Our Expert's Insight on Handling Grief and Loss

Our Expert's Insight on Handling Grief and Loss

Grief and loss are tightly intertwined. When you lose someone or something that’s valuable to you, you go through a wrenching emotional experience called grief. You may feel grief when you experience a:

No matter what loss triggered your grief, it’s a powerful emotion that can completely derail your life. In an extreme situation, grief may cause you to ignore your health, neglect your loved ones, or even unleash suicidal feelings.

At The Soho Center for Mental Health Counseling, our caring counselors help you process your loss so that you can begin to adjust to your new reality and move forward. We offer one-on-one counseling at our offices in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York City or through HIPAA-compliant teletherapy. 

Following are a few of our insights into how to manage grief and loss and to find your way forward again.

Allow yourself your full range of feelings.

Everyone around you has experienced loss and grief. No matter what or who you’ve lost, you should feel free to experience all the feelings that the loss evokes. These might include sadness, of course, but also anger.

Sometimes, you or those around you may expect you to react to loss with stoicism. Maybe they (or you) allow you a certain amount of grief, but then advise you to “get over it.”

You don’t need to follow a timeline to “get over” (i.e., process) your grief and move forward. You’re also allowed to grieve over any loss — including a pet, a relationship, or a change in financial status. 

Give yourself space and time

Even in the classic book on grief by Elizabeth Kubler Ross, On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss, she’s clear that you may experience those stages out of order or may not experience all of them. Your grief is unique. 

Grieving takes energy and time. You may feel the need to be alone for a while or to spend time with supportive people, such as friends and family who allow you space to grieve and move through the five stages as you will, such as:

Again, you may not experience all these stages, or they may come in a different order. They’re meant to help you understand that grieving is a process that takes time for both your body and mind to accept.

Talk about your loss

Although talking about your loss can’t rewrite the past or compensate for your loss, sharing your grief may relieve the most debilitating of your emotions. Even if nobody has experienced the same kind of loss that you have, they can sympathize, empathize, and just plain listen.

Look for people, such as a caring counselor and sympathetic friends, who allow you to express your emotions without trying to talk you out of them. Your counselor can help you gradually reframe your loss

Expect, but avoid, people who offer you unhelpful platitudes, such as “time heals” or “there’s a reason for everything.” Though remarks such as these are probably well-intended, they don’t acknowledge that loss can be unfair and senseless.

Write about it

Journaling — especially journaling by hand — helps you process your emotions. You may also be able to express in your journal emotions that  you might be afraid to share with others.

You can dedicate an entire journal (or many volumes) to your loss. 

Write to your departed loved one or to your younger self. The journals may also help you have a physical reminder of how important your lost person, pet, or stage of life is to you.

Get the support you need

Grief is a normal part of adjusting to a profound loss. But prolonged grief can negatively affect every aspect of your health, including your emotional and physical well-being. Humans are social animals. We aren’t meant to deal with our struggles alone.

A counselor gives you the space you need to express your anger, frustration, and helplessness. They also help you move forward and find joy in your life again.

To get the support you need during your time of grief, contact our caring and sensitive team by phone or using our online form. You may be able to choose between in-person grief and loss counseling and teletherapy.

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