Friday, September 11, 2015

What Makes All the Difference In Grief Therapy


HEARTS are strong and hearts do tend, generally, to survive…
The enormity of stress, of grief, of depression, and of feeling overwhelmed.
What people most need when we are confounded by the cataclysm that is loss and grief — and so vast is the field of experience in loss and grief that it spans all mental illness — is the feeling that we are not alone. That we may share the unutterably arduous journey in complete safety. Dignity intact. Not second-guessed. Not doubted. Affirmed. Encouraged. Not judged. Listened to. No advice unless it’s actually sought out. The willingness to be quiet, unless to enquire into feeling.
We need companionship more than anything else, and a wise therapist will know this. They will be a safe companion. And any friend can do this, too.
When we are looking for help in our passage through grief we do well to go to someone who’s safe, who’ll allow us to be vulnerable; who’ll open up space for us to fall into. Such a person will gently though skilfully hold us and contain us; our emotional being, our material, and our fluxing identity. They will be the open door through which we can walk. They will be the comfortable chair where our shoulders can finally slump; where we can simply be.
Grief is a teacher, for in grief we find what everyone needs: empathy becomes us, because compassion is understood in an instant.
What we suffer makes us to know what we have always missed; a key truth for life.
The more we know about grief the less we know about life. Suddenly we don’t know half as much as we thought we know. Overnight we are less sure of ourselves, and this is a good thing. Immediately, we’re less inclined to offer flippant advice. We have finally realised the value in silence, and in simply being present when someone needs us. For, when we’re silent, then we’ll listen.
***
Grief teaches us what our hearts already have a sense for: we just need to believe we can get through this.
Grief teaches us to value those eternal things that are unchanging and immovable. Those reliable things — the things of God (faith, hope, love, joy, peace) — don’t ever let us down, for grief carries us to a greater understanding of these very things.
What makes all the difference in grief therapy is learning how God helps us, via supportive others, to self-manage.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

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