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Presented by: Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes
Executive Director, AllCEUs

A Counseling CEU course for this presentation can be purchased at:

~    Define grief
~    Conceptualize grief in terms of any loss
~    Identify how failure to deal with grief can impact a person
~    Explore the stages of grief

What is Grief
~    Grief is a label assigned to all of the emotions associated with dealing with any kind of loss
~    Physical (Things, abilities, freedoms)
~    Self-concept (Roles, values, labels)
~    Worldview (Innocence, safety)
~    Dreams (How things should be)
~    Social (Loss of relationships…)
Stages of Grief
~    Denial: Numbness, dream, alternate explanations)
~¬†¬† ¬†Anger: The unknown, loss of control, death, isolation, failure‚ÄĒ(shouldas and couldas)
~    Bargaining: If I … then I will wake up and realize this was only a really bad dream
~    Depression: Helpless, hopeless
~    Acceptance: Radical acceptance that the loss occurred and determining how to proceed from there
Exacerbating & Mitigating factors
~    How people react in a crisis depends upon 6 factors
~    How close the situation was to them (physical and emotional proximity)
~    How many other stressors them experienced in the last year
~    Mental health issues/Effective coping skills
~    Social supports
~    Understanding of the loss
~    How much control/responsibility they feel like they had in the situation

Impact of Unresolved Grief
~    Most people get stuck in either anger or depression
~    Anger (shoulda, couldas and if onlys)
~    At self
~    At others
~    At higher power
~¬†¬† ¬†Depression (Hopelessness, Helplessness‚ÄĒI don‚Äôt now how to go on)
~    At self
~    At others
~    At higher power
~    Denial is the mind’s way of protecting people from what lies ahead.
~    Action strategies
~    Facing the loss
~    Anger is the power play
~    Push people away to avoid getting hurt again
~¬†¬† ¬†Blame others as an outlet for helplessness—somebody somewhere could have prevented this
~    Blame self to try to regain some control/prevent it from happening again, make themselves suffer
~    Question belief system and world schema

~    Action steps
~    Identifying what the loss means to the person (Ex. Job, Parent, Victimization)
~    Angry (other losses)
~    Scared (which fears and why?)
~    Depressed (I feel helpless to… ; I feel hopeless to…)
~    Validation
~    Examination of the stated beliefs for
~    All or nothing thinking
~    Emotional reasoning
~    Fallacy of fairness
~    Emotional Reasoning

~    If I do x, y and z, maybe I can wake up and it will have been a nightmare
~    Contributes to depression because the person wakes up everyday hoping the reality is different
~    Hope is squelched every morning
~    Action Steps
~    Help clients stay in the present reality
~    Point out how bargaining just creates more exhaustion and frustration
~    Hopelessness and helplessness
~    Reality that the loss occurred AND it cannot be changed
~    Action Steps
~    Identify what cannot be changed
~    Identify what can be changed henceforth
~    Parent
~    Job
~    Victimization

~    Accepting the reality of the loss
~    Action steps
~    Explore how life will be different (and the same) since the loss
~    Make a plan to change the things you can
~    If that loss can be prevented from recurring, take proactive steps
~    Advocacy groups
~    Personal behaviors
Not a Linear Process
~    Most people experience grief surrounding a loss for at least a year.
~    Holidays
~    Anniversaries
~    Reminders (people, places, things, media)
~    Many people will vacillate between depression and anger.
~    Normalize people’s experiences
~    Encourage them to reach out to supports
~    Address happiness and survivor guilt

Additional Tips
~    When someone is grieving they are in a state of crisis
~    Minimize vulnerabilities
~    Make lists
~    Minimize demands (unless staying busy helps)
~    Keep a normal sleep routine
~    Set a defined amount of time to revisit the loss each day
~    Be compassionate to yourself

~    Losses encompass more than death or a person or loss of property
~    Failure to acknowledge losses can cause unhelpful reactions in similar future situations
~¬†¬† ¬†It is important to explore feelings and reactions in terms of their functionality—how are they benefiting the person
~    It takes at least a year to deal with significant losses
~    Many times there are multiple ancillary losses that need to be addressed
~    How people deal with grief and loss varies widely.
~    Grieving is a form of crisis
~    The body is on high alert which likely impacts sleep, eating and energy to work or socialize
~    Minimizing vulnerabilities is important to reduce unnecessary frustration and avoid confirming helplessness
~    Ultimately it is hoped that the person can identify how they are stronger or better off from the experience

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