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Navigating Through Grief: Insights from a Therapist’s Perspective

Mar 06, 2024

Grief is a universal experience, yet it is profoundly personal and can deeply affect anyone who has lost a loved one or experienced significant life changes. Grief is a profound, multifaceted response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something to which a bond was formed. It is a natural, yet deeply personal experience, often characterised by feelings of sadness, longing, and a myriad of other emotions that can fluctuate wildly over time. Understanding grief, in its complexity, is crucial not only for those experiencing it but also for those around them, seeking to provide support.

Understanding Grief

At its core, grief is a process of adjustment. It entails coming to terms with the absence of a loved one and learning to navigate life without their physical presence. Grief is the emotional response to loss. It encompasses a wide range of feelings, from deep sadness and longing to anger and guilt. It is important to recognise that grief does not follow a linear path. The commonly referenced “stages of grief,” including denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, are not steps that everyone will experience or move through in order. They are, instead, a framework to help us understand that our experiences and emotions may vary widely and that all feelings are valid.

It is Personal

Every person’s experience of grief is unique. Factors such as the nature of the loss, the individual’s personality, their coping mechanisms, and their support system play a crucial role in how they process grief. Some may find solace in solitude, while others may seek comfort in social connections. There’s no “right” way to grieve, and comparing one’s grief to others’ can be counterproductive.

The Physical and Emotional Toll

Grief can take a toll not just emotionally but physically. It is common to experience changes in appetite, sleep disturbances, a lack of energy, or physical discomfort. These symptoms are a testament to the profound impact of emotional stress on our physical well-being.

Navigating Grief

Allow ourselves to Feel

Suppressing or ignoring our feelings can prolong the grieving process. Allowing ourselves to feel the full spectrum of emotions is crucial. It’s okay to cry, to feel angry, to laugh, and to find moments of joy even in the midst of sorrow. These feelings do not diminish the love we had for the person we lost.

Seek Support

Grieving in isolation can be overwhelming. Lean on support network—friends, family, or a support group. Sometimes, sharing our feelings with others who have experienced similar losses can provide comfort and understanding.

Professional Help

If grief feels too heavy to bear alone, or if individuals find it interfering with their ability to function in daily life, seeking professional help can be a valuable step. A therapist can provide a safe space to explore emotions and develop coping strategies tailored to each individual needs.


Taking care of ourselves is not selfish; it is necessary. Trying to maintain routines that promote physical well-being, such as eating nutritious meals, engaging in physical activity, and getting enough sleep. Finding small ways to care for ourselves can help us navigate through the toughest days.

Find Meaning

Over time, many find it helpful to seek meaning or to engage in activities that honour the memory of the lost loved one. This could be through charity work, creating art, or continuing a tradition that was important to the person. Finding ways to connect with the lost loved one can provide comfort and a sense of continuity.

Moving Forward

Moving forward with life does not mean forgetting the person we lost. It means finding a way to live with the loss, carrying the memories and love with us. Grief may never fully “end,” but its intensity will change with time. Healing is possible, and joy can be found again.

Remember, grief is a journey—a path that winds through the most tender parts of our hearts. It is important to embrace the journey with kindness and patience. Healing takes time, and it is okay to ask for help along the way. Grief is not a disorder to be cured but a process of adjusting to a significant loss. It is about finding a way to live with the loss, integrating the experience into one’s life. This doesn’t mean forgetting or moving on but rather learning to carry the loss with us, finding ways to remember and honour the loved one, and eventually finding a new equilibrium.

The goal is not to eliminate grief but to understand and manage it in a way that allows for healing and growth. With support, self-care, and time, individuals can find a way to reconcile their loss and move forward, carrying the memories of their loved ones with them into the future.



Director, Clinical Psychologist



Clinical Psychologist



Registered Psychologist



Mental Health OT / Counsellor