• Grief and Trauma

    A. Coping with Grief Key Points:

    • Grief is a normal and healthy reaction that occurs when you lose someone or something important. Although it is possible to delay or postpone grieving, it is not possible to avoid it altogether.
    • Grief can subside over time. However, the grieving process does not happen in a step-by step or orderly fashion. Give yourself all the time you need to identify, accept, and express your emotions.
    • Your feelings are unique. Each person handles emotions and feelings differently. find the way to deal with our emotions that fits you.
    • Support is important during the grieving process. Support comes in many forms, such as from friends and family, by participating in activities you enjoy, or through exercises to help you express your feelings, such as writing letters or keeping a journal.

    B. What can I expect during grieving?

    • Feelings of grief vary depending on your personality, past experiences, and the nature of the relationship to the individual or the loss to you.
    • Feel sadness and yearning for that person, object or situation you have lost. These feelings are central to grieving.
    • Feel worry, confusion, anger, guilt, anxiety, frustration
    • Be overly sensitive to others' behavior.
    • React strongly to seemingly minor losses or changes when they trigger feelings of grief over your major loss.
    • Feel insecure and alone, and want to isolate yourself from others.

    C. How do I manage my grief?

    Writing about how you feel may stimulate thinking, deepen your understanding and prompt you to reflect.

    • Set aide time to write
    • Choose a private comfortable place to do your writing.
    • Choose a method for writing. You may choose to write a letter to your loved one, for example, a poem or story.
    • Don't worry about how well you write. Write about everyday occurrences or conversations you have had.
    • Write what you feel. Don't screen your thoughts; give yourself permission to write whatever comes to mind. Strong feelings ( such as fear, anger or frustration) may arise.
    • Write about simple pleasures and joys you have experienced, too. If you have concerns about your strong feelings, talk with a trusted friend, member of the clergy or mental health professional.

    D. Accept Your feelings.

    • Express Your Emotions - This is not a sign of weakness. Many times we feel that we might lose control ourselves, but this is usually not the case.
    • Talk with other people about how you feel - Talk with someone you trust, your health professional, or mental health professional about your concerns.
    • Be Patient and Kind to Yourself - Your feelings may be unpredictable and uncomfortable. Remind yourself that your uncomfortable feelings are expected and will fade as time goes on.

    Facts About Trauma in Children/Adolescents and the Role of Parent and Counselor

    • Trauma occurs when there is a sudden death, accident, natural disaster where the victim had no prior indication that something were to occur.
    • The difference between grief and trauma is TERROR. The victim is terrorized showing signs of anxiety and depression, while the griever may be sad or show signs of depression.
    • Parents and other adults have the potential to perpetuate more trauma in child, if their response in appropriate, they distort or withhold facts all together.
    • Parents and counselors may find it extremely helpful if they work through their own personal trauma in order to respond appropriately to the traumatized child and family.
    • Parents and other adults need to provide children/adolescents a feeling of safety, support, reassurance and understanding.
    • Common Emotional Responses to trauma include: Anxiety, Guilt, Powerlessness, Helplessness, Worry, Sadness, Anger, Denial.
      Any child who is old enough to laugh is old enough to experience trauma. A child/Adolescent need not be a witness to be traumatized. A child can be traumatized even though he/she doesn't understand what happened. Exposure to violent and non-violent incidents can lead to trauma. Trauma can be a delayed reaction to past events.

    Counselors and Parents Can Help By:
    Understanding that terror may be driving the child's/adolescent's behavior

    1. Be Patient - child/teen will not return to his/her normal self right away.
    2. Normalize - reinforce that you understand that his/her reactions are not unusual following his/her experience.
    3. Be Nurturing - Give child/teens fewer demands, spend more individual time with him/her.
    4. Keep it Simple - A terrorized child/teen may find it difficult to concentrate and be forgetful.