Grief is a natural response to loss. EMDR therapy can relieve grief and loss. People can be at greater risk for complicated grief when the deceased death is sudden or unexpected, the loss of a child, death after a long illness, a death that the mourner feels was preventable, unresolved feeling towards the deceased before the death and the mourners perceived lack of social support after the death.
People may know that they are struggling if they are experiencing any of the following signs of traumatic grief such as; avoiding reminders of the deceased, feelings of negativity about the future, numbness and detachment, stunned, dazed, or shocked, difficulty acknowledging the death, feeling that life is empty or meaningless, difficulty imagining a fulfilling life without the deceased, feeling that part of oneself has died, shattered world view, assuming harmful behaviors related to the deceased, excessive irritability, bitterness, or anger related to the death.
EMDR therapy puts the healing back on track when clients feel stuck. EMDR therapy does not eliminate a person’s natural and appropriate response to grief and it won’t make you forget the memories of the deceased but instead it allows people to grieve with more of a inner peace. This type of therapy allows clients to go where they need to go in their healing process. Whether the loss of a loved one has been one month, one year or ten years. EMDR therapy can help relieve suffering and allow the natural process of grief to continue.
In order to better help clients work through painful memories related to a death I use EMDR therapy for grief. First I help the client to process any past painful memories, unresolved conflicts or issues that are associated with the death, then present day triggers such as feelings of loss or and fear and lastly I help clients to envision their future without the deceased in their life. I then help clients to create a future template of how they want to relate to and feel about their grief and the memories of their loved one as they move forward.
This EMDR protocol includes 5 steps:
1. Actual events, including the loved one’s suffering or death
2. Intrusive images
3. Nightmare images if there are any
4. Present triggers
5. Issues of personal responsibility, mortality, or previous unresolved losses
Create a future template (what life will be like moving forward)
After clients have worked through the above steps with EMDR therapy they are better able to think of the deceased and their death with a wide range of emotions including appreciation for the times they shared and are able to hold the more positive emotions moving forward in life. Don’t wait! Call today for help with grief and loss.
*Protocol for “Excessive Grief” is excerpted from Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
(EMDR) Scripted Protocols: Basics and Special Situations illustrating a scripted protocol from one of Francine Shapiro’s 6 basic protocols.