I suppose, as a Grief Recovery specialist, if I needed to have a professional label, it would be “Educator”. Why? Because I teach people to move beyond the pain of grief and complete their loss.
People ask, “Is there REALLY such a thing as grief recovery? “My constant reply is, “Grief recovery is not only possible, it is NECESSARY”. It is necessary to enable you to find new meaning for life without the fear of being hurt again.
One of the questions most frequently asked by grievers is, “So, how long does grief last?”
Answers range from the three days that many employers deem sufficient, to weeks suggested by professional journals (see end panel) to the most tragic case I have yet heard of . . . the twenty-five years of grief a mother suffered following the death of her teenage son!
Even colleagues, when they first begin their training to work with grievers will answer the question, “How long does grief take when it comes to recovering from an emotional loss?” along the lines of, “It takes as long as it takes, and every loss is different.” While this may sound logical, it’s yet another horrible thing to tell a griever. Since everyone grieves at 100% for each of their individual losses, this may sound like a life-sentence, given that their level of pain is felt so intensely.
The problem with each of these different answers is that they all perpetuate one of the greatest of all grief myths. Each one of these sources is telling people “that grief just takes time” or that “time heals all wounds.” The passage of time has nothing to do with moving through the pain of loss. If anything, all that happens as time goes by is that grievers become so accustomed to living with the pain that it becomes a lasting part of their lives. That pain will continue to control them if they fail to take meaningful action to deal with it.
As John W James, creator of the Grief Recovery Method, says:
“Another one of the pieces of misinformation that is taught, or passes from one generation to the next, is the idea that time alone can heal a broken heart and that, of course, is not possible. What is needed is information that leads people to correct actions that they can take within time. So, time and correct action will lead to emotional recovery; one without the other is not going to do that”.
The Grief Recovery Method has been in place for nearly 40 years. It’s an action plan that has proven effective around the world in assisting grievers to move beyond the pain of emotional loss.
How long does grief last? A Certified Grief Recovery Specialist can help you find success in moving beyond the pain of loss in as few as seven or eight sessions together. For those that cannot meet with a Specialist, “The Grief Recovery Handbook” can guide you through this process and explain how to find a partner to the assist you in taking this action independently. While you may still find yourself missing the physical presence of the relationship, these programs will make a tremendous difference when it comes to the overwhelming emotional pain of loss.
The Grief Recovery Method is a step-by-step approach that focuses on your broken heart. No one will ever tell you why you shouldn’t be feeling whatever it is that you feel. Instead it’s about taking action to deal with those feelings in a meaningful way to move beyond the power of your grief. It worked for me personally and it can work for you as well.
“To receive a diagnosis of major depression . . . a patient must have either depressed mood or loss of pleasure plus four or more associated symptoms — such as appetite loss, insomnia or hypersomnia, psychomotor change, fatigue, low self-esteem, diminished concentration, and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide — for at least a 2-week period”.
Grief, Depression, and the DSM-5, Richard A. Friedman, M.D.
New England Journal of Medicine, 2012; 366:1855-1857 May 17, 2012 DOI: 10.1056/NEJM p1201794
This learned article goes on to suggest that grief lasting more than two weeks be diagnosed as “complicated grief”, paving the way to prescribe medication to deal with the symptoms. The problem with this is that while medication masks those symptoms, it does nothing to deal with moving through and beyond the significant issues generating that emotional pain.