It is safe to say that grief will be experiences by every person at some point in their lives. Although grief is integral and unavoidable as we move from birth to death, it is one experience that causes some people to struggle considerably. A common romantic notion is that ‘grief is the price we pay for love’. If we lose someone or something we have cared for deeply, we respond by grieving that loss.
A lot has been written about the grieving process. The Kuebler-Ross model, also known as the grief cycle, is probably the best known description of the grieving process. Dr. Kuebler-Ross’ model offers 5 stages of grief that needs to be traversed for grief to be resolved. However, grieving does not always, or better hardly, follow a clean model of stages. Kuebler-Ross has already pointed out that grieving is a very individual process. People may wander back and forth in the grief cycle, repeat stages over and over again, and may get stuck at some point. The 5 stages are:
Although loss is a normal part of life for everyone people are rarely prepared to deal with it on their own. One characteristic of human societies is that people come together and seek closeness with others in the face of traumatic experiences. Emotional attachment to supportive others is seen by many as the most important protection against feelings of helplessness and meaninglessness. Emotional attachment is probably the primary protection against feelings of helplessness and meaninglessness. Emotional attachment is essential for adults to make meaning out of their existence.
When a person is faced with a significant loss his/her world has lost all its familiar reference points and the future is an unclear, unfamiliar, and frightening nothingness. Without being able to control one’s emotional and physical states, the person is overwhelmed with intense and unsettling emotions that often follow each other in quick succession. In contrast, others might not feel anything and remain in a state of numbness.
Losing someone or something you have cared about deeply is a huge blow to your SELF-system. You might as well look at it as a SELF-crisis. At a time like that it is of utmost importance that you reduce the stress by making sure your physical and emotional energy does not get depleted. Looking after your physical and emotional well-being in times of grief and sorrow is one of the most important and useful steps you can take to help yourself. You can look after your emotional health by finding ways to express your feelings.
The normal expectation of the grieving process is that after a while grief is no longer all-consuming and the person is creating a new life without the person or something that has been lost. That doesn’t mean that the sadness about the loss is going away completely. Whenever we are reminded of the loss, we will feel grief about the loss. However, this feeling is expected not to take over a person’s life.
A recent research has caught my attention, because it reflects experiences that I have made in my clinical practice many, many times about the discrimination clients experience when they need medical care. The University of Leister was involved in a research programme that investigated the quality of care. They found out that
University of Leicester Department of Cancer Studies and Molecular
Medicine, warns that medical care delivered across most branches of
medicine to those with a mental health or substance abuse diagnosis is
of inferior quality to the usual standard of care. This important
systematic review showed widespread inequalities of care in those with
mental health problems.
If this is your experience as well, how about sending a note/email/letter to your health ombudsman or even Minister of Health with the link of this research attached?
People With Mental Health Problems Receive Inadequate Medical Care, Study Suggests
In the context of client work the reflective practitioner has to ask him/herself continuously: “Who is the person behind the professional label and what does he/she bring to the table”? Such self-reflections are necessary to assure that practitioners do not get caught up in their own past experiences when approaching those they are working with.
To do so practitioners have to thoroughly question what their contribution to a certain incident is. This ability to step back and into the ‘observer’ position is also known as becoming the observing ego. It allows practitioners to closely examine the interactions between themselves and the client. How are your affective, behavioural, and cognitive experiences contributing to a problem situation?
ScienceDaily (2009-05-06) — Conscientiousness is a good thing in a mate, researchers report, not just because it's easier to live with someone who washes the dishes without being asked, but also because having a conscientious partner may actually be good for one's health. Their study, of adults over age 50, also found that women, but not men, get an added health benefit when paired with someone who is conscientious and neurotic.
It's a rainy Saturday in Auckland.I am sitting at the computer, someone gives a very skillful rendition of a piece by Schubert on the radio, and my coffee is freshly brewed. I love this kind of day. It excuses me from garden work and invites me to play around on the net. Because I want to discuss therapy this month, I am snooping around the net a bit. First thing I comes across is a blogpost at 'Before you take that Pill about a group of psychologists/psychiatrists applying to the DSM-IV committee to get the diagnosis of DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) removed from the next edition. That gets my juices flowing as you might gather from my comment on that blog.