Psychotherapy and Psychological Assessment
Phone: 973.734.0780

Grief and Loss

Most of us think of grief as a response to losing a loved one. Grief can come on after a shocking loss, or with a loss that you are aware will eventually occur, as with a terminal illness.

Grief can also occur due to:
  • Miscarriage or Infertility
  • Loss of a Job
  • Death of a pet
  • Relationship Break-up

Grief is a natural response to loss. Losing someone or something you love or care about is very painful. Individuals respond with different emotions that vary from time to time like waves in the ocean or a roller coaster. Sometimes feelings can be overwhelming while at other times they may be tolerable. Individuals heal at different rates and it is important to know there is no “normal” way to grieve.

In 1969, Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross introduced the ‘5 stages of grief’, which were based on studies of patients facing terminal illness. They have been generalized to fit other types of life loss.

5 Stages of Grief:
  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

These stages rarely happen in this order. An individual might experience each of these stages in a different order or might not experience all of them in order to heal. Kubler-Ross never intended these stages to be in a rigid order. She stated, “...there is no typical response to loss, as there is no typical loss. Our grieving is as individual as our lives.”

It is important to allow yourself to express feelings associated with grief in order to heal. Feelings of guilt, anger, fear, disbelief and sadness are normal symptoms of grief.

Ways to Cope:
  • Turn to friends and Family
  • Comfort from Faith
  • Join a Support Group
  • Talk to a Therapist

If you or someone you know is overwhelmed by symptoms of grief consider a consultation with one of the therapists at The Institute for Change. Our staff averages over 20 years of clinical experience in the treatment of grief and loss.