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Signs of complicated grief

Updated: Jan 17, 2023

A close loved ones death is intended to lead into a season of mourning where the loss brings a mix of emotions from shock, denial, anger, fear, anxiety, panic and guilt, eventually moving into acceptance and discovering new strengths, new relationships, new patterns and eventually an ability to help and comfort others. A successful resolution of mourning is the openness to love again. The Russian writer Tolstoy expressed ' Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them'.

What are some signs that you may not be moving through this process and need additional support:

Speaking of the person or a minor event triggers intense fresh grief, the theme of loss keeps coming up as being unresolved, unwillingness to remove any items of the person after a long period of time has passed or tossing everything out straight after the funeral, experiencing physical symptoms of the person, for example on the anniversary of their death from a heart attack, experiencing intense pain in the chest that has no medical reason. Radical changes in lifestyle very soon after the death, phobia around illness or death. Understanding the reason for not being able to resolve the grief and moving through this painful time can be helped in the counselling process, to learn supportive behaviours that strengthen the soul to move through this difficult season and find joy again in life.

Sourced from

Worden, J.W.Grief Counselling and Grief Therapy 5th edition.

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