Grief involves a natural response or reaction to bereavement or loss. The loss may be that of a relationship; a loved one, pet, job, pregnancy, or way of life. Some experiences such as infertility, children leaving home and separation from family and friends may result in a feeling of loss. Loss then leads to grief, as it is the most natural way of responding to loss or bereavement. The scenario presented in this paper is that of a client called Barry whose wife passed away and had lived with his dog named Rusty. Upon the death of his wife, he has been supported with meals while residing in a home care. He has a stroke, and the disease could result to grief. Also, the death of his wife may still have an impact on him, so the paper will look at how to help Barry recover fully from his double loss.
The act or process of grieving can be expressed in several ways. Grief affects almost every part of an individual’s life such as their thoughts, emotions, behavior, physical health, beliefs, relationship and even their sense of self and identity (Grief Counseling: The Grief Process, Models of Grief, and Grief Therapy, 2016). The victim will end up feeling angry, sad, shocked, anxious, regretful, overwhelmed, relieved, irritable and isolated. There is no unique set pattern of grieving, and every person experiences it differently. Some people take weeks to grieve, others months while others even last for years. As the victim goes through grieving, they start developing new habits and creating new experiences that function within their loss.
In our case, Barry has three main problems that bring pain to him. The first is the loss of his wife just a year ago. The loss of Barry’s wife made him have a hard time staying at home and went to a home care. Barry needs to mourn the death of his wife and comes to terms that she is gone. The next issue involves being diagnosed with having a stroke. The disease takes the time to be cured ad it requires his full cooperation emotionally, physically and mentally. Therefore, his loss of good health results to him having difficulty in living a normal life. The third issues surround the lack of a supporting family. Barry has one daughter who is a busy senior executive at the city and has no time to take care of him. Barry does not want to be a burden to her only living child, and on the other side, it makes him feel alone. Living in a home care for the aged is a sign of lack of family to take care of him and may result in him getting depressed.
The initial phase step in the healing procedure of Barry is making him mourn his wife. The loss of a loved often brings isolation and loneliness among family members in a family. The step would entail getting Barry to call up his daughter, and they talk about the lost one in my presence as I guide them. The process is known as family therapy. I would engage Barry and the daughter in reflecting on the mother and wife they had and the memories they made (Shapiro, 1994). Recreating the memories would establish a healthy connection between them and the lost loved one. Barry and his daughter will also have a private dialogue relating to their lost loved one, and it will help them to reconnect with the living members of the family. Getting the two family members accept the loss and making them feel relaxed will be a huge milestone towards healing (Grief and loss, 2017). If the daughter fails to show up, then Barry will go through an individual therapy, and I will offer a suggestion to engage in a support group or group therapy with people going through similar loss. Group sharing will help Barry in mutual sharing of feelings and thoughts hence find solace among them. Group therapy would result in quick recovery and ensure Barry continues with his normal life.
The second step entails the stroke he was diagnosed with by the doctors. The loss of health stresses all human beings, and it is okay to get ill. Therefore, engaging with Barry on how he feels about the disease will help him acknowledge soon that he is sick and get positive about it. Taking time to listen to his words and clearly identifying his challenges and concerns would help towards his recovery (Harris & Winokuer, 2012). During our conversations with Barry, I will revisit his regular workdays and help him picture a healthy life and advice on how he can relive such moments. I will take my time to listen and understand what he is going through at the time. Encouraging him to go through the necessary prescribed treatments, both physical and psychological, would help him a lot.
The third step will involve helping Barry live with his grief. He has lost his wife, and in the process, his daughter too is in the metropolitan city. The lack of support from the only remaining member of his family, the girl, would make him grieve without knowing. The best person he could talk to relating to the loss of his wife is his daughter. She can clearly understand what Barry is going through since she is also experiencing a similar loss. Dealing with the passing on of a loved one influences the mental health of the deceased (Coping with Loss: Bereavement and Grief, 2017). The daughter alongside Barry needs to know that grieving the loss of a loved one is natural. Several ways are there to help with the process of grieving, and this includes sharing the loss with the ones who are caring and ready to listen.
The network of friends, as well as relatives that are within one’s reach, can assist them in mourning and come to accept their loss. In either way, they need to express their feeling to overcome the grief. I will help them to ensure recovery to good health then Barry needs to take care of his health through eating a well-balanced, healthy diet and having enough rest. He also needs to be in touch regularly with the assigned physician while avoiding dependence on alcohol or medication to relieve him from grief (Malkinson, Ruth, Simon Shimshon Rubin & Witsum, 2012). The process of accepting that life is for the living takes quite some effort but focusing on the present is vital. Barry needs to realize that absorbing a significant loss may take a while and seeking help is a sign of strength towards his changed life. However, if he needs to make any significant changes in his life such as remarrying or moving should be postponed for some time.
Three major theories of grief and loss will be discussed in this paper;
The design by Elisabeth is a standard model in the field of psychology. It has five successive stages associated with grief. They include anger, denial, depression, bargaining and lastly acceptance. The model was initially structured specifically for those dealing with the death of a loved one. The model later got modified by Kubler-Ross to account for any grief experienced by a person. The model best fits the case of Barry as he is still in denial of the death of his wife and presumably angry for being diagnosed with a stroke. Kubler-Ross asserts that every individual experience at least two of the five stages of grief (Grief Counseling: The Grief Process, Models of Grief, and Grief Therapy, 2016).
He created a stage-based model applied atopeople dealing with the loss of a loved one. The model is called the Four Tasks of Mourning: the first stage in this model is similar to that of Kubler-Ross and is acceptance of the reality of death or loss of a loved one. The second step is working through the pain followed by making adjustments towards living without the deceased (Worden, 1989). The fourth and last step is maintaining a connection with the lost loved one while engaging in normal life or moving on with life.
The model was created by, Margaret Stroebe and Hank Schut. The two identified two activities linked to loss. The two are mainly loss-oriented as well as the restoration-oriented events and stressors. The loss-oriented tasks include yearning, crying, experiencing sadness, anger, denial or dwelling on death circumstances while evading restoration actions. On the other hand, restoration-oriented activities are linked to subsequent losses regarding routine, lifestyle, and relationships. The tasks include handling changes, adjusting to a new role, developing new methods of connecting with friends and family, and lastly nurturing a new mode of life (Parkes & Prigerson, 2013).
The process of grieving may happen to both the therapist and the patient at the same time. However, lack of acknowledgment on the therapist side may affect the recovery process of the patient negatively. As a professional, I admit that the illness of my father may influence performance of my duties, as I will always question myself of his current state of health on a frequent basis. My mental state will require immediate attention from a fellow therapist to ensure I do not sabotage the recovery of my patient Barry (Worden, 2009). Talking to my superiors as well as colleagues who are willing to will be important in managing the situation.
The process of grieving is essential and should be handled by a professional when an individual deems it a challenge to recover personally. Grieving is natural and affected people should embrace it to enable him or her come out of it as well as move on with their lives. Assistance in the form of therapy can be either in a group or at an individual level (Grief Counseling: The Grief Process, Models of Grief, and Grief Therapy, 2016). However, we should show love and be ready to listen to those who suffer from loss of any kind if we want to help them. Use of techniques such as meditation or any form of relaxation can also assist in dealing with stressors arising from loss.
Coping with Loss: Bereavement and Grief. (2017). Mental Health America. Retrieved 29 May 2017, from http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/coping-loss-bereavement-and-grief
Grief and loss. (2017). Beyondblue.org.au. Retrieved 29 May 2017, from https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/grief-and-loss
Grief Counseling: The Grief Process, Models of Grief, and Grief Therapy. (2016). Goodtherapy.org. Retrieved 29 May 2017, from http://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/grief
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Shapiro, E. R. (1994). A systemic developmental approach to family bereavement. http://primo.unilinc.edu.au/CSU:CSU_ALL:csu_equellaad3b562b-80b6-4502-b0f3-4b425aa4ba55/1 Springer Publishing Company, Chapter 11 The clinicians’ toolbox http://primo.unilinc.edu.au/CSU:CSU_ALL:alma7153284400002351
Malkinson, Ruth, Simon Shimshon Rubin & Witsum E. (2012)(Eds) Working With the Bereaved: Multilple lenses on loss and mourning. Taylor and Francis. New York. http://ebookcentral.proquest.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/lib/csuau/reader.action?ppg=5&docID=957333&tm=1485222652794
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