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Grief and Loss

The experience of grief and loss is caused by many different factors, such as loss of a job, the ending of a relationship, moving or death of a loved one. At the heart of the experience is change, which may be planned or sudden and unexpected or even traumatic.

The response to such changes can involve an increase in strong emotions, like sadness and anger, unpredictable mood swings, sleep difficulties and appetite problems, low energy and restlessness and a disturbance in your sense of well-being. The combination of such feelings can be overwhelming and lead to poor performance at work, conflict with others and problems with problem solving. Anxiety and depression are common.

Grief and loss is particularly difficult when shame or lack of understanding from significant others like family members and friends is associated with it. This might occur in the case of the death of a pet or loved one or where a life change, e.g. a new home, does not bring happiness.

Grief is generally understood as coming in waves or cycles. In the case of death of someone close to you, it is most significant around the time of the loss. This is when social support is at its greatest, and when this decreases, individuals can feel distressed, alone and burdened by the increased intensity of the experience of loss as time goes on. This can lead to ongoing difficulties for months after the event.


Treatment of Psychological Difficulties Related to Grief and Loss

Grief and loss is a normal part of life. However, for some people, the experience of grief and loss results in ongoing difficulties which continue well past the event.

There are many ways in which unresolved grief and loss can be improved. For example, interpersonal therapy is a therapy that is designed to address grief. Specific interventions to deal with sleep issues, conflicts with others, anxiety and depression can be developed to suit an individual’s particular circumstance.

There are a number of therapeutic approaches that can assist you deal with issues of grief and loss, for example, mindfulness can assist in improving acceptance and self-compassion which can be very helpful. Other therapies, such as couple therapy or family therapy may also have a role, particularly if conflicts with others are related to the grief and loss.

If you are finding it difficult to deal with a loss and feeling overwhelmed by grief, it is advisable to seek professional help. Our psychologists at Inner West Psychology can help you work through your particular issues in order to move towards greater peace and acceptance.

To make an appointment please call our reception staff on (02) 9518 1061 or contact us via the form on this page, and one of our psychologists will call you back to find the first available appointment for you with the clinician of your choice.

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