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Grief and Loss

Grief and Loss

Grief is one of the most complex and emotionally challenging experiences that we as humans face in our lifetimes.

From the sudden loss of a partner to the passing of a beloved parent, and even the emotional journey through pet loss, coping with grief can take on many forms.

Whether the loss of your loved one was anticipated or sudden, whether it happened yesterday or years ago, the pain of loss can be overwhelming. Navigating through grief is a journey that requires patience, self-compassion, and support from others.

At On Your Mind Counselling, we understand the profound impact that loss can have on one’s life. We are here to meet you where you are today, providing you with a safe, nonjudgmental space and empathetic support to walk alongside you every step of the way.

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What is Grief?

Grief is the range of emotional, psychological, and physical responses that accompany loss.

While the definition is simple, the experience is nothing short of complicated.

One day you might feel overwhelmed by a tidal wave of emotions that makes it hard to get out of bed in the morning, while the next could bring a sense of numbness or detachment.

Grief is a heavy burden, pressing down on the heart with a relentless ache. Yet, grief is also a reminder of the depth of our ability to love and the beauty of our vulnerability for connection. Each moment in the grieving process is both valid and deserving of acknowledgment, kindness, and support.

Common Symptoms of Grief

Grieving is an incredibly unique experience. While every one of us may process our grief in our own way, certain symptoms are more common among most of these experiences.

Some of the most common emotional symptoms of grief include:

  • Sadness
  • Shock/disbelief
  • Anger
  • Guilt
  • Numbness
  • Dissociation
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Loneliness
  • Yearning
  • Relief

For many people, grief can manifest physically, impacting different parts of our bodies and causing heightened sensitivity or tension.

Some of the physical symptoms that may accompany grief include:

  • Fatigue
  • Changes in appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Headaches
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Shortness of breath
  • Body aches and pains
  • Dizziness or faintness
  • Weight fluctuations
  • Weakened immunity

Though painful and often quite conflicting, understanding these symptoms empowers us to navigate the grieving process with greater compassion and self-awareness.

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How We Can Support You

Navigating grief in solitude can feel isolating. It might stem from hesitance to share your emotions or fear of burdening others with these complex feelings.

On Your Mind Counselling is here to help bridge the gap and become your emotional support. Collaborating with a therapist provides you with a supportive environment where you don’t have to navigate through grief on your own.

Among the many incredible therapists that make up our team, our grief specialists possess a unique blend of expertise to help individuals, couples, and families navigate the complexities of loss with more clarity.

Therapeutic Modalities

Within grief therapy, there are a number of modalities that are beneficial for individuals looking to process their feelings, cope with their loss, and rediscover hope along the way.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

The intensity and overwhelming nature of grief can make it particularly difficult to navigate on our own. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a therapeutic approach that helps you understand and manage your thoughts, emotions, and behaviours associated with grief with greater clarity.

CBT helps you:

  • Explore challenging or unhelpful thought patterns associated with loss
  • Learn practical coping skills to manage distressing emotions
  • Explore behavioural activation techniques to motivate positive behaviours, such as reconnecting with friends and engaging in hobbies
  • Assist in the progression of emotional healing and growth

Emotion-Focused Therapy

For many, the intensity and complexity of emotions involved in grief can be overwhelming to navigate. Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT) is an evidence-based approach that is foundational to deepening your understanding and processing of these emotions.

EFT helps you:

  • Acknowledge and validate your feelings of loss to begin exploring and processing the emotions attached to grief
  • Develop emotional regulation skills to better manage intense emotional experiences
  • Cultivates self-awareness and understanding of underlying emotional patterns
  • Supports the non-linear journey to healing, allowing for a deeper sense of acceptance and integration of grief experiences

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Searching for a path forward can feel impossible while we are sitting in a fog of grief. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a strength-based approach used to guide you through your unique grieving journey with compassion and resilience.

ACT helps you:

  • Embrace and accept challenging emotions associated with grief
  • Foster a sense of peace and acceptance for the highs and lows of grief
  • Clarify your values and commit to positive actions that align with your goals
  • Develop mindfulness to cultivate present moment awareness and inspire emotional recalibration

Narrative Therapy

Amidst grief, experiencing a loss of our sense of self can be profoundly disorienting. Narrative therapy is an approach that serves as a foundational pillar to help you make sense of your grieving experience, offering a way to rewrite your narratives in a way that resonates with you.

Narrative Therapy helps you:

  • Externalize and explore the impact of grief and the influence it has on your life story
  • Empower you to rewrite your narrative, highlighting your strengths, values, and resources to better cope with grief
  • Deconstruct and reframe unhelpful narratives to foster growth and healing
  • Cultivate a sense of autonomy over your personal grief narrative

What to Expect From Grief Therapy

Recognizing the unpredictable nature of grief, we are here to support you in a way that adapts to your changing needs, circumstances, and goals along the way.

How we can help you process grief:

  • Provide a safe space for you to share and express your emotions authentically without judgment
  • Walk alongside you and help you identify complex or conflicting emotions in a healthy and constructive manner
  • Facilitate the healing process through compassionate understanding and personalized guidance, tailored to your unique needs and experiences
  • Offer practical techniques and practices for overcoming obstacles you now face in your daily routines, relationships and roles 

Whether it involves providing the space for shedding tears, expressing feelings of guilt, or simply being present in the silence you need to process difficult emotions, our goal is to accompany you on your journey toward healing and understanding.

Meet Our Grief and Bereavement Experts

Your journey through grief is sacred, and we are honoured to be a part of it, helping you find peace and healing as you navigate this delicate path.

Laura Anderson
BA, MA, MSW, RSW

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“Where there is deep grief, there is heartfelt love. Together, we can recognize the intricacies of your grief while finding and building meaningful moments in your life after loss.”

Learn More About Laura

Alysia Morrow
BA, BSW, MSW, RSW

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“Grief is a very nuanced and individualistic experience; there’s no 'proper’ way to grieve.”

Learn More About Alysia

Noreen Goraya
BSW, MSW, RSW

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“The opposite of grief is not laughter or happiness or joy. It is love. It is love. It is love.” - Akif Kichlo

Learn More About Noreen

Julie Stevenson
BSW, MSW, RSW

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“Emotional pain from loss is something that unites us all. You don't need to suffer silently with sadness, regret, or even the anger that comes with grief. Together, we can transform these emotions into gratitude and acceptance, helping to complete your recovery from grief.”

Learn More About Julie
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