Grief and Bereavement (cont.)
When to Seek Professional Help
- Some situations are unique in their challenges and may necessitate professional help.
- One such situation is the death of a child. Such an event is just against the natural order of things, and it is a type of grief that we may be unable to truly work through to an accommodation.
- Another such situation is the murder of a loved one. Trauma such as murder complicates grief, adding a whole new dimension to our bereavement, one that we are reminded of with each news broadcast.
- Disenfranchised grief occurs when we experience a loss that cannot be openly acknowledged, publicly mourned, or socially supported. An example would be the loss experienced by someone who was having an affair with a married person who dies. Because the usual opportunity for mourning is not available, disenfranchised grief is hard to work through and may be prolonged.
- Complicated grief is delayed or incomplete adaptation to our loss. In complicated grief, there is a failure to return, over time, to pre-loss levels of functioning, or to the previous state of emotional well-being. Grief may be worse in younger people, women, and people with limited social support, thus increasing their risk for complicated grief. Counseling from a minister, grief counselor, family physician, or mental-health professional may be required to effectively deal with complicated grief.
Lynn Barkley Burnett, EdD, MS, LLB
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