Sometimes, the role of a therapist is to assist an individual to recognize that grief is not reserved only for the large life events such as traumatic injuries, death of a family member or the fire that destroys a home.
However, there is a wide range of losses some which are easily recognized and others that are not identified as a loss. Over the course of one’s life there can be numerous losses that are not recognizable by the individual or the people in their lives. Imagine that we are all born with a backpack and as we journey through life we accumulate in our backpack numerous unrecognizable losses which are not grieved.
These unrecognizable losses may be the loss of a job, academic failures, broken trust, death of a pet, an estranged friend or when someone is required to give up a substance that they are abusing. When these unrecognizable losses are not grieved, we are then unable to unpack these events from our backpack and our journey through life becomes more difficult and burdensome then it should be.
Clients will sometimes express to their counselors they are tired, sad, angry, experiencing extended periods of crying, and are socially withdrawn. The client reports they don’t know the reason they are having these myriads of feelings and emotions. It is at this time, the therapist can help the client to look deep within themselves and inside their backpack of life and identify those unrecognizable losses which need to be grieved and unpacked. Once the losses are grieved the client will find the journey easier, lighter and filled with more joy.
“Grieving is essential and necessary for maintaining our mental health”