How Psychologists Help Grieving People Cope
Psychology is a very specialized field that encompasses a lot of science and medicine. It is basically very unique in that it borders these two empirical enterprises like no other scientific discipline out there. This is why psychology has such a solid reputation, and why many people suffering from mental health issues, anxiety, grief, and other issues seek out the help of a psychologist to get through their troubles. It’s not an easy, guaranteed thing, of course, and there’s no certainty in it like with a mathematical formula. Though with the hard work and dedication from all the many practitioners of clinical psychology out there, millions of people find the help they need every year.
One of the things in life with which we need the most help is grief. Typically brought on by the loss of a loved one, though also prevalent in many people due to divorces and break-ups, terminal diagnoses, and other instances, many of us need help coping with grief. This is one of the things that are certainly within the purview of psychologists. But how does a psychologist help one cope with grief? Here are a few ways by which a trained psychologist is able to help individuals cope with their grieving process.
Ways a Psychologist Can Assist with Grief
Helping You Understand and Rationalize
One of the hardest things to do when dealing with grief is to understand why something happened. This is especially true when dealing with the loss of a loved one. Many people feel as if life has something personal against them and has robbed them of love and happiness. This can lead to some serious delusional thought processes which are in no way healthy. They can lead to serious self-harm and even the harm of others. A psychologist can help a grieving individual rationalize and mentally process that something devastating has indeed happened to them, but not because of them.
Helping with Dark, Depressive Thoughts
People stricken with grief often turn to depression. Feelings of worthlessness, loneliness and the feeling that there’s no point to life can really start leading to some very dark thoughts. The problem that most people end up having with these dark thoughts is that they don’t just go away. The thoughts become more frequent, and they get darker and darker. Psychologists are very adept at helping with this sort of issue that arises due to grief. They can help individuals get away from the dark, depressing thoughts and to start focusing on happier thoughts again.
Helping Cope with Anxiety
Another issue that can, unfortunately, arise from grief is anxiety. Some people might start feeling a little nervous and a little out of sorts, while others can go into full-on panic attacks and lose consciousness. Either way, you’re thinking here about anxiety; it’s not a good thing to deal with. It can be very crippling. People who develop anxiety disorders are considered disabled, because that’s how mentally crippling anxiety can be. Working to cope with your grief can also help you to alleviate some of that anxiety that’s building and harming your life.
Helping with Identity Issues
One potential problem with losing a loved one, especially when men lose their fathers, is having an identity crisis. Those existential questions of “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” are really just precursors to uncontrollable feelings of dread, which manifest themselves into things like anxiety and depression, which can turn suicidal. This is really a testament to the power of grief over the human mind. However, a qualified psychologist is fully aware of this and can help individuals who are dealing with questions of their identity. This issue certainly plagues more than men; women and nonbinary people also suffer with these issues; we’re just pointing out it’s more common in men.
Through it all, what a psychologist is trying to assist a grief-striken individual with is reclaiming their sense of normality. Sure, after the grief abates enough for the individual to adjust, it’s a “new” normal, to be sure, but it’s still a place of stable mental health that a psychologist will assist with.
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