Grief Therapy is designed to assist a person to adjust to a death or loss. While most of the time it is thought of in terms of loss due to death, we actually grieve all of the losses in our life to some extent. Depending on the individual’s relationship to that from which they have been separated, the process of adjusting to the loss may be more or less difficult.
There are several models of grief that have been developed over the years; Worden’s Tasks of Mourning, the Dual Process Model, and several which are based on Attachment Theory are just a few. In addition to models of grief, there are Models of Anticipatory Grief as well. This is the name used to describe the grieving process one goes through when they know a loss is coming, but has not yet occurred.
Grief Therapy can be offered as individual or group therapy. However, if the loss was traumatic (due to a traumatic or violent event) group therapy works best when all of the participants’ loss is due to the same type of event. (For example Suicide Survivor Support Groups, Homicide Survivor Support Groups, etc.) Also, many folks find that group work is beneficial after they have been involved in individual grief therapy for a period of time.
Adjusting to a loss may take some time. Taking advantage of support which helps one to accept the loss, cope with the pain of the loss, adjust to living life after the loss, and finding a new way to think about or relate to that which was lost can be very helpful.
(Duane has worked in the field of loss and grief for over 20 years. He understands that no one model of grief may be correct for an individual, and that good mental health support may need to draw from several different models. Duane also believes that what a person does to grieve a loss is correct for them, as long as it does not interfere with their ability to live life or their well-being. How they choose to grieve is right for them, and should be supported.)