Prolonged Grief: Bereavement after the loss of a friend or family member is very normal. However, many emotional difficulties, mood disorders, and other psychological problems can result when grief is suppressed or avoided.
Grief is a poorly understood phenomenon and although much has been written about it, the mechanisms of grief are actually best understood in the context of research about all emotions. Dr. James Gross who wrote a book, “The Handbook of Emotion Regulation” points to important research findings about emotions:
All emotions have a name, biological changes, physiological sensations, action urges, cognitions, and body language. These aspects of emotions, in this instance, grief or sadness, are considered normal and so grief is not treated by psychotherapists as a disorder except if symptoms prevent someone from doing basic self-care or they interfere with daily living after several months.
At CriticalPath Counseling we utilize Dialectical Bhavior Therapy for people who suffer from prolonged grief. Therapists at CriticalPath Counseling teach clients skills for managing emotions and tolerating the strong emotions that come with grief, and helps them identify the ways that grief may show up in their lives long after a loss has occurred. Many behaviors that are socially acceptable can actually be avoidant strategies that ultimately keep people stuck, miserable, and unable to feel joy.
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