As a grief and trauma therapist, I have had the privilege of working with individuals who are going through some of the most difficult times in their lives. While every client and situation is unique, there are a few things that I have learned through my work that I believe is worth sharing. Here are the five things I have learned as a grief and trauma therapist:
Navigating loss and healing is complex and messy.
Grief and trauma are not linear processes. There is no set timeline for how long it will take someone to heal from a traumatic event or the loss of a loved one. It is not uncommon for individuals to experience intense emotions, including anger, guilt, and despair, even years after a traumatic event or loss. As a therapist, I’ve learned that it is important to be patient and understanding with clients as they navigate their own unique healing journey. It is also important for me to remember that everyone copes with grief and trauma differently, and what works for one person may not work for another.
Self-care is essential.
Working with clients who are experiencing grief and trauma can be emotionally and mentally taxing. I've learned that it's vital that I practice self-care in order to avoid burnout and compassion fatigue. Self-care can look different for everyone, but for me, exercise, mindfulness practices, spending time with loved ones, and taking time off when needed are my go-to self-care practices. When I prioritize my own well-being, I’m better able to support my clients.
Connection is crucial.
Grief and trauma can be incredibly isolating experiences. As a therapist, I strive to create a safe and supportive space for my clients to share their experiences and emotions. I’ve come to realize that oftentimes, just having someone to talk to who understands what they are going through can be incredibly healing for my clients. Additionally, clients have shared with me that connecting with support groups or other resources in their community helps them feel less alone in their grief or trauma.
Grief and trauma can impact every aspect of a person’s life.
Grief and trauma can impact a person’s physical health, emotional well-being, and relationships with others. That’s why It is important for me to take a holistic approach to treatment, addressing all areas of my client’s life that may be impacted. This often includes working with them on developing coping skills, addressing anxiety and depression, and helping them rebuild relationships with loved ones.
Resilience is possible.
While navigating loss and healing can be incredibly difficult experiences, I have learned that resilience is possible. I've witnessed my clients use therapy and other forms of support, to help them learn to cope with their experiences and find meaning and purpose in their lives again. I've learned to help clients focus on their strengths and to celebrate their progress along the way.
Working as a grief and trauma therapist has taught me so many things about the human experience. While grief and trauma can be incredibly challenging, I believe with every fiber of my being that it is possible to find hope and healing with the right support. I believe as a therapist, it is my role to create a safe and supportive space for my clients to share their experiences and to help them navigate their own unique healing journey.
Learn more about our approach to grief and trauma here. If you or a loved one is interested in working with us on your healing journey, please contact us today. We would be happy to speak with you about getting started.