Why Great Loss Recovery Therapy? Pets and People
- Because both pets and people populate our lives with love, companionship and variety!
- Relationships with our pets are profound, innocent and intimate. They become part of the fabric of our daily lives.
When a pet dies or gets lost, an empty space is left in our hearts and daily lives. There is a deep ache and longing that takes hold of us often so intense that we cannot shake ourselves loose from it.
- Is the loss of a pet different from human loss? Why is there shame over grieving over the loss of a pet?
Grief is Grief!! We may feel the intensity more if we are living alone with only a pet companion, elderly or somehow disconnected from our families or communities. If our pet is part of our family life, we can share the grief with one another.
- Can the loss of a pet stir up other unresolved losses?
It most certainly can. The emptiness and sadness brings to mind other painful loss not dealt with in the past.
- How do we come through this?
We can come through this journey through counseling sessions where the grief, anger and pain experienced are unpacked
and brought to the light, observed and eventually resolved.
- What modalities are used?
I use a variety of behavioral techniques, talk therapy ie: Motivational Itenterviewing, Cognative Behavioral Therapy, Medtiation techniques, Short Term Focused Therapy which all can help lessen sliding into rtiggers, grief bursts and reminders that are unproductive in the long run.
- Can grief lead to depression or is it depression?
Anyone including animals can show symptoms of depression while grieving. HOWEVER, if the grief becomes more profound and extensive, it can be called Complicated Grief and grows into a mood disorder, a psychiatric refermral and medication may be needed.
- Will I recover?
While there are not guarantees in life in my experience in due time, many people recover to wholness, peace of mind, joy and may have many more companion amimals whom they will enjoy and provide loving places for!
Is grief for the loss of people and pets the same?
In many ways yes and no since we have different relationships with our pets and the people in our lives be they friends, spouses or siblings. There are a variety of types grief we may experience for pets and people since Grief Counselling has now evolved into a separate discipline. Here are a few types of grief:
TRAUMATIC GRIEF: If anyou saw your beloved pet run over by a vehicle or witness people falling to their death from the Twin Towers on 9/11, you would be experiencing a traumic loss even PTSD as the visions of these events continued perhaps to run on automatic video in you mind for days, weeks or maybe years.
SYMBOLIC LOSSES/GRIEF: These are more psycho/social losses such as a divorce, loss of a job, having to move from a place where you spent your entire adult life, children leaving home ie: ' empty nest', a breakup of a relationship etc.
PRIMARY LOSSES/GRIEF: The death of a spouse, parent, sibling or other relationship has has been very close to your heart.
SECONDARY LOSSES /GRIEF: All the losses resulting from your primary loss: ie: loss of income if the person who died was the primary breadwinner of the household, restructuring the family dynamics after the loss of a family member, having to move to a less expensive or smaller place after the loss.
DISENFRANCHISED LOSSES: How do we grieve for a divorced spouse or family member who was abusive to us and others or for that matter, an alcoholic or drug addict who could have had a better life instead chose the form, robbed friends and family members of financial and emotional peace? (If yu have had this experience, I highly recommend reading a book named "Liberating Losses": When Death Brings Relief." DISENFRANCHISED GRIEF MAY NOT BRING SYMPATHY OR EMPATHY FROM OTHERS AS DO OTHER FORMS OF LOSS.
PETS LOST TO DISENFRANCHISED GRIEF: Perhaps you have had to put down your beloved pet who suddenly became aggressive seriously injured other people and children. Others might not be sympathetic to your loss in this case.
One last note, I have found in working with grief stricken persons, that from time to time, those experiencing a conflicting loss often 'canonize' the deceased person who abused them.
COMPLICATED GRIEF: When the relationship with the deceased person has been conflicted and confusing, upon his/her death, the grief experience of the survivor will also be conflicted, complex, confusing and protracted, often leading to some form as depressive ephisode.
I hope that this information is helpful and relevant to you particular type of grief experience.
I am looking forward to helping you heal.