MMN 045: Grieving & Coping with Loss – with Ajita Robinson

On this episode of the Make a Mental Note podcast, Ajita Robinson, a licensed clinical professional counselor, discusses clients who are grieving losses – either physical or symbolic – and how they can be helped to cope with those losses. Give it a listen and find out why this episode is worthy of a mental note!

Ajita Robinson interview (click on Ajita’s name to listen to interview)

Mental Notes:

* Placing clients in the role of the expert about themselves is important to provide them with a sense of control.

* Some clients come into therapy feeling frustrated with regard to how they are dealing with their losses. They feel as though they are “supposed to” grieve in a particular way and this gets in the way of them properly dealing with the loss. It is not uncommon for them to be self-critical about the way they are grieving – feeling as though they are not grieving in the “right way.” The lack of self-compassion and self-acceptance about where they are is huge.

* Many clients come into counseling wanting solutions to not feeling what they’re feeling instead of embracing where they are and slowing down enough to just “be.” They feel like they should be doing something; simply experiencing and accepting the way they are feeling is uncomfortable.

* Sometimes clients who are grieving are so wrapped up into how others are feeling and making sure that they are taken care of that they don’t take care of their own needs.

* Clients may feel guilty over not feeling sad enough and/or enjoying life or not being able to pick up the pieces and know what to do next.

* Clients who lost someone are challenged to situate that person in a different place in their lives, which may be in the spiritual realm.

* Grieving time varies from person to person, which makes it difficult when others (e.g., family members, friends, employers) expect the grieving person to get back to a pre-grief style of life.

* There are social, cultural & gender norms that dictate how people should grieve (e.g., “Be strong” or “Don’t cry. Everything will be OK”). However, there are no right or wrong ways to grieve. In addition, there are different rituals that are based on religious and cultural beliefs that influence the grieving process.

* Self-compassion is an important goal for clients who are grieving losses. Also, helping clients give themselves permission to be whoever they are (or want to be) in the present moment without criticizing or judging themselves is also important.

* Another important goal is for clients to identify their needs and how they can meet those needs (i.e., to not shortchange themselves as they are grieving).

* Guilt and shame about the way they’re grieving or managing the loss presents challenges for clients who are dealing with losses. Some clients are not ready to deal with loss. Exploring with clients what makes it difficult to move on with their lives is part of what happens in therapy.

Mental Notes Takeaway:

* The way that people grieve losses varies from person to person and is influenced by the nature of the loss as well as social, cultural and gender norms. Finding meaning in losses as well as self-compassion are key parts of the grief process.

Check It Out:

* Ajita Robinson’s website: http://www.fit-counseling.com/

* Ajita’s phone number: 301-661-3481

 



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