The US Census Bureau says there are 2.6 million deaths per year in the US, with an average of 5 grievers per death. According to grief statistics, an estimated 95 people die every day worldwide, and the people 15 to 20 percent are associated with them experiencing complicated grief. Complicated grief seems to have no end and needs a certified therapist and grief therapy techniques.
Every human goes through the pain of losing their loved ones at some point in their life. And no human being can point out who has suffered more of this pain. Suffering happens to everyone, and so does pain, whether less or more.
The intensity of grief is related to the intensity of a person’s love for the person leaving him, but the real issue is not the intensity of suffering but the duration of it. However, sadly, nowhere are we taught how to bear this suffering, stop it from destroying us, and get out of this situation.
But here, a misconception needs to be shattered that only death is the cause of grief. In addition to the death of loved ones, other incidents like losing a job, failing in a career or education, death of a pet, estrangement, financial loss, illness or injury, losing a body part, or even sensitive people losing a favorite thing like a pen or book can cause grief.
And whatever the reason behind the grief, the real question to ponder over is to know how to cope with it. That’s why I’m writing this article to discuss some grief therapies to help such people who are wasting their lives due to grief. I hope that this article will bring them back to life.
What is Grief Therapy?
The grief period varies according to a person’s personality. When we talk about normal or uncomplicated grief, it means that a person is experiencing grief which may be sadness, sorrow, anxiety, guilt, or anger which no longer persists for several months or years. Instead, a person can learn to cope with it, and even within a few days or weeks, he is able to defeat it entirely and begins to live his life in a new way.
On the other hand, severe and complicated grief, according to American Psychological Association, is one in which a person’s grief period spreads from 6 months to 2 years, and the effects of this grief cause a person even get suicidal thoughts.
To cope with it, which is not possible for an individual to do on their own, every suffering person needs therapy. A professional grief therapist approach is helpful enough to fight back against this underlying bloodsucker.
Here are the 9 effective grief therapies capable of helping every suffering person, holding their hands, and guiding them out of this ailment.
Grief Therapy Techniques for Coping Grief
Before starting to think about which technique you are going to choose, the first important thing is to understand and determine your feelings and emotions. Grief feeling and emotions are not the same for everyone. According to Stroebe & Schut, a person may experience the following feelings in grief.
- Feelings of isolation etc
You have to figure out whether you are going through trauma or grief before taking your next step.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
ACT is Acceptance and commitment therapy is an approach therapists use to make the bereaved win over grief. The two therapies, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Traditional Behavior Therapy play a part in it.
The primary aim is to make the sorrower accept all the negative emotions and the bad and annoying situations and try to develop healthy patterns thus a person can live a better life. It helps a person in enhancing their psychological flexibility and making them brave enough to understand and accept any kind of feeling like guilt or sorrow instead of ignoring or running from them.
This technique uses mindfulness to help people accept their loss, especially in complicated grief. According to studies, a bereaved can only fight with grief if he first accepts the loss. And ACT’s biggest and only focus is on this point. It uses several techniques like
- Make people accept negative emotions and feelings
- Try to keep a distance from these emotions and thoughts to understand the situation properly
- Try to focus on the present instead of past memories or fear of future
- Understand your values
- Understand the situation and overcome difficulties to become a better version of yourself.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Do you remember the rule? To accept something, you have to identify it. So, the same rule comes here. To accept the negative patterns, first, you must learn to identify them, which is done through CBT.
It empowers individuals to identify and address negative thoughts and beliefs that can trigger feelings of hopelessness and despair. To illustrate, a person may struggle with thoughts of responsibility and blame for losing a loved one, even when the reality is different. These negative thought patterns can intensify emotions of guilt and shame, hampering the grieving process. By incorporating CBT techniques, individuals can learn to recognize and challenge these negative thoughts and replace them with more balanced and constructive ones. This approach can help them reduce the intensity of grief and sadness, promoting a more positive outlook on life.
Some tools that therapist use while CBT are
- Cognitive Reframing or Restructuring
- Make yourself aware of the negative thought patterns and what causes distortions, and then make changes according to them.
- Targeting Behaviors
- Find and address harmful or unhelpful habits or behaviors and replace them with positive ones.
- Developing a New Narrative
Give a new narrative to your way of thinking, and make yourself aware that you are not wrong; instead, show you a path that helps you change your mindset.
Traumatic Grief Therapy
This grief comes in combination with trauma. When a person experiences both at the same time, not only the pain increases, but it is also difficult to cope with it. That’s why a therapist has to employ traumatic grief therapy. However, most studies join trauma and grief in case of sudden and unexpected death. But it occurs in any situation. The treatments include in this therapy are
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Cognitive processing therapy (CPT)
- Narrative exposure therapy
- Brief eclectic psychotherapy
- Prolonged exposure therapy
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR)
Complicated Grief Therapy
As I already mentioned, complicated grief differs from normal and may be prolonged and disabling. It prevents individuals from moving forward, coping with grief, and resuming their daily activities. Thus, a form of psychotherapy that is specially designed for people who are struggling with persistent and intense symptoms of grief is CGT (Complicated grief therapy).
It is focused and structured and helps the suffering person to find meaning in the loss and try to struggle against it. Mostly in individual or group sessions, the therapists use various techniques or combinations of them, like cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and exposure therapy.
Have you seen a small group of people who are sharing their stories with each other, especially losing something and coping with getting out of their feelings of loss? This is called group therapy. Sitting and meeting with such people who have gone through the same sense of grief as you and successfully recovering from it helps in your healing journey. Such support groups are not only helpful but also safe and full of a loving environment. Your stories and experiences are confidential there, no one can breach the safety, and also you get immense support.
Creating a new routine is another great way to indulge yourself in activities that don’t spare your mind to think about grieving incidents. First, making a routine, implementing it correctly, and checking that you follow it entirely will not allow you to think about anything else. People can also start different hobbies that not only divert their thoughts but also help them do something productive.
Not so famous in urban areas, the Bibliotherapy grief therapy technique is mainly used and recognized among rural communities. One excellent quality of humans is that they can understand and feel others’ emotions. That’s why you have seen many people share their experiences about different incidents, events, and life by writing and video sharing. Not only do they share, but other people love to read such stories to motivate themselves or understand different aspects of life.
Similar things happen while coping with grief; reading stories from people who had previously suffered from significant losses and defeating the grief stress is motivating. A person can get emotional strength, a positive attitude, hope for something good, empathy, and support from such stories, which play a crucial role in their healing journeys.
Art is Helpful
Art is something that helps many people; though people think that writing is the best way to express your feelings and make other people read your emotions and feelings and understand them, art has a more profound effect.
Drawing, painting, coloring, and sculpturing help people cope with grief, especially children and adults. Or anything that a person likes can do in the me-time. It really helps people to set back their grief thoughts.
Remembering things is also helpful. Coping with grief doesn’t mean you say permanent bye to your thoughts or the incident that happened in your past like the death of some loved one. But creating a ritual technique helps you channel this sorrow in some dedicated activity. Thus, you can remember and reflect upon the incident at a particular time instead of thinking and feeling sad throughout the day. There are various ways to do it, like visiting graves, praying for them, sitting in tranquility to think about it, going for a walk, etc.
Don’t think that only one technique is helpful enough to cope with the grief. As grief occurs in waves, as you smile in one moment and feel sad for some sad thought in the other, you have to use different techniques to defeat it. So, all these techniques are best to utilize, and your grief therapist will use them according to your needs and their effectiveness.
Falling into grief is normal, and everyone in their once goes into this phase; the important thing is understanding grief and successfully coping with it. In simple grief, people win with their own help, but in complicated grief, they need a therapist who can help them through various grief therapy techniques to get them out of the pain and suffering so they can return to their lives.