Top 10 Things People Do to Heal Grief and Loss

Over the years I have worked with hundreds of people who have experienced grief and loss, and at some point in my career, it became apparent that there were folks who healed, and folks who did not.  Although I do believe that there are certain therapies that can help you along the way, including (but not limited to) EMDR, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), there are other things you can do with intention, that will help you walk through the valley, and get to the other side.

Due to the fact that I am a strengths-based therapist, I am looking for strengths, inner resources, and behavioral successes from the very first moment someone walks into my office.  Working with trauma, it is critical in my perspective, to identify what is already working for someone, and to also hone in on what strengths they possess that may help them move through loss. This is valuable information that we can take forward on the therapeutic journey.  The following is a list (the first of two) of the top strengths and resiliencies that my most successful clients have either amplified, or cultivated, in order to heal deep emotional wounds.

Have Compassion

I want to be clear that here I am talking about true compassion, the door must swing both ways.  If you can put yourself in someone else’s shoes, you should cultivate an ability to do that for yourself.  The act of compassion toward the self involves having boundaries, being able to say no, and to acknowledge what you need.  It also involves an understanding that you are not 100%.  Adjust your expectations of yourself.

Help Others

Helping others always comes back to us.  I cannot change what happened, but I absolutely can do something with it.  Although helping others who have experienced similar wounding may be beneficial, the real point is just to help others.  Share with people what you have learned through your own journey, and communicate understanding.

Find Purpose

As a therapist who has a subspecialty in working with suicidal patients, I believe strongly in our need to find purpose, because without it, we are set adrift.  Purpose can be found everywhere, whether you are adding your voice to create change on a systemic level, helping a child learn how to read, or planting a garden.  Be intentional about your contribution.  It counts.

Stay Connected

Feeling as if we are part of a group is important for us as human beings.  We need to feel like we have a tribe, and cultivate support.  Reach out daily.  We are not built to exist in isolation, and grief and loss can disconnect us from everyone around us.  Find your support, and stay connected.

Practice Radical Acceptance

A practice you can mind daily.  Identify the struggles or challenges in your life, then lean into the opportunities they present as you move forward from this point.   People who move through pain understand that there is always treasure to be found in it.

Clear Reflections

Choose one of the actions from the list above that you believe you already have cultivated.  How is this action a resource for you?  How has it helped you in your own healing?  How can it continue to help you.

Choose one of the actions from the list that you would like to cultivate in a deeper way.  How could you stay intentional about building this resource over the next week?  How will you mark your progress?

Create your own list of doable actions that have helped you heal.  How can you stay intentional about utilizing the behaviors on your list?

Build strength. Identify what works.  Practice.

Speak Your Mind


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