Everyone endures loss during their lives. However, despite the universal nature of this experience, the process of working through grief and healing from loss can vary greatly depending on the individual and the circumstances of the loss. In some cases, people may need professional support to regain a sense of well-being and healthy functioning after a devastating loss or loss-related trauma.
At The Refuge, A Healing Place, we’re proud to support adults age 18 and older who are struggling with concerns relating to grief and loss. We offer expert treatment for grief in a caring and trauma-informed setting in Ocklawaha, Florida, near Orlando.
About Grief & Loss-Related Trauma
Everybody experiences grief and loss differently. If you’ve lost a loved one, the way you experience the loss may be influenced by the closeness of the relationship, the nature and type of the relationship, and the nature of the loss. When the loss involves a challenging life situation, such as a job loss or divorce, your reaction may be affected by how significant the situation was to you, if it provided you with a sense of purpose, and how you feel that the loss may influence others’ opinions of you. Your unique struggles with grief and loss can also be the product of other factors, including your coping methods, life experiences, personality, culture, and religious beliefs, and the social rules that dictate accepted manners of grieving.
Sometimes, people experience loss in relation to an acutely traumatic experience, such as the unexpected or untimely death of a loved one. Going through a traumatic loss can affect the time frame and manner of someone’s grieving and make them more vulnerable to developing a prolonged form of grief or a mental health disorder.
Learn About Grief & Grieving After Loss
Grief differs from person to person and situation to situation. There is no one-size-fits-all definition of grief. However, there are some common experiences and challenges people may face when they are going through the grieving process. People who are struggling with grief may feel sad or cry, feel extremely tired, have difficulty sleeping, and lose their appetite. They may also have difficulty concentrating, paying attention, making decisions, and remembering things. Some people may withdraw from friends and loved ones, preferring to be alone. Others may stay home for long periods of time or feel the need to get out of the house constantly.
Any individual experience of grief and loss can cause intense stress and emotional pain. Feelings of shock, helplessness, and anger are common. Additionally, people may grapple with guilt, shame, regret, isolation, and overwhelming sorrow as they navigate the process of healing from grief.
For many people, the intensity of grief resolves over time, and they can resume regular activities and relationships using healthy coping skills. However, when grief interferes with daily life, seeking grief treatment, including grief therapy, can help people find deeper and more lasting healing.
What Is Complicated Grief?
Grief is a natural and often unavoidable reaction to loss. Many professionals regard 12 months as an approximate time frame for normal, or healthy, grieving. However, based on a person’s culture and the type of loss, some people may experience normal grief for a longer period.
When a person who is grieving begins to experience other more intense forms of grief, such as intrusive thoughts and images of the deceased person, denial of the loved one’s death, imagining that the deceased is still alive, or a physically painful yearning for the loved one’s presence, they may be suffering from complicated grief. When the indicators of grief linger and become debilitating, normal grief can become complicated grief, and seeking complicated grief treatment may be crucial for restoring a person’s well-being.
Complicated grief has features similar to both posttraumatic stress disorder and depression. The following behaviors and experiences may indicate that someone is struggling with complicated grief and might benefit from complicated grief treatment:
- Intense grief lasting longer than 12 months
- Constant yearning for the individual or situation lost
- Frequent crying
- Becoming preoccupied or fixated on the individual or situation lost
- Becoming fixated on the way the deceased died
- Having difficulty accepting the loss
- Disbelief that the loss occurred
- Distressing memories of the lost individual or situation
- Self-blame for the loss, though the individual could not have prevented it
- Difficulty thinking positively about the person or situation
- Avoiding reminders of the person or situation
- Trouble trusting others
- A sense of detachment from others
- Belief that it’s impossible to function without the individual or situation
- Feeling that life no longer has meaning
- Decreased self-esteem
- Difficulty identifying one’s role in life
- Difficulty planning for the future
- Loss of desire to pursue interests or engage in previously enjoyable activities
- Severe anxiety or depression
- Thoughts of suicide
When someone experiences persistent and debilitating grief in response to the loss of a loved one, they may receive a diagnosis of prolonged grief disorder. Prolonged grief disorder involves one or both of the following: persistent feelings of longing for the loved one who has passed and intense preoccupation with thoughts of that person. Prolonged grief disorder includes many of the same features as complicated grief and causes significant distress and impairment in daily life.
Everyone deserves to move forward from grief in a healthy and life-affirming way. If you find that grief has affected your ability to live a full, happy, and productive life, getting care at a grief treatment center may help. Treatment for complicated grief or prolonged grief disorder can involve therapy, education, and other personalized approaches that are designed to help you build a more fulfilling future.
Traumatic Grief & Therapy
Traumatic grief is a form of grieving that can occur after an intensely traumatic loss, such as a violent or troubling death or a sudden loss that causes intense fear, despair, or loss of security. Someone’s reaction to traumatic grief may be influenced by factors like whether they witnessed the event or experienced a personal threat to their safety. The reactions that may occur after a traumatic event involving the death of a loved one include persistent preoccupation with the traumatic nature of the death, increasing fixation on the death that is triggered by reminders of the individual, and intense focus on the last moments of the deceased.
If your bereavement feels overwhelming or interferes with your day-to-day well-being, our residential grief treatment center in Ocklawaha, Florida, can help you process your loss and begin to live a happier and healthier life. Our multidisciplinary staff of professionals has expertise in providing treatment for grief and the impacts of trauma. Depending on your unique needs and the assessment you receive at our treatment place, you may participate in a range of traditional and experiential therapies for managing grief and reclaiming a safe and healthy future.
Treatment for Grief & Loss Concerns at The Refuge
At our grief treatment center, our professionals are versed in various trauma-focused therapeutic approaches, including accelerated resolution therapy and narrative exposure therapy. We recognize that everyone must cope with losing someone or something they love, and for some, this experience can be traumatic, especially if it follows a lifetime of stressful events. We approach grief treatment with compassion and care, ensuring that we don’t minimize or judge anyone’s experiences.
Our grief treatment center offers many different therapeutic techniques to help you process your loss so that you can move forward with your life. You’ll work with a dedicated care team to create a personalized grief treatment plan for your stay at our safe and supportive facility. Your treatment team may suggest evidence-based therapies as well as complementary modalities for your care.
At our Ocklawaha center, your grief treatment plan can include:
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – Through CBT, our professionals can help you challenge and replace negative thought patterns with healthier ways of coping.
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) – DBT draws on principles of cognitive behavioral therapy and incorporates strategies of mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and emotion regulation to help you respond effectively to challenges, relate better to others, and cope with stress.
Family therapy – We recognize that families and loved ones may be crucial in supporting you as you adjust to your loss and plan for the future. Additionally, family members may need help to process their own loss-related emotions and grieve. Sharing the bereavement process with your loved ones at our treatment center can be a powerful opportunity for accessing support and healing.
Group therapy – Daily group therapy can be an important part of the healing process at our grief treatment place. We offer a wide range of topics and group types, including groups that explore the grief process.
Experiential therapy – While traditional approaches for treating grief can be helpful, some individuals may also experience powerful healing through experiential and body-based modalities. The experiential therapies we offer at our grief treatment center in Florida include:
- Expressive arts therapy
- Equine therapy
- Ropes course
- Trauma-informed yoga
The best therapy for grief and loss-related concerns will depend on the individual and their needs. So, at The Refuge, we evaluate each person’s progress throughout treatment and adjust their grief treatment plan to include the therapies that may work best for them.
As the time for discharge approaches, we will work with you to create an aftercare plan that meets your continued needs for grief therapy and treatment. Our treatment center offers a partial hospitalization program, which may meet your continuing needs. However, some people feel that they have made enough progress in residential care to continue the healing process on a regular outpatient basis. If appropriate, we will help you set up an outpatient treatment schedule and schedule your first appointment with the therapist. We can also connect you with support groups, experiential resources for healing, and other structured services as needed.
Getting treatment for grief may feel scary. But it can be a major milestone on the path to hope and healing after a loss. Everyone’s struggles with grief are unique — and receiving treatment for grief can be a valid part of the healing process.
This content was written on behalf of and reviewed by the clinical staff at The Refuge, A Healing Place.