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Grief – sorrow or mental suffering resulting from loss, affliction, regret, death…

David James and Associates

David James Cockman - BSW, MSW, RSW

David James and Associates Professional Counselling Services
Six Locations in Southern Ontario & The Niagara Region
Mobile 905.685.2787
Free  1.866.775.4991
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Grief is a normal human reaction to loss and change.  Sharing our grief allows us to heal quicker.  To go through the many layers of grief takes time, the bigger the loss the longer the time.  For minor losses the grieving process could take a few hours, days or even weeks.  For moderate loss the time could be months to a year and for severe loss the grieving time could take 2 to 4 years for healthy completion.

There are as many ways to grieve as there are personalities, everyone grieves differently and at different paces.

One model based on Kubler-Ross’s stages of accepting death is as follows:

Numbness:
This reaction often follows the death of a loved one and may last for seven to ten days.  Some have referred to numbing as the body’s way for protecting itself from the shock of the loss.

Denial and Isolation:
Here the bereaved person has difficulty accepting their loss.  Although acceptance is part of the complete grief process more acute difficulties with acceptance are included in this stage.

Anger:
In this phase the bereaved feels anger with everyone.  A strong feeling of “Why me?” ensues here and bargaining with God for the return of the deceased may be a part of this phase.

Depression:
As the bereaved accepts their loss and the reality of that loss sets in they may experience extreme sadness or depression.

Acceptance:
The bereaved person comes to terms with their loss and is able to return to life on a daily basis with an absence of the extremes of emotion previously experienced.

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Trauma – “Understanding Why You Feel this Way”

DAVID JAMES & ASSOCIATES
http://www.davidjamesandassociates.com
Feburary, 2011

Counselling, Counsellor, Niagara Region, St. Catharines, Therapist, Thorold, Welland, Niagara Falls, Beamsville, Lincoln, Grimsby, Stoney Creek, Port Colborne, Psychotherapy, Psychologist, addictions, chronic pain, hypno therapy, marriage, divorce
Visit our Website for more information and locations

At some point in your life you have probably cut your finger with a knife.  Depending on the sharpness of that knife and the force behind it you either bled a little or a lot.  Even if you had extremely tough skin, you would bleed.  There are events in life that can make you bleed all over on a psychological level.  It is these events that make people susceptible to developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

You should talk to a counsellor if you have re-experienced the trauma in the form of dreams, flashbacks or intrusive memories, if you experience a numbing of emotions and reduced interest in others and your surrounding.  Also if you are experiencing insomnia, agitation, irritability or outbursts of rage that persist for at least one month.

Secondary Traumatization

Professions such as doctors, nursing staff, fire workers, police and search and rescue are at risk for secondary traumatization, which is known also as compassion fatigue, secondary or vicarious traumatization, and “burn-out”.  The symptoms are usually less severe than PTSD but can still affect the livelihoods of these professionals.  There are 3 risk factors for secondary traumatization, the first is exposure to the stories (or images) of multiple disaster victims.  Secondly your empathic sensitivity to their suffering and lastly your unresolved emotional issues that relate to the suffering seen.

Critical incident stress

Critical Incident Stress is the natural reactions of a person to an extreme situation.  They may occur immediately or in days, weeks or even months.  People that have experienced an extreme  situation often benefit from a critical incident debriefing,  which is a meeting held for those individuals that were directly affected by the event.

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