Grief is the process through which our organism, both physically and emotionally, returns to balance after suffering a loss of any kind: from the death of a loved one, to a migration, divorce or separation. Deaths are the most frequent causes of grief, and it is necessary to find that balance that makes us function in a healthy way.
The grieving process, if it is healthy, will take place naturally but not without pain or negative emotions. This period will last for a specific period of time and will end in the placement of all those emotions in their place, leaving a scar but clean and healed.
Stages of grief
We can distinguish up to five phases or stages of grief, proposed by Dr. Elisabeth Kübler Ross:
1. Denial: We do not want to or cannot accept the situation. It is a stage of defense against the frightening situation.
2. Anger: The individual becomes angry with the environment and the situation, and asks questions such as “Why me? or “What have I done?
3. Negotiation: The individual tries to remedy the situation by making agreements with him/herself. Often we ask for the impossible or what is beyond our reach.
4. Depression: Process understood as a phase, characterized by sadness, lack of motivation and disconnection from the environment.
5. Acceptance: The individual relocates all emotions in order to continue with his life in a healthy and balanced way.
The phases do not have to occur in that order, but may overlap or even not occur at all.
Benefits of seeing a specialist
Professional help is essential in a pathological grief process, as it can contaminate our whole life, preventing us from functioning in a balanced way. After promoting a correct bonding with the patient, the professional will accompany him/her on the path of grief to help in the emotional recovery process. To do this, we perform four tasks:
1. Accepting the reality of the loss
2. Working on the emotions and their pain
3. Adaptation to a new environment with that absence
4. Repositioning the object of the loss in order to continue functioning healthily.
We should go to a professional when we observe that the pain interferes directly in our daily life and after some time the intensity of the pain has not diminished. The grieving process ends when we begin to think about the loss with sadness and not with pain, blockage or despair.