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Healing Traumatic Loss of Loved Ones and Grief

Getting Through the Pains to the Memory

A woman in her late 40s approached me after a presentation at a conference and asked for help dealing with the loss of her son, who had died three years earlier. A young man in his early 20s, he had been killed in an industrial accident. She was an experienced mental health professional and was able to describe to me her sense of being stuck in her grief. She said she was unable to move beyond the overwhelming pain she felt whenever she started to think of her son.

"How may I help?" I asked. As soon as she began to respond to my question, her tears started flowing and a look of pain spread across her face.

Without further prompting, I led her through a Thought Field Therapy treatment sequence, and calm returned to her face and the tears slowed. I then asked, "What happened to your son?" and immediately the look of pain returned. After another treatment sequence, she was able to describe for me the emotions that had lifted her when I asked the question. She said my question reminded her that he was gone and she was without him, and this caused her to feel generally overwhelmed. Each time she became conscious of her loss, her focus of attention then led her to imagine how he died. She wonders about the moments before his death, the pain he may have felt, the thoughts he probably had, and the feelings he experienced dying alone.

As she talked about her understanding of how he died while doing the work he loved, the pain returned to her face and she started to cry again, this time very hard. Her upset now was associated with the fact that she had encouraged her son to pursue this work that he loved and also was good at doing. After an additional tapping treatment, she was able to talk about her guilt as irrational and put these feeling in a manageable place.

As we talked more about her son and their relationship, we had to tap for the anger she felt about some relationship choices he had made. With the anger and guilty gone, she was able to speak about her love for her son, and this again started her tears flowing, this time accompanied by deep powerful sobs. I offered immediately to do another Thought Field Therapy treatment, but she denied any further help. Instead she said, "This is where I have been trying to get to for three years.

Grieving is painful, and suffering through loss is hard work. Not even Thought Field Therapy can alter this reality. Tapping can manage the overwhelming pain and, by so doing, allow you to consciously engage in the process of integrating your loss. That's what it accomplished for this woman.

I received a post card about six months later from this mother reporting that she was doing much better. She was grieving, but no longer felt stuck in the process, and had finished a couple of projects done in her son's name. These projects had been started right after his death; previously she had been unable to complete them, because thinking about her son had been too painful at that time. She was able to do the work of grieving, and to honor her son by finishing the projects, because Thought Field Therapy provided her with a way to manage her pain when it became too great. To fully integrate her loss, she had to be able to feel her love for her son and accept her life as changed now that he was physically absent from it- something all survivors of loss must do.

Traumatic stressor events almost always result in some kind of loss, and when we lose something, we most often feel a sense of grief. Your traumatic experience may have resulted in the loss of a loved one, regardless of the nature of that love. Maybe you lost your way of being in the world, because the traumatic stressor event changed your body or how you relate to yourself, to others, or to the world. Possibly what you went through caused you to lose a dream for the future or a sense of control over your day-to-day life. When you lose that which you value, appreciate, or love, you naturally feel emotional pain. You also may feel finished by what is gone, as if you as a person are less than you were before.

While you may grieve over any of these losses, the loss of a loved one presents one of the most difficult to overcome and the most universally painful human response. Although, our nature compels us to keep moving forward on our journey, to keep living beyond a loss of human life, doing so may seem excruciatingly hard.

If you get stuck in your grief, Thought Field Therapy will help you feel less controlled by your emotions and assist you in moving to a place of emotional safety. From that more secure place, you can gain knowledge about your experience and understand the direction in which your life is moving.

If you have suffered a loss, the answers to the following questions provide you with a way to begin evaluating your level of emotional upset and your ability to actively engage in grieving.

o Does the pain of your loss keep you from remembering and enjoying the joy of what you had?

o Does the fear of experiencing your feelings of sadness, hopelessness, isolation, rage, guilt, stop you from remembering the joy and love that you once shared with the loved one who died?

o Has out-of-control behavior interfereed with your remembering the joy and love that you once shared with the loved one who died?

o Have your efforts to cope with your loss of a loved one involved such mechanisms as denial, avoidance, or anger and, therefore, stopped you from honoring or commemorating their life and death?

Stay Engaged in the Grief Process

The death of a loved one often represents a tragic event, especially if the death comes unexpectedly, as in a random car crash. We almost always experience the untimely death of a loved one as a traumatic stressor event, and the death of a child, no matter what our relationship with that child, never feels right or feels to fit into any sense of universal order or justice.

No matter how much you might want to dwell on the past or linger in what could have or might have been, becoming functional after such a loss requires that you come to accept the reality of the event and not get stuck in the then and there and its overwhelming feelings of pain and loss. You must not let this misery or your attempts to avoid reminders of your anguish shut down your grieving. Through this book, the principles of the NOW recovery process emphasize the critical role of your participation in healing. Thought Field Therapy removes the overwhelming upset that companies the loss of a loved one and allows you to connect to the actual grieving process, which has a huge curative energy with your active engagement.

Of course, Thought Field Therapy can help you reduce your truly overpowering grief, but you still will have to grieve. Feeling your sadness and the loss itself can not be avoided when someone you love dies. However, the NOW recovery process can help you work through your grief. Using the Now process, you can navigate through the overwhelming feelings that stop you from moving forward with your life or that drive you to unreasonable actions after the loss. Then, you must observe the relationship you have (or had) to what or who you lost and understand what it meant to you and what part it played in your life. Until you can do so, you can not know the full impact the loss has had on you and your life. Last, but most important to the grief process, you have to find ways to work wisely towards choices that allow you to move forward with integrity despite the loss.

Knowing You Are Alive to Feel the Loss

The most common problem associated with grief arises when people do not grieve. When a person comes looking for help with their grief, the first question I ask is, "How are you grieving?" Most commonly I receive the following response: "It hurts too much to grieve. I cry every time I remember that he or she is gone, so I try not to think about it."

Even the toughest person will manage the pain of their grief by avoiding memories of a loved one who has died, the parts of their current life that trigger such memories, or situations in which they will feel forced to share such memories with others. In fact, many people employ avoidance, a common coping mechanism, when they are griev stricken. However, to structure and reclaim your life after such a loss, it is necessary for you to take the time to be with your feelings of love for the one who has died and to integrating the fact that the person no longer is with you physically.

Grieving constituents an active process requiring your engagement. Time passively passed without your conscious awareness helps you little in this process, and time spent locked in overwhelming emotion that freezes your thinking and desires from taking action helps even less. Integrating loss into your being requires living with the reality of having been given the gift of your loved one for whatever length of time and now being without his or her physical presence.

While Thought Field Therapy provides a means of getting unstuck and using your feelings in this change process, it does not change the reality of your situation. Thought Field Therapy does not exclude you from fundamental human processes, such as grieving. You will experience loss and integrate it into your being in a manner befitting your nature. Just like most people, you will honor and experience periods of bereavement even when you have eliminated the overwhelming emotions or recurrent intrusive images or memories. However, you can honor your lost loved one only when you move beyond your overwhelming pain so that you are able to remember them with love and a deep sense of the gratitude for all they brought to your life. Take a moment and sense what you are feeling and experiencing as we discuss grief. If you have fresh losses now may be the time to tap before going on.

Source by Robert L Bray

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