Grief, Grieving, and Resources (20:21)
David Kessler asks participants to relate recent losses of loved ones. He emphasizes using the deceased’s name to personalize the loss and make it more real. He relates his history and talks of resources about grief.
Characteristics of Grief (18:49)
The nature of the death shapes grief. Death causes trauma that can manifest in guilt and shame, which are healed in different ways. We often re-traumatize ourselves while grieving.
Models of Grief (09:35)
George Bonanno’s model says that people grieve in character. If one’s life is complicated, his or her grief will be complicated. Robert Neimeyer’s model is similar, but says that childhood security or insecurity will affect how complicated one’s grief will be.
Pain and Suffering (11:24)
Denial is expected when someone loses a loved one. We grow emotionally through adversities. Pain cannot be taken away, but suffering can; suffering is what one’s mind does to them.
Dealing with Grief (12:52)
Pain from loss is inevitable and everyone deals with anticipatory grief. A psychologists’ work is to move people forward from survivor’s guilt and deal with grief, rather than re-experiencing loss. Kessler plays a clip of Oprah Winfrey interviewing Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.
Grief Yoga (18:35)
Paul Denniston says the body will remember grief and that one should find tools to release it. He demonstrates yoga postures. Denniston sees healing from grief as a process of forgiveness.
Stages of Grief (10:21)
Kessler defines denial as moving back and forth from distraction to reality. Anger is an expression of pain. Bargaining is deal-making before death, regrets and questions about "what if" come after.
Grief Stages and Depression (17:40)
Normal grief is different than clinical depression and should not be dealt with using medications. Acceptance is acknowledging the reality of the situation. Kessler thinks finding meaning out of loss should be another stage of grief.
Before and After Death (14:40)
People in grief yearn to talk with loved ones and go to mediums. Many people feel relief after a loved one dies, especially after a long illness; that can make them feel guilty. Seeing the angel of death and experiencing hauntings are normal for people who are dying and should be accepted.
Types of forgiveness include: indirect, direct, and conditional; indirect usually works best for dealing with grief. The dying and people in grief need loving care. Those who are grieving are fragile and resilient.
Deathbed Visions (15:42)
A person often experiences a life review upon dying. The dying can experience deathbed visions, which have different characteristics than hallucinations.
Sex and Therapy (14:35)
Sex plays into grief in many ways—bringing up issues of loss, betrayal, companionship, and connection. Kessler suggests exercises for people who are grieving; he highlights writing letters to and from deceased love ones. For kids, art and play therapy are effective.
Talking About Grief (14:20)
Age is an important factor in how individuals experience grief. One doesn’t find closure, he or she learns to live with loss. Kessler lists the worst and the best things to say to someone who is in grief.
Among the pitfalls in getting over loss are putting it on a timetable, making grief your identity, and feeling guilty about living and laughing again. Attendees ask questions about how to deal with grieving and loss with the elderly, Alzheimer’s patients, and extramarital lovers.
Goals of Care (10:23)
The stage model of grieving is also and intervention model. By finding out what stage a person is stuck in, one can begin the process of healing. The bargaining stage is challenging to address. For acceptance, help the person in grief find a way to say a final goodbye.
Children and Grief (19:13)
To help a child, be up front about what will happen to the person and to them. Kessler counsels an attendee on issues with her parents. He states that children should attend funerals and we should treat them normally.
Kessler's Story (10:34)
At the age of 13, Kessler's mother died, he witnessed a mass shooting, and he took his first plane ride. He was left with abandonment issues and complicated grief. To heal his grief and turn it into compassion, Kessler created stories about the traumatic events from other perspectives.
Talking About Death (11:07)
Kessler gives two examples of how to talk to young children about death. Social media will get the word out about a death quickly and should be thought of like an obituary. The death of a pet is as significant as any other loss. We look for reasons for death.
Complicated Grief (17:10)
If you are in grief and working with clients in grief, determine your fitness to work with them. Share your grief only if it is a service to the client. Kessler examines what complicates grief and lists several clues that people may exhibit.
Multiple Loss and Disasters (14:30)
Multiple losses complicate grief; one can only grieve individual people. Disasters complicate grief, manifesting in greater denial and longer anger. There are myths about disasters regarding paying attention or ignoring warnings, panic, and how they affect social structures.
Other Complicated Griefs (13:24)
The challenge of dealing with Alzheimer's is grieving multiple losses of the person’s identity. Prenatal death complicates grief by the inability to say goodbye. Suicide carries a stigma, but should be talked about openly. Kessler and an attendee discuss a boy who witnessed a suicide.
Gift of Grief (10:26)
A sudden death will generate intensified grief, compounded by secondary and concurrent losses. Kessler talks about the advantages and disadvantages of Kübler-Ross's stages of grief. He closes, saying that grief is a gift that helps us heal from the pain of death.
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