Grief & Bereavement Therapy

Rising Cairn, by Celeste Roberge  // Also has been called The Weight of Grief

Rising Cairn, by Celeste Roberge // Also has been called The Weight of Grief

A field of cairn monuments at Isle of Skye, Scotland // © Chelsie Lloyd, 2016

Grief never ends, but it changes.
It's a passage, not a place to stay.
Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith.
It is the price of love.

➺Losing beloved people who are important to you can feel like you’ve been punched in the gut, unable to catch your breath or anticipate what’s next. You may feel foggy, completely overwhelmed, lost. You may not know what exactly you’re feeling, you just know that it’s awful.

➺Other events in your life may cause you to feel these ways too - the end of a relationship, the loss of a job, receiving an unexpected medical diagnosis, recovering from an injury or illness, changes in family dynamic, or just the sense that some part of your identity is not the same as it used to be. Not all feelings of grief and loss are tied to death.

➺Sometimes loss is complicated. Sometimes we stand in judgment of our emotions. You may think you “aren’t feeling sad enough.” You worry that others might think of you as cold-hearted, detached. You might turn inward and not share your thoughts with anyone. This becomes lonely, isolating, and unnecessarily shameful.

Throughout my career as a therapist, I have always worked with people trying to cope with painful losses of all types. Loss is something I understand inherently on both a clinical and personal level. Additionally, I have sought advanced training and continue to regularly increase my knowledge about treating grief & loss in effort to stay current with the times. I look at loss through a variety of different modern grief-theory lenses combined with my background in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. I offer grief therapy sessions for the individual, family, or couple. If you are seeking grief therapy for a child (under the age of 17), please contact me directly so that we may discuss further.

What does grief therapy look like?

Grief therapy with me looks like this: first, we take time to get to know each other. We’re strangers, after all! I’ll learn about who and what is important to you and am happy to answer questions that you might have about me, too. We’ll also start to talk about why you’re here and take it at a pace that is comfortable for you. Consider that we might talk about things that are sad, things that you rightfully push out of your mind so you can get through each day. You may feel upset, angry, and you may cry. This is all ok. This is not abnormal. I will meet you where you are at emotionally. I will never expect you to “be okay” or judge what you are or are not feeling. Some sessions, we may take a break from the weight of grief and address other contributing stressors in your life, discuss appropriate self-care measures, and anything else that may be on your mind.

How will grief therapy help me?

There’s no such thing as “getting over” a loss of any kind. There’s no timetable for when you “should be done feeling sad.” That being said, what grief therapy can help with is increasing your ability to cope in this new existence where you feel a void. Addressing feelings of loss also prevents you from stuffing it down, sweeping it under the rug, or turning to unhealthy methods of “coping.” Over time and by processing your grief, you may start to sleep better, eat better, function better, and have a clearer, calmer headspace. You may even start to think about what you want your life to look like post-loss. How do we honor who or what has been lost, but still keep moving forward and have a life of meaning? Our work together will be driven by your values - what you define as important, meaningful, worth getting out of bed each day for.

What’s with the two photos above?

If you read both captions, you’ll notice one common word: cairn. Cairn is a Scottish gaelic term used to describe stones that have placed atop one another in a mound or monument-like formation. One use of cairn formations is to mark the grave of someone who has passed or to leave a mound in memory of a loved one. Cairns have also been used as trail markers, helping hikers plot their path, maintain direction, and find their way back home. This juxtaposition in meaning is what the grieving process means to me. We mark the loss of something, and then, eventually, we find our way. Celeste Roberge’s sculpture in particular resonated with me when I first saw it several years ago referred to as “The Weight of Grief.” Anyone that has suffered a loss of any type would probably agree that your body being filled with heavy rocks is a pretty accurate metaphor. The second photo is of a large cairn field in Isle of Skye, Scotland where visitors are encouraged to erect their own cairn formation, if so inclined. Click here to learn more about the ancient history of cairns.