Tag Archives: The Grief Recovery Method®

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What is Grief Recovery?

What is Grief Recovery?

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Recovery means different things to different people. Some people are upset by the word grief recovery. They think you can’t recover from loss because you will never be the same again. But the word “recovery” is not meant to suggest that you must “get over” your loss. Recovery in the context of grief recovery is about becoming emotionally complete and beginning the next phase of your life with a fresh perspective. Grief recovery is learning to heal your heart and not your head.

WHAT IS GRIEF RECOVERY?

The process of grief recovery could be described as taking action to deal with “unfinished business” so you don’t drag heartache throughout your life. It is taking a series of actionable steps to move beyond the pain associated with loss. Recovery is never about forgetting. It involves taking a guided inventory of all of the positive (and less than positive) elements of the loss and resolving those things you might have wished had been different, better or you had done more often. Doing this will allow you to enjoy fond memories, without regrets. It will also help you to look forward to the future, rather than worrying or being fearful about what it will bring.

Recovery means enhancing your life rather than limiting it. It is feeling better. It is having fond memories no longer turn painful. It is acquiring the skills you should have been taught as a child to deal with loss directly.

Recovery means experiencing the full range of normal human emotions from happiness to sadness and knowing these feelings are normal and natural.

Recovery means processing every feeling you experience as a result of your loss. This means no more walls going up around your heart or carrying emotional baggage from relationship-to-relationship.

Recovery means expressing your feelings regardless of the reaction you may get from those around you. This means not conforming to what society has told you about grief but being honest about how you are doing because that is what makes you human.

Recovery means having better relationships with those who are still living by always being “complete” with people so that you can have better relationships with them. This means delivering emotional communications better, differently or more often – usually before it is too late.

MOTIVATING FACTORS

What might be some of the motivating factors in wanting to know more about Grief Recovery?

First and probably more important, you may be suffering from a broken heart.

You may be at a point where you feel you desire a more fulfilling life.

You may be tired of experiencing pain, isolation and loneliness as a result of your loss.

You may feel like you lack the proper information to deal with your grief.

And finally, you may have found the courage and willingness to let go of what has been keeping you stuck in order to move through your grief.

WHEN IS GRIEF RECOVERY AVAILABLE?

This may sound like a cliche, but grief recovery is available anytime you are ready.

It is never too soon to heal your heart.

It can start after a new or previous loss.

It can help you to begin the process of healing.

It is a structured program that gives you the tools to recover from loss and have a fulfilling and joyful life.

If you want to learn more about how grief recovery can transform your life, sign up for our FREE one-hour initial consultation HERE.

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Sending you love, comfort and peace!

 


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Grief Educational Program or Bereavement Group?

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As an Advanced Grief Recovery Method Specialist® many people have asked me what the difference is between The Grief Recovery Method® educational program and bereavement groups. Since I have participated in both, I wanted to share my perspective.

BEREAVEMENT GROUPS

After the suicides of two friends, no one seemed to want to talk to me about what happened. Because I REALLY needed to talk about these suicides in order to try and make sense of it all, I finally joined a suicide bereavement group. This group was sponsored by a local Mental Health clinic and facilitated by a licensed clinical social worker. It was a safe place for me to talk to other individuals who had also been through the suicide of someone close to them. I was able to share and express the feelings that I had bottled up inside of me. It was probably the best thing I could have done at the time. I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders after every meeting finished.  Little by little I started to feel better.

Bereavement groups are also offered by churches or synagogues, as well as by funeral homes, hospitals or hospices. They are mostly focused on death, rather than divorce or other losses. They are open to anyone and are sometimes offered on a “drop-in” basis – individuals are welcome to come and go as needed. These groups help individuals to feel less isolated from society while they are grieving. They provide a safe, supportive, non-judgmental atmosphere where grievers can talk to each other about what they’re experiencing. After all, one of the most important aspects for a griever is the need to be heard and not feel alone.  Bereavement groups do just that.

THE GRIEF RECOVERY METHOD® EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM: 

There are other groups that offer a different approach – a structured program aimed at recovery.  One of those is The Grief Recovery Method® educational program which uses a long-established format based on the principles and actions of The Grief Recovery Handbook. Their format offers a structured action plan to help grieving people discover and complete what was left emotionally unfinished as a result of any loss – not just the death of a loved one. It differs from traditional bereavement support groups in several ways. One difference is it is focused exclusively on recovery from grief, rather than primarily being a place for sharing feelings. Another is that the program is presented over a period of weeks and is facilitated by Certified Grief Recovery Specialists®. As part of my grief journey, I found the outreach program to help me recover from the unresolved grief that came as a result of my friends’ suicides, as well as the other loss events in my life – like divorce, moving, miscarriage, etc. It became an opportunity for me to complete these unresolved feelings so that  could move on in my life.

Bottom line is that a bereavement group had wonderful value for me. It helped me as a  griever feel less isolated and have a safe place to express my grief. The Grief Recovery Method® educational program helped me move from my grief to recovery. I found both to be valuable as I moved through my own personal grief journey.

Below is a short video describing The Grief Recovery Method® educational program in more detail.

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Sending you love, comfort and peace!

 


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The Mythical Land of Grief

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It wasn’t until I was going through the training to be a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist® that I realized I had been living in the mythical land of grief. Everything I thought I knew wasn’t right at all. I learned that as a society, we approach grief with our head and not our hearts. This means we try to rationalize our response to loss, rather than feel it. These myths have supported this approach to grief for generations. They help us to avoid grief rather than face it.

“Myths tell us what those like us have done, can do, should do…Listen to the wrong myths, and we might even go back a few steps.” ― N.K. Jemisin

I was told there were stages. I was told I needed to keep busy. I was told I shouldn’t be sad. I was told I would feel better in time. Like many of you, this guidance became my roadmap as I faced the various losses in my life. You may have also heard these statements and never questioned their validity: Give It Time; Be Strong; Grieve by Yourself; Don’t Show Sad Emotions; Find a Replacement and Keep Yourself Busy[1].

THE SIX MYTHS

Let’s walk through each one in more detail, see why they don’t work and what you can do to instead:

Give It Time. If you are grieving after losing a loved long ago, does it hurt any less? Do you miss them any less? Probably not. My maternal Grandmother died in the early 80s. I had a miscarriage in the early 90s. I still remember both losses as if they were yesterday. Even though time has softened my grief, it has not healed these wounds. These losses are a part of me and always will be. Giving grief more time certainly won’t change how I feel about my Grandmother or my miscarriage.

What you can do instead: Give yourself the space you need to grieve without any time limits. Understand it will take as long as it takes. Your grief may soften over time but the loss will always be a part of you.

Be Strong. As the oldest of two girls I heard this statement throughout my entire life, “You have to be strong for your sister.” I took this literally by walling off my heart at a very young age. I thought if I didn’t feel or show my emotions I was setting a good example for sister. Not expressing my sadness only hurt me in the long run. After my divorce, my children chose to live with my ex-husband because I was the “stronger” one. They thought I was “better” at being alone than he was. This was the furthest thing from the truth. Being strong set the wrong example and brought me heartache.

What you can do instead: Be human. Express both happy and sad emotions. It is healthier for you emotionally, physically and spiritually. It also sets a better example for those around you. Your sadness gives them “permission” to also be sad

Grieve by Yourself. Society has taught us not to burden others with our grief. I felt that way after the suicides of my two friends. I didn’t want to bother anyone with my sadness so I stayed to myself. Family and friends have their own problems. The last thing they need is my sadness creeping up on them. Grieve alone so you can stay out of the spotlight. This is not healthy.

What you can do instead:  Take time for yourself, but not to the point of isolation. Find a healthy balance between being alone and spending time with friends or family. Choose family members and friends who will support your grieving choices and listen without judgement or criticism. 

Don’t Show Sad Emotions. As babies, we were free to express our emotions. We laughed when we were happy, and cried when we were sad. Our emotions changed at the drop of a hat. This was expected behavior. But at some point in our childhood, an invisible switch was flipped and we were told it was no longer “acceptable” to express our sadness. I am not sure exactly when this happened, but it was probably when I was in elementary school. My parents started saying, “Go to your room if you are going to cry.” This lead me to believe that sadness was a bad thing and must be avoided at all costs. So, I pushed my emotions down. Way down. I built the wall higher around my heart. Not the right approach if you want to be “healthy” and have healthy relationships.

What you can do instead: Be honest about your emotions. Express your sadness rather than avoid it. Sadness makes you human. It’s what ultimately gets you through your grief.

Find a Replacement. Were you ever told after a relationship break-up “Don’t feel bad, there are plenty of fish in the sea”? If so, did it help you to feel any better? You may have felt worse because it implied you should never grieve over the loss of a relationship. It also implied that moving on right away would help you to feel better. But does serial relationships ever help you to feel better? I would argue they don’t and most people probably feel even worse. By not grieving we carry the same emotional issues from one relationship to the next. It is often a contributing factor to why there are so many break ups and divorces today.

What you can do instead: Grieve for your relationship before moving on to the next. Be sad for the future that is never going to happen. Forgive your former partner and yourself. Decide what you can do better or differently the next time around. This way you move forward in a healthy way and don’t carry any unresolved emotions with you.

Keep Yourself Busy. Speaking from experience I can say I became a workaholic after the suicides of my two friends. I thought if I kept busy enough, my grief would go away. But it never did. It just got buried. Consequently, it churned and churned until I felt like I was going to explode. I became exhausted emotionally, physically and spiritually.  Keeping busy is just an avoidance technique and can be one of the worst ways to handle grief.

What you can do instead: Take the time you need to face your grief. Schedule extra time off work when needed. Practice self-care. Be gentle with yourself. 

Replacing these myths with healthier ways to grieve helps you to better navigate the ups and downs of your grief journey. It helps you to leave that mythical land of grief once and for all.

[1] www.griefrecoverymethod.com

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Sending you love, comfort and peace!


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