Grief & Loss

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Grief

Grief and loss are a normal part of life. And while we mostly associate grief and loss with the death of a loved one, feelings of grief and loss can arise from any sort of change.

Feelings of profound sadness, grief, or loss may surface if there has been a divorce, end of a relationship, loss of a job, loss of housing, a or the death of a pet or loved one.

We all experience challenging situations throughout our lives. And with these experiences there is inevitable loss. Everyone handles loss differently. Some may move through it effortlessly. While others may take a little longer to process deep emotions and feelings. They may feel stuck and unable to move and they may turn to a professional for a little assistance.

Whatever your situation, and whatever kind of loss you’re experiencing and grieving, we are here to help. You’re in the right place.

Our licensed clinical psychotherapists have the expertise and compassion to meet you where you are and help you achieve either the peace or closure you seek. We work with you to identify coping strategies so you can understand, process, and move through grief at a pace that is most suited to you and your unique situation.

When we think of grief or loss, we often think of the death of a loved one. But that isn’t always the case. Grief and loss are not emotions reserved exclusively for death.

Much has been written about grief and loss, but to put it simply, we can experience grief and loss whenever there is an interruption or loss of anything with which we had an attachment or a relationship.

This interruption or loss may be something of your own choosing (such as deciding to end a troubled relationship or resigning from an unsatisfactory job), or it can be something you didn’t choose (such as the death of a pet or a loved one, or the societal changes resulting from a global health pandemic.) These scenarios are all different but they can cause a person to experience varying levels of grief and loss.

Our therapists at Kathryn Grooms & Associates Psychotherapy work with people who have experienced many different forms of loss.

Grief and loss come in many forms and present differently in every human being. There are really expansive possibilities of both how grief shows up and why grief shows up.

Many people are familiar with the widely popularized 5 Stages of Grief, as identified by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler. They are: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.

At Kathryn Grooms & Associates Psychotherapy, we recognize these five stages and we agree with the clinical foundations. However, we also know that not everyone progresses through these five stages at the same pace or even in the same order.

The grief journey is not a linear process. In fact, it may feel like you’re on a rollercoaster at times. Sometimes grief triggers are around every corner. Other times, you may slip into a space where grief isn’t so all-consuming. All of this is normal but can be extremely difficult to process.

You may have moved quickly through one stage or you may be lingering in one stage longer than others. Wherever you are on the grief journey is perfectly normal for you. Everyone’s grief journey is different and unique because everyone’s experience and pain of grief and loss is different and unique.

One of the most effective strategies for coping with the unpredictability of grief and loss is to connect with positive and supportive people in your community or in the important relationships in our life. In a culture that is often focused on reinforcing the notion of self-reliance, it may be difficult to reach out to others. But this connection with others, this nonjudgmental fellowship can make you feel less alone and can be an incredible gift during difficult life transitions.

We will support your grief journey by meeting you where you are. With no shame, no judgment, and no unrealistic expectations to move through the stages at a prescribed pace. Your grief journey is your own. We are here to help you move through it at a pace that lends itself to healing and peace.

“Just Get Over It”?

Phrases such as you should “just get over it” or “it’s time to move on,” from well-intentioned loved ones, friends, or society at large, are rarely helpful. In fact, when a person is feeling sad or overwhelmed by grief or loss, phrases like these often make the person feel worse. Embarrassment, conflict, and frustration all contribute to a culture of shame. When these feelings are internalized they become part of the stigma of grief, which can be a huge barrier to healing.

We carry grief with us for a variety of reasons. And no matter how much time has past, there may still be difficult and very real emotions to work through.

At Kathryn Grooms & Associates Psychotherapy, our therapists normalize the grief journey and, instead of criticizing or judging, invite and welcome all of the barriers to healing to the table.

We recognize and accept David Kessler’s continuation of the stages of grief to include The Sixth Stage of Grief: Finding Meaning.

This Sixth Stage of Grief is one that we believe is a critical part of the healing process.

In this Sixth Stage of Grief, we work together with you to find meaning, to find a way to honor the impact of the person, place, or thing in your life that is the source of your grief.

Beyond the fifth stage of acceptance where we accept what “is”, there is the opportunity to go beyond accepting what IS to uncover the meaning of what is. Part of the healing process is needing to honor that. Why? Because it gives you something to carry forward in your life in a positive, meaningful way.

One of the ways we do this is by focusing on what has been called the sixth stage of grief: making meaning of the loss. Making meaning of the loss is a critical part of the healing process.

At Kathryn Grooms & Associates Psychotherapy, we believe gratitude can be an extremely effective antidote to depression and to eradicating the negative thoughts we can sometimes unintentionally carry with us. These thoughts weigh us down and can potentially negatively affect our personal and professional lives. One of the ways we find our way out of grief and loss is to make meaning from the loss, shift away from the negative and instead focus on the positive. By doing so, we gradually take the focus off the negative and begin to shift our perspective.

The work of moving through grief and loss looks different for everybody. And that’s as it should be. It is exceptionally personal and should not be rushed or hurried in any way. Grief is deep and real. We will honor your grief, no matter where you are in the healing process.

A huge part of grief and loss is that you very often didn’t have a choice. This is also a key element of trauma, something our professional therapists specialize in as well. Consider the Covid19 global health pandemic and how abruptly the world was turned upside down. Routines such as dressing for work, commuting to the office, dropping our kids off at school or the bus stop, and even grocery shopping, looked very different.

We had to wear masks, socially distance, stay home unless it was absolutely necessary, stay away from family who don’t live with you. Many adults worked from home. Kids were learning from home. We couldn’t go to our offices, our schools, to restaurants or stores, or even on vacation. The interruption of these routines, however mundane we may think they are, can cause feelings of grief and loss.

We all experienced varying levels of loss from the start of the pandemic until now. Things such as loss of routines, loss of a job, loss of social connections, loss of in-person classrooms, loss of the customs around visiting the sick and dying, loss of closure if a loved one or pet passed during the pandemic, and a general loss of control over our daily lives. In short, our lives were turned upside down. Some people fared really well; others struggled.

Our team is here to help you process your feelings of grief and loss and arm you with proven tools to manage the various emotions that are a normal part of the grief and loss journey.

One of the things my team and I noticed during this pandemic is that we are all animal lovers and animal owners. And, sadly, many of us had pets pass during the pandemic. We had a shared experience of supporting one another through these losses. It was incredibly comforting and just lovely to be in a group with people who helped one another make meaning and honor the impact of these huge losses. In the middle of this global health pandemic, it was surely a profound experience. To have something so acute, so meaningful, was just beautiful.

COVID-19 UPDATE

During this unprecedented time, you may be experiencing increasing feelings of uncertainty, loss, anxiety, fear, grief or rage. We are all experiencing a different reality and it can and will affect everyone very differently.

Whether you’re performing an essential job that requires long hours and potential risk to your health, or you’re navigating school re-opening, returning to work or continuing to work from home and practicing social distancing, please know that you are not alone.

We are pleased to offer the same level of compassionate care through the convenience and confidentiality of TeleTherapy services, accessible on your computer, tablet, or phone. We are welcoming fully vaccinated clients to return to the office for in-person sessions on a case by case basis.

Please stay safe and know that we are with you.

Have Questions?

Payment can be cash, check or credit card. (Please note: there is a surcharge of $2.50 per invoice.) Payment is expected at the time of each session. We are an out-of-network provider with all insurance companies. On a monthly basis we will be happy to provide receipts and/or completed insurance forms for you to submit for out of network reimbursement.
We request that you provide no less than 3 days (72 hours) notification to cancel appointments. We will make every effort to reschedule cancelled sessions within the same week, at no additional fee. If you cancel within the 72 hour period, and we are not able to reschedule within that time frame, you will be responsible for paying the full amount of our session. Note: this cannot be submitted to insurance for reimbursement.
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