Every one experiences loss during their life. Some losses, however, have a profound effect, causing debilitating and long lasting grief. How a person copes with a particular loss–whether it is of a loved one, of physical health and ability or of hopes and dreams–depends on its particular meaning to that person. Each loss tends to activates any previous unresolved life experience; the emotional impact may seem way out of proportion–far greater than we would normally expect.
Loss and grief are universal, but each loss is unique to that individual. In therapy, we uncover the meaning of a particular life event, work through the emotional reactions and put together a plan of action that leads towards acceptance and not only resolution but transformation.
William Worden has a very useful approach to loss that views it in terms of Four Tasks of Mourning:
- Task 1: Accept the reality of the loss
- Task 2: Experience the pain of grief
- Task 3: Adjust to the changed environment and lifestyle
- Task 4: Withdraw emotional energy and reinvest it in other aspects of life