You can hold yourself back from the sufferings of the world, that is something you are free to do and it accords with your nature, but perhaps this very holding back is the one suffering you could avoid.”? Franz Kafka
Loss is a feature in almost every encounter we experience as psychotherapists. It’s a common part of being human. In this article, we will look at what loss is and what we can do with it.
What Is Loss?
Loss is a term we use to describe many experiences and not just death. Although bereavement is what we associate with loss, more everyday losses that we experience include loss of identity, the loss of childhood experiences, the loss of friendships or relationships or simply the loss you feel from a change in situations. Loss can be experienced in a range of different ways, and if not properly processed, it can have a profound impact on your life and mental well-being.
How To Cope with Loss
Experiencing a loss can make you feel like you have a lack of control. It’s therefore helpful to look at the things you do have control over and do things to make you feel more in control. Breaking things down into smaller, more manageable pieces ensures you don’t overwhelm yourself. For example, maintaining a routine and slowly introducing smaller goals can give you a sense of purpose.
Therapy is also a great tool for working through your loss, whatever that loss may be.
How Therapy Can Help With Loss
Talking to a professional psychotherapist can help you understand your feelings of loss and support you in overcoming them. As therapists, we reflect mentally through our own experiences and mirror them onto our clients, so they feel understood. Grief and loss cause pain, and this must be managed to ensure a healthy life.
This reflective process helps clients understand what they are doing to manage their grief. We’re not here to judge, but to bring awareness to it so it can be looked at more in-depth. Over time, through exploration of these survival strategies, the frightening experience of grief will pass. Sometimes, a loss must be examined from different angles to be able to move forward.
As therapists, we don’t judge. We provide a safe, calm space to listen to you. We understand that people who have experienced loss have so much going on in their lives and can struggle to make sense of it. We help you reflect on what is happening and help you to navigate through it.
Darian Leader’s book, The New Black, revisits Freud’s concepts of Mourning and Melancholia and explores the more subtle experience of loss and argues that modern life holds pressure to treat loss with medication. However, this adjusts the chemicals within the brain which has led to complex and unconscious causes of depression. Although drugs can be helpful, they rarely resolve the underlying cause of loss and depression.
Leader while praising Freud’s new thinking about depression, argues that he misses a vital element of mourning, its communal aspect and looks at various cultures and how they share the process of mourning.
In the book, Darian Leader argues that Freud missed a vital element in mourning: its communal aspect. In different cultures, many share the process of mourning, and mourning should be shared whether it’s a death or more everyday loss.
Brighton and Hove Psychotherapy is a collective of experienced psychotherapists, psychologists and counsellors working with a range of client groups, including fellow therapists and health professionals. If you would like more information, or an informal discussion please get in touch. Online therapy is available.