As therapists, it is our job to help our clients move from their current state of dis-health to a better state of being.
In essence, we are peddlers in change.
We promote change. We suggest change. We direct change. We instruct change. We encourage change. And we model change.
And yet, people don’t really like change.
For sure, people want to be different. They want to stop the hurt they are feeling and enjoy something different, but most people are hesitant to truly change.
Because change means loss.
Doing and being different means your client can’t have all of the predicability in their life they’re use to having. They have to let go of the life they know, and learn how to become comfortable with the unknown.
C.S. Lewis once said, “We chose an known hell over an unknown heaven.”
The unknown freaks people out.
Getting Use To A New Normal
It may be over simplistic, but a working definition of the grief process is moving from one normal to an new normal.
Think of it this way…
You’re very use to your wife. She has been part of your life for more than 20 years now. Your life is structured around this relationship—the good and the bad and everything in between.
If she were to suddenly be gone due to a horrific accident—not only would you be mourning the loss of her company and companionship, but you would be lost because your normal is now no more.
Someone that has become such an intregal part of your life is now missing.
A part of you is now missing.
No matter how much you want her back, you will never get your wish. So the only healthy option you really have is to move through the painful process of healing until you get use to not having her anymore.
With time—usually around 18 -24 months—and with good support, you really will get use to not having her.
You will grow to truly accept a new type of normal.
The Grieving Process Covers A Lot Of Areas
Grief doesn’t just apply to the loss of life.
Grieving can happen because your client can’t have they’re daily hit of cocaine. Grieving can happen because your client can’t drop what they’re doing to help every other person around them. Grieving can happen because they don’t wake up depressed today. And after 13 years of being depressed every day, this new “normal” is hard to get use to.
Your job, as a therapist, is to constantly remind your client to sit in the discomfort of the new. You’re helping them resist the temptation to run back to the familiar. You’re near by, unjudgingly, as they awkwardly trod through to a different type of life.
Your interaction and support will give them the time to find their footing.
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