“We bereaved are not alone. We belong to the largest company in all the world — the company of those who have known suffering.” — Helen Keller
Although grief is most often associated with emotions in response to a death, my clinical training and experience have made it evident to me that we can experience grief due to the loss of a person, pet, ideals, culture, disappointment in life’s trajectory, a non-death related end of a relationship, chronic illness, and so many more common, but painful experiences in life. Grief, loss, and emotional pain in relationships are ubiquitous with living and by no means have to be linear.
Irvin Yalom identified death, freedom, isolation, and meaninglessness as the four givens of our existence and mourning can manifest itself in many of these moments.
My approach to psychotherapy, particularly when it comes to grief work, is existential and attachment based. This means I believe that processing grief offers an opportunity to reflect and reevaluate one's existence, relationship with our own mortality, and searching for meaning at a time when it can all feel meaningless.
Attachment theory notes the importance of our personal relationship history and our earliest bonds with important people who impact the way we respond in relationships throughout our life. Grief is viewed as the process of adjusting to the separation from an important figure in our life.
The main therapeutic goal of my practice is to attain a connection with the person in front of me and to establish a relationship in which you feel seen, heard, and understood.
Loss can be disorienting, so part of the work is a meaning-making expedition through reflection on our relationships, values, and life’s purpose, while working on healing around grief, reconnecting with others, and finding new meanings and ways to exist in the world.
“Our wounds are often the openings into the best and most beautiful part of us.”
― David Richo