Worrying: Why We Do It

WorryingCan all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things? (Luke 12:25-26, New Living Translation)

Worrying is a common part of the human existence. So common, Jesus himself felt the need to address the frivolousness of it. Those who worry understand it is not helpful, but why, then, do we continue to do it? Most actions that are repeated are continued because, in some way, they serve a purpose. What purpose does worrying serve?

Fear

For some, the purpose of worry is to reduce fear.  This fear can be of the unknown or the possibility of something happening (Backus & Chapian, 1981). For example, you may be unsure of where you will work after you graduate. Therefore, you worry about how you will find a job. Maybe your son is going on a trip overseas, and you find yourself worrying about him being robbed or getting lost. The first example discussed is the fear of the unknown while the second example consisted of fear of what may happen. How does worry reduce fear? Through worrying, most people develop a plan of how to resolve the issue he or she is worried about. This plan creates a false sense of control.

The feeling of being in control is powerful. When you feel in control, you feel safe, positive, and prepared. The sense of not being in control is difficult for everyone. However, this false sense of control worrying creates is not real.

Have you ever noticed most situations do not turn out the way in which you worried about them? You find even though you thought you worried about every worst case scenario, there is one you did not think about (Backus & Chapian, 1981). Worrying steals your energy and leaves you exhausted to deal with the real event. While worrying may appear to reduce fear, in actuality, it is a thief of useful resources.

Avoidance

The concept of using worry to be avoidant may be a new idea for many of you reading this article. How can worrying about something make you avoidant?  While you may hate the fact you worry, it may actually be more comforting than facing the problem itself.

Worrying may be so ingrained in your routine, it actually serves a purpose of helping you avoid situations or emotions you believe are too difficult to deal with (Backus & Chapian, 1981). For example, you may allow yourself to worry about your finances instead of creating a budget or thinking about the fight you had with your spouse last night. To truly understand if you use worry to avoid, you will have to be willing to evaluate your motives for worrying.

Worrying not only serves the purpose of avoidance, but it can also lead to learned helplessness. Learned helplessness refers to a false sense of inability to solve problems due to previous failures.  It is learned helplessness because, in actuality, you are not helpless. You have learned to believe you are helpless.

How does this pertain to worrying?

  1. When you worry, you feel a lack of control.
  2. Worrying makes you believe the only way to control the situation is to worry about it.
  3. Worrying may lead to avoidance of events or things that worry you. If you never face the content of your worries, you will never know your capacity to overcome your negative thoughts (Backus & Chapian, 1981).
  4. Avoidance can lead to learned helplessness. If you never take a risk to face the unknown, you start to believe you have no control over things that happen to you. You believe you are helpless. In reality, you have control if only you would try.

The following is an example of this concept:  You have a co-worker who seems rude to you when you ask for help. Whenever you try to ask her a question, her answers are short and sometimes she ignores you. Due to these interactions, you find yourself worrying about what you say to this co-worker. Actually, you find yourself avoiding her. You feel you have no control over the interactions because she is the one being rude. Therefore, you do not try to talk with her about your concerns. You believe you are helpless when, in actuality, you are not. While you cannot control this co-worker’s actions, you can express your frustrations about her reactions to you. This is one way you have control. You have control over addressing the issue or avoiding. You may avoid this situation because confrontation and how your co-worker may react is more frightening than dealing with the worry. In this example, telling yourself you have no control or there is nothing you can do is learned helplessness. You have control if only you would face your fear of talking with your co-worker.


The insight obtained through understanding the purpose worrying serves can be helpful in reducing the worry you experience. You cannot work on something you do not understand. More importantly, knowing the purpose of your worry can help you replace worry with healthier ways to get your needs met.

Rather than worrying to gain control of the situation, take steps toward having an actual level of control. If you have realized worrying helps you avoid, identify the things you are avoiding and why you are avoiding them.  This removes some of their power over you. Jesus not only spoke about the frivolousness of worrying, but He also spoke about the hope He provides:

 “And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?” (Luke 12:28, New Living Translation).

If you or someone you know struggles with worrying or anxiety, please contact The Relationship Center. We have professionals who know how to help.

 anxiety counselorsOver 1,700 families in southwest Missouri trust the counselors of The Relationship Center to serve their counseling needs. With more than 18,500 hours of therapy in the last 5 years alone TRC counselors have the experience that can make the difference. We specialize in Biblically Christian and Clinically Proven Counseling provided by Licensed Professionals. Session fees range from $75-$125 and we have payment plans & scholarships to meet every budget. Have more questions? Click Here to Learn More About Anxiety Counseling at The Relationship Center

Reference

Backus, W., & Chapian, M. (1981). Misbelief in anxiety. Telling yourself the truth (pp. 63-77). Grand Rapids, MI: Bethany House Publishers.

Loneliness and Being Single: What He Can and Cannot Do For You

Single & DatingIt seems there is an unspoken rule in the world of women that states if you are single, there must be something wrong with you.  While logically we can say that is not true, emotionally it is more difficult. I sit with women in my counseling practice struggling with this mentality. Due to past hurtful relationships, you may seek relationships that meet your emotional needs in an unhealthy way.

Experiencing abandonment can be more frightening than abuse. When I use the word abandonment, I am referring to when someone who is important to you has deserted you emotionally or physically. Abandonment can be real or imagined. The following list will help identify what one can get out of a relationship and what one cannot get out of a relationship.

What He Can Do

Support your Relationship with God

When looking for someone to date and even to marry, it is beneficial to find someone who shares your faith and supports you in your relationship with God. A healthy relationship is one in which people are mutually encouraging each other.  It is healthy for him to support you in your walk with the Lord.

What does this look like? A man who supports your faith will enjoy attending church services with you; he will encourage you to join a bible study and for you to spend time with other women who share your beliefs. A man you have to drag to church, refuses to attend church, wants you to skip your bible study, presses you to violate your physical boundaries, or isolates you from Godly women is not someone who supports your faith.

Companionship

The person you choose to date and eventually marry should be your companion. Companionship is important to a healthy relationship.  Building a friendship before you date is beneficial to the future of your relationship (Harris, 2003). While the feeling of being in love is great, feelings can fade quickly (Harris, 2003).

Relationships, especially romantic relationships, should not only be founded on the feelings of love but also on friendship and commitment (Harris, 2003). Relationships founded on friendship and commitment can be romantic, too.

Respect

While respect should not be demanded, it is a healthy expectation in a relationship. Respect should not be one sided. You should also respect the other person in the relationship. What is the difference between being respectful and someone who is respectable? When someone is respectable:

  • Flows out of your identification in Christ, having nothing to do with the other person.  They have a reputation within the community and church of being honest, trustworthy, dependable, accountable, and loving.

When someone is respectful:

  • It is reasonable to note respect may have to be earned if either party has been disrespectful in the past. Earning respect should be a process and not an end in itself.
  • He should never call you names or use derogatory terms to refer to you
  • He should be interested in your opinions
  • He should encourage your aspirations – this does not mean agreeing with them

The way he treats you should be kind both when you are alone and with others. How can you respect him? Listen to his thoughts, concerns, and opinions. Give him space: you do not have to know where he is at all times. Do not allow your emotions to depend on his happiness.

Romance

Every woman likes a little romance now and then. It is important to keep the romance in your relationship alive to preserve the excitement. It is healthy in a relationship to want a man who can be romantic. Many women find the romantic side of a man very attractive. While I am sure many of you have dreamed of romantic dates, it is important to mention that he cannot be your savior.

There is a difference between having romance in the relationship and wanting someone who can right past wrongs.  The latter is not a healthy view of relationships and will be discussed later.  Romantic movies have a habit of portraying the idea that the right man can heal past hurts. This idea is fictional just like most of those romantic movies.

What He Cannot Do

Heal Past Hurts

Unfortunately, many women have struggled with overcoming hurts they have experienced in the past. These hurts may have been a result of relationship or personal mistakes.  No one likes to experience hurt even though it is a part of life. Most would like to get rid of the feelings of hurt as soon as possible. It can be a pattern for some women to allow a relationship to help them forget and heal the hurts. They are unaware this is one of their motives for getting into relationships.

This is an unhealthy habit because only God can heal your  heart. You cannot expect or hope that a relationship will mend emotional scars. In order to heal these types of hurt, it takes personal work at an emotional level. Many times these hurts are so deep you may need professional help to work through these past hurts developing as current struggles.

Cure fears of Abandonment

Some women have a history of being abandoned by the important people around them. If this has happened to you, it can be a scary experience to get into another relationship. In order to prevent future hurt through a failed relationship, you make sure to act in a certain way to prevent this from happening. It is important to know that not all women who have been abandoned will react in the same way but a few examples include:

  • Wanting to spend all your time with him,
  • Making sure you know where he is at all times
  • Checking his phone for messages from other girls
  • Behaving in such a way that always keeps him happy.

Along with wanting to prevent abandonment, some women may fantasize about a perfect relationship which will cure abandonment.  Thoughts such as these may stress that finding the right type of man will erase issues with abandonment. These thoughts and fantasies put the control over the issue in the hands of the man you are dating or want to date.

It is not his responsibility or in his control to cure your fears of abandonment. This leads to control on the part of the woman. You are the only one who has responsibility and control over your fears of abandonment.  The only way to cure these fears is to acknowledge them and work through them yourself.

Rescue You

Earlier we discussed romance is healthy in a dating relationship. Sometimes along with the romance idea, women can equate this with a knight in shining armor who will come and rescue her from all her troubles. While romance in a relationship is healthy, hoping that a man can rescue you from your problems is not. No matter how great a guy he is or how great the relationship, he cannot erase the past.

If you were hoping this would happen, you will be disappointed in every relationship. No man or relationship can rescue you from the issues you face or the hurts that you have experienced. Once again, you are the only one can work through these issues.

Be Your “Project”

There’s this guy that is really cute and you want to date him, but you feel there are a few problems with him. You think to yourself, “If I date him I can help improve him. Then he will be marriage material.” Have you ever thought like this? Or has it been something like “If I date him, I can help him find the Lord, and then we would be perfect for one another.”

If any of you have tried to fulfill these thoughts, you find things do not go as planned. Maybe you help him accept Jesus as his savior, but then you find other things that you dislike about him. It is important to remember that if you think a man you want to date needs to be fixed, you should not be dating him.

What would it be like if you dated someone who felt like he needed to fix you? How would that make you feel? While you may really like someone and feel it is your job to help him change, this is not the purpose a relationship.  Not to mention, you have no control over whether he changes and you will never have control over his behavior. No mother wants to have romance with her son.  A relationship should be uplifting and supportive rather than negative and harmful.

If you or someone you know is struggling with loneliness, contact The Relationship Center. There are professionals who know how to help.

Reference
Harris, J. (2003). I kissed dating goodbye. Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah Books.

family-250x250Over 1,400 families in southwest Missouri trust the counselors of The Relationship Center to serve their counseling needs. With more than 14,000 hours of therapy in the last 5 years alone TRC counselors have the experience that can make the difference. We specialize in Biblically Christian and Clinically Proven Counseling provided by Licensed Professionals. Session fees range from $75-$125 and we have payment plans & scholarships to meet every budget. Have more questions? Click Here to Learn More About Family Counseling at The Relationship Center

Getting to Know Your Anxiety Disorder

We all experience anxiety.We all deal with anxiety. At times it can be a good thing; it helps us meet deadlines and to know when we’re in danger. Other times, it can be a nuisance. If you experience anxiety on a regular basis that interrupts your daily activities, you may suffer from an anxiety disorder. The following are a few of the most common anxiety disorders diagnosed in adults.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Someone who has OCD would experience recurring and persistent thoughts about things . For example, the person may obsess about cleanliness or checking on specific things around the house. The second part of OCD consists of compulsions which silence the obsessive thoughts.

Going along with our example, someone may clean a specific part of their body numerous times per day which would dry out their skin and interrupt other responsibilities. Someone who checks things may check to make sure the stove is off 20 times before they leave the house. The thoughts are obsessions while the actions are compulsions. Most importantly, the thinking and actions interrupt daily functioning.

Social Phobia

This disorder is characterized by an intense fear of social situations where one comes into contact with unfamiliar people or scrutiny of others. Due to this fear, a person with social anxiety will avoid these situations in order to reduce the anxiety. Someone with social anxiety will fear that they will act in a certain way that makes others have a poor opinion of them.

For example, someone with social anxiety would avoid their significant other’s work party because they are fearful of being around people they do not know and acting in a way that may make others laugh or question their actions.

Specific Phobia

Someone experiencing this type of anxiety disorder would experience fear or anxiety over a specific object or situation. The specific object or situation almost always produces fear or anxiety that makes you actively seek to avoid the object or situation. Characteristics of a specific phobia are as follows:

  • The fear or anxiety is extreme compared to the actual danger that can be caused by the object or situation.
  • The fear or anxiety has lasted for at least 6 months
  • The fear or anxiety causes impairment in your everyday functioning.

An example of a specific phobia would be someone with an extreme fear of needles. Someone who has a specific phobia with needles would avoid them at all cost. They would avoid hospitals, doctors offices, tattoo parlors, any place where they would come in contact with needles. As you can see, this would interrupt their functioning due to being unable to see a doctor without extreme anxiety. The person may fear death or extreme sickness if stuck with a needle, and they may have to be held down at the doctor’s office.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

With this disorder, a person has difficulty controlling excessive anxiety over a number of events or activities. Physical symptoms of GAD include:

  • Restlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Muscle Tension
  • Sleep Disturbance

The key to this disorder is an excessive amount of anxiety. Someone with GAD would worry excessively about finances, losing their job, the car breaking down, whether they are being a good parent, and coping with difficulties that arise.

Panic Disorder

This disorder is characterized by experiencing unexpected panic attacks. A panic attack is an abrupt surge of intense fear or discomfort that intensifies within minutes. Someone suffering from a panic attack may experience some of the following physical symptoms:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Sweating and shaking
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feelings of choking
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea and dizziness
  • Chills or heat sensations,
  • Numbness
  • Fear of losing control or dying
  • Feelings of being detached from oneself

Another part of this disorder consists of fear of having another panic attack or a change in behavior due to the panic attack.

Agoraphobia

Someone experiencing this disorder would experience anxiety or fear about at least two of the following situations: using public transportation, being in open spaces, being in enclosed spaces, being in a crowd, or being outside of their home alone. The person would avoid these situations because they are fearful that escape from any one of them may be impossible or assistance may not be available if panic symptoms occur.

These situations almost always produce anxiety or fear causing them to be actively avoided. Also, the fear or anxiety is exaggerated in regard to the actual danger present in the situation. These symptoms typically last for at least 6 months and interrupt the person’s functioning.

For example, someone may be fearful of crowds and being outside their home alone. They would avoid leaving their home and being in crowded places. If they came in contact with a crowded place or were alone outside their home, they would experience extreme anxiety and fear. As you can see, this would make it very difficult to hold a job or even shop for everyday items.

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Anxiety disorders are often co-morbid (meaning they happen alongside other disorders) like eating disorders (See How Anxiety Fuels Eating Disorders).

If you believe you are suffering from an anxiety disorder, please seek the opinion of a mental health professional. We have many professionals at The Relationship Center that are experienced in diagnosing and treating anxiety disorders. Please call us today.

 

anxiety counselorsOver 1,400 families in southwest Missouri trust the counselors of The Relationship Center to serve their counseling needs. With more than 14,000 hours of therapy in the last 5 years alone TRC counselors have the experience that can make the difference. We specialize in Biblically Christian and Clinically Proven Counseling provided by Licensed Professionals. Session fees range from $75-$125 and we have payment plans & scholarships to meet every budget. Have more questions? Click Here to Learn More About Anxiety Counseling at The Relationship Center

Reference

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing.

Depression in Women

Depression in women can great affect their daily lives: it is important to understand the symptoms and treatment options available.

Women are two times more likely than men to experience depression. In fact, about 20% of all women will experience depression at some point during their life. This article will educate you about the symptoms of depression seen specifically in women and how these symptoms may look in a woman’s daily life.

Symptoms of Depression Experienced By Women

Depression in women is characterized by feelings of inadequacy, lack of energy, and anxiety. The following are symptoms reported by women experiencing depression:

  1. Being overly emotional, more than normally experienced.
  2. Having difficulty enjoying things they used to like.
  3. Feeling inadequate as a wife, mother, and at work.
  4. Thoughts of being a burden to others and wondering what it would be like if they were not in the picture.
  5. Sleeping too much or not at all.
  6. Not taking care of their body or being overly anxious about how they look.
  7. Increased worry and anxiety over everyday tasks and decisions.
  8. Lack of energy for daily tasks.

The information below contains a more in-depth overview of how these symptoms look on a daily basis in the lives of women experiencing depression:

1. Being overly emotional, more than normally experienced

Women experiencing depression report not feeling in control of their emotions. Things they could normally shrug off can trigger a mood of sadness and hurt, or even bring them to tears. As much as they try, it feels impossible to be in control again.

2. Having difficulty enjoying things they used to like

Things a depressed woman used to enjoy do not seem appealing even though she knows they were enjoyable in the past. A depressed woman may know she enjoys spending time with friends, but it can be difficult to manage just getting out of bed and getting dressed.

3. Feeling inadequate as a wife, mother, and at work

A lack of confidence defines a depressed woman’s life. She may not feel like she is desirable to her husband. She may feel like she does not take adequate care of her children, or she may feel incompetent in her workplace. These thoughts can be untrue, but a depressed woman will often still believe them and feel this way.

4. Thoughts of being a burden to others and wondering what it would be like if they were not in the picture

These thoughts are not necessarily suicidal, but they still indicate that the woman questions her worth to others. Feeling like a burden or nuisance to others is significant. Depressed women often do not feel valued or feel that they have let down the important people in their life.

5. Sleeping too much or not at all

When depressed, some women report being tired all the time. They can sleep 8, 10, or even 12 hours and still feel like they need a nap. On the other hand, some women have difficulty falling asleep due to worry, troublesome thoughts, and extreme emotion.

6. Not taking care of their body or feeling overly anxious about how they look

It is important to note that all women feel insecure about their bodies at times, but with regards to depression, this feeling can be amplified. In many cases, depressed women want to take care of themselves, but have difficulty actually doing it (i.e. they are held back by the other symptoms of depression). On the other hand, some women become overly obsessed with how they look to a harmful degree. This symptom may be characterized by exercising and eating (or not eating) to an obsessive degree.

7. Increased worry and anxiety over everyday tasks and decisions

Women who are depressed a prone to excessive worry about many aspects of their lives. These include how they are viewed by others, social interaction, job performance, and parenting skills. Making decisions can also be difficult due to questioning their thoughts and instincts. A simple decision—such as where to have dinner—can be too difficult to find a solution.

8. Lack of energy for daily tasks

Tasks that used to be easy can be daunting and take much longer to complete for depressed women. Cleaning the house or playing with the kids may feel like an enormous task (even if they would like to do these things) because of a lack of energy. For many women, it can be difficult just to get out of bed and get ready for the day.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, please contact us. The Relationship Center has therapists who specialize in counseling women and the issues they face. We are here to help and would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Source:

Harvard Health Publications. (2011, May). Women and depression. Harvard Mental Health Letter. Retrieved August 12, 2012, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Mental_Health_Letter/2011/May/women-and-and-depression

About the Author:

September Trent, MS, PLPC is a Provisional Licensed Professional Counselor with The Relationship Center. She has a heart for “Showing God’s love through serving others.” September obtained her Bachelor’s degree in psychology and Master’s degree in counseling psychology from Evangel University. She specializes in marital therapy and working with individuals struggling with a variety of issues, including eating disorders, depression, and anxiety. September’s experience includes working with children and adolescents residing in inpatient facilities as well as completing an internship working with adults struggling with severe mental illness. She also has experience in gerontology where she has counseled individuals residing in nursing homes, provided in-home mental health services to elderly individuals, and assisted families in coping with mental illness. September and her husband have one daughter and reside in Springfield.

September Trent sees clients in Springfield Missouri.

 

depression counselorsOver 1,400 families in southwest Missouri trust the counselors of The Relationship Center to serve their counseling needs. With more than 14,000 hours of therapy in the last 5 years alone TRC counselors have the experience that can make the difference. We specialize in Biblically Christian and Clinically Proven Counseling provided by Licensed Professionals. Session fees range from $75-$125 and we have payment plans & scholarships to meet every budget. Have more questions? Click Here to Learn More About Depression Counseling at The Relationship Center

Working Through Grief, Part 2

www.yoursecretname.com

www.yoursecretname.com

Inner Struggles of Grief

 When grieving a loss, you may experience inner struggles. This article discusses common inner struggles and positive ways to work through the grieving process. It is very normal to go through the following struggles. Grieving involves feeling a mix of emotions. These emotions may occur all at once or at different times of the day or at different points of your grieving process. It is very important that you acknowledge and experience all these emotions.

Relief– This relief comes from not seeing a loved one suffer any longer or that an event is over. Most importantly, your relief comes from a calm period after a storm of pain.

Emotional Rest– You may experience emotional mood swings throughout your grieving process. Remember that no emotion is right or wrong.  You may find it helpful to write down your feelings or journal about them.

Regrets– Almost everyone has regrets of some sort.  No one is perfect, and you cannot do everything the way you hoped. It is important to examine your regrets because they may root in a deeper personal issue. It is important to give yourself some slack and forgive yourself for not doing all you had hoped. It may also be helpful to write a letter to a loved one and tell him the things you regret and the things you wish you would have told him.

The Story– The story of your loss is very significant. If it is a loss of a loved one, you may tell the story of her death many times. As time goes on, you may not tell the story at all because it is too painful. It is very important for you to tell the story because it is important for the grieving process. Telling your tale emphasizes its importance and value. It may also be helpful to write down the story and memories of the loved one lost.

Fault– When we experience a loss, we ask questions about whether the loss could have been prevented. We often blame ourselves for things we should’ve done. It is difficult to get out of this mind set. In their book On Grief and Grieving, Küber-Ross and Kessler say it well. “The real question is: If you have been spared in order to live, are you living? Can you be fully living if you don’t grieve your loss (pg. 70)?” Remember that you are responsible for yourself and your actions, not the actions of others.

Resentment– After a loss you may find yourself feeling resentment for what was lost. In regard to the loss of a loved one, you may feel resentment because the loved one did not treat you as you should have been treated. Resentment is anger that you have not dealt with or have not had the opportunity to deal with. Resentment may be resolved intellectually, but it also needs to be resolved emotionally.

Past Losses-When we experience a loss of a loved one, feelings from past losses may be brought up while you are trying to grieve the current loss. This can be confusing and frustrating. When this occurs, it means that you need to grieve two losses: the current loss and the loss from the past. For whatever reason, you may not have been ready or prepared to grieve the past loss at the time it happened. It is important that you fully grieve this loss now.

Isolation– If you do find yourself feeling isolated for a long period of time, you may need to ask for assistance from friends, family, or professionals. If you are unable to connect with friends or family, bereavement groups are help in which you are surrounded by people who understand grief.  Another idea is to start an activity that you enjoy. This may help you feel less isolated and may even help you meet new friends.

Control– When you experience a loss, you feel like you have no control. In order to feel more in control, you begin taking control of things and people in your life. It is important to know that needing this sense of control is a way to avoid experiencing grief and emotions tied with grief (sadness, anger, and fear). Be aware of the motivation behind your controlling behavior. The action of controlling may actually be hurting your grief work rather than helping it.

Strength– When you experience a loss, at least someone will tell you to “be strong.” This statement can be very irritating because it is difficult to know what is meant by this statement. Often, we think of being strong as not feeling emotions. Yet, if we do not experience emotions we can never work through grief. If you try to put off feeling emotions or ignore them completely, they will return later. The best thing you can do after a loss is sit with the emotion that you are experiencing and process through it.

Remember that you are not alone in your grief. There are many resources including your family, friends, and support groups to help you through this process.  Grief is a process and being willing to experience it now will only help you through the process.

Reference:

Kübler-Ross, E., & Kessler, D. (2005). On grief and grieving: Finding the meaning of grief through the five stages of loss. New York, NY: Scribner.

Recommended Readings:

Kübler-Ross, E. (1969). On death and dying: What the dying have to teach doctors, nurses, clergy, and their own families. New York, NY: Touchstone.

Kübler-Ross, E., & Kessler, D. (2005). On grief and grieving: Finding the meaning of grief through the five stages of loss. New York, NY: Scribner.

September Trent, MS, PLPC is a Provisional Licensed Professional Counselor with The Relationship Center. She has a heart for “showing God’s love through serving others.” September obtained her Bachelor’s degree in psychology and Master’s degree in counseling psychology from Evangel University. She specializes in marital therapy and working with individuals struggling with a variety of issues including eating disorders, depression, and anxiety. September’s experience includes working with children and adolescents residing in inpatient facilities as well as completing an internship working with adults struggling with severe mental illness. She also has experience in gerontology where she has counseled individuals residing in nursing homes, provided in-home mental health services to elderly individuals, and assisted families in coping with mental illness. September and her husband have one daughter and reside in Springfield.

September Trent sees clients in Springfield, Missouri.

Working Through Grief, Part 1

Crying woman

www.minddisorders.com

Grief is inevitable. We all experience it at some point.  Grief serves as a way of helping the mind work through the loss of something important. You may be grieving if:

  • Someone you’re close to has died (parent, child, spouse, friend, miscarriage).
  • You are going through a life transition (leaving home for the first time, getting married, having a baby, getting older). These transitions are supposed to be happy, but you may be grieving the life you had before the transition.
  • You have lost a close relationship (significant other, friendship).
  • You or someone you love is diagnosed with a serious illness.
  • You have lost your job.
  • You experience the loss of a hope or dream. (For example, you are unable to get into graduate school even though you worked hard for many years.)

Many people have heard of Küber-Ross and Kessler’s five stages of grief. These stages, as described briefly below, will help you understand how we grieve the loss of a loved one and other losses we experience.

Five Stages of Grief

·         Denial– This stage may be evident through the feeling of disbelief. For example, the denial stage may appear as having trouble believing that your spouse is not returning home or what you lost may never return. The feeling of disbelief or denial helps you survive the loss.

·          Anger– This may appear as anger toward the loved one who died for not caring for himself, toward the doctor for not seeing the symptoms, toward yourself for not preventing the loss, or toward God for what He has taken away. It is important to feel the anger because there are many emotions beneath the anger that you need to feel.

·         Bargaining– In this stage, we bargain with God for more time or to not experience the loss. We often find ourselves saying “if only…” or “what if…” statements. Guilt often accompanies bargaining.

·         Depression– This is the feeling of overwhelming sadness when you realize what you have lost. It is actually a normal response to loss. Allow yourself to feel depressed because you have lost something very valuable.

·         Acceptance– This means coming to terms that you have lost someone or something. This does not mean that you are alright with what happened, but that you have a new reality. You realize that you cannot live the same life that you did with this person or thing. You work through healing and build a different relationship with what you lost.

It is important to mention that these stages may come and go within minutes, hours, days, or months. There is not a set amount of time in which each person experiences these stages, and each person may not go through the stages in order.

Article continues in Working Through Grief, Part 2

Reference:

Kübler-Ross, E., & Kessler, D. (2005). On grief and grieving: Finding the meaning of grief through the five stages of loss. New York, NY: Scribner.