our program helps with grief, trauma, or other related issues, we invite you to reach out to us to connect with our team.