Lynn Mary
Karjala, Ph.D.

Licensed
Psychologist

 

Lynn Mary Karjala, Ph.D.
11205 Alpharetta Highway, Suite A-4
Roswell, GA 30076
770-754-0751 :telephone
770-754-0752 :fax

Grief and Loss
by Lynn Mary Karjala, Ph.D. . .......... . . . [back]

When someone we love dies, a feeling of deep, painful grief is a natural and common response. Actually, grief is not only caused by death but can be triggered by the loss of anything we value, anything in which we have invested our time and energy--a job, a work of art, a beloved pet.

Grief is more than a simple feeling of deep sadness. It is often accompanied by feelings of guilt, anger, and relief. These reactions can be even more damaging and difficult to deal with, because many people are ashamed of such feelings and cannot admit to them.

Various factors in ourselves or our environments can also make grief more prolonged and difficult, by leaving behind a sense of unresolved issues or by delaying or interfering with the process of resolution. For example, if the relationship was strained and ambivalent or the death was very sudden, there will be a sense of many things left undone and unsaid.

What can you do if you, or others you care about, are grieving?
The following are a few important guidelines.

  1. Recognize that each person grieves in his or her own way, not according to any preset pattern.

  2. Telling people (including yourself) that they shouldn't feel what they're feeling is never helpful, and it can be quite destructive. Instead, encourage the person to acknowledge and accept all of the thoughts and feelings that arise from the loss.

  3. Recognize that the healing will take time.

  4. Anticipate problems when you can, especially around holidays, anniversaries, birthdays and other special events.

  5. Seek professional help. Not everyone will need the expertise of a professional counselor to recover from grief, but there are many ways in which a trained counselor can help that family and friends cannot. For best results, I recommend looking for a counselor who is specifically trained in dealing with grief and trauma resolution.

A longer, more detailed version of this article can be found by clicking on Grief, Loss and Resolution.

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Other articles by Dr. Karjala can be found by clicking on the links below:

Depression Stress Management

The author is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Roswell, Georgia. For more information, please visit the home page of her web site at www.karjala.com.

Dr. Karjala welcomes comments about this article, which may be sent via e-mail using the form provided on her home page. However, she regrets that she is unable to offer individual, personal advice via e-mail or the Web.

Copyright (c) 1999 Lynn Mary Karjala