Grief & Loss

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Grief & Loss

Metro Atlanta Grief & Loss Counseling

There are few things more traumatizing and devastating than experiencing a significant loss. For many people, the most heartbreaking loss is the loss of a loved one; however, grief can stem from the loss of a pet, an opportunity, a home, or even a feeling of loss of self, amongst other things. If you are experiencing emotions of grief and loss, you may benefit from working with a grief and loss therapist. At CNSL, our grief and loss counselors are available to help you.

Stages of Grief 

Grief is usually experienced in stages following a significant loss or trauma. The five recognized stages of grief are:

1. Denial. During this stage, the individual who is experiencing the loss may refuse to recognize that the loss is happening or may act as though nothing has changed. Usually, this phase is short and quickly followed by stage two—anger.

2. Anger. Anger is one of the most normal emotions to experience after a loss. Anger can be all-consuming and may impact a person’s ability to be productive at work or maintain healthy relationships. Sometimes, the anger is directed at the person who died; it can even be directed at inanimate objects.

3. Bargaining. During bargaining, an impacted individual tries to regain control of the situation or their emotions through some form of negotiation. For example, a person who has been diagnosed with a serious illness may try to bargain by saying something like, “I promise I’ll give up junk food for the rest of my life if you let me live,” or something to this effect. Bargaining can also be retrospective and involve feelings of guilt —for example, “If only I’d been available that time, they would still be here today.”

4. Depression. Depression is the stage of grief that many people associate most closely with loss. This can look like staying in bed; shying away from friends, family, and previously enjoyed activities; refusing food or overeating; having long periods of crying; extreme fatigue or being unable to sleep; and even thoughts of self-harm or suicide. Experiencing sadness after a loss is normal and healthy, but if a person’s depression has escalated to experiencing feelings of self-harm, it is critical that they seek professional help immediately.

5. Acceptance. The fifth stage of grief is acceptance. During this stage, a person experiencing grief and loss will begin to accept what has happened and how it has impacted their life and be ready to move forward. This does not mean that acceptance is a happy time or that the individual forgets the loss, but rather that they have accepted that their own life must go on despite the loss they have experienced.

Working Through the Stages of Grief with a Professional 

Navigating the stages of grief on your own is extremely difficult and can feel isolating, compounding negative feelings of anger, depression, and deep sadness. At CNSL, our grief and loss therapists are here to support you as you work through your grief and learn strategies and skills for coping with the loss. To learn more, please reach out to our therapists today online or by phone. We are accepting new patients.

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