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April 14, 2005

Massaging Someone In Grief

A client looses a spouse, and you're afraid to say anything for fear you say the wrong thing. A simple comment like, "I was sorry to hear about your loss," can be very helpful to a griever who may be questioning their own sanity because no one is even mentioning their loss.

According to the Grief Recovery Institute, we, as a society, are ill-equipped to handle grief even though it is prevalent in our daily lives. They have a wonderful series of articles concerning grief that help to give insight to those in grief and to those who care for someone in the grieving process.

What makes us so uncomfortable about grief? Fear. Fear is one of the most normal and common emotional responses to loss. What will I do now? Those fears are normal and natural responses to the end of long-term relationships. If acknowledged and allowed, those fears and the thoughts and feelings they generate, can be completed and diminish without serious aftermath.

First and most important, be genuine with the griever, avoiding platitudes such as "time heals all wounds" or "they lived a good, long life." Oftentimes, people who experienced loss want to talk about what happened, so it is important to be a good listener; be present. Depending how close you are with the client will determine how free the client feels to let down their guard and express tender emotions.

Posted by linda at April 14, 2005 9:35 AM

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