Grief and Loss Activities



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Presented by: Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes
Objectives
~Define grief
~Conceptualize grief in terms of any loss
~Identify how failure to deal with grief can impact a person
~Explore the stages of grief
~Review activities and interventions to help people grieve

What is Grief
~Grief is a label assigned to all of the emotions associated with dealing with any kind of loss
~Physical (Things, abilities, freedoms)
~Self-concept (Roles, values, labels)
~Worldview (Innocence, safety)
~Dreams (How things should be)
~Social (Loss of relationships…)
What is Grief
~Primary losses also produce secondary losses which also need to be acknowledged and grieved.
What is Grief
~What secondary losses might occur for these events?

Types of Grief
~Anticipatory Grief: Experiencing anticipatory grief may provide time for the preparation of loss, acceptance of loss, the ability to finish unfinished business, life review and resolve conflicts
~Normal Grief: Normal feelings, reactions and behaviors to a loss; grief reactions can be physical, psychological, cognitive, behavioral
~Complicated Grief:
~Disenfranchised Grief: Chronic Grief: Normal grief reactions that do not subside and continue over very long periods of time
~Delayed Grief: Normal grief reactions that are suppressed or postponed. The survivor consciously of unconsciously avoids the pain of the loss.
~Masked Grief: Survivor is not aware that behaviors that interfere with normal functioning are a result of the loss.
Stages of Grief
~Denial: Numbness, dream, alternate explanations)
~Anger: The unknown, loss of control, death, isolation, failure—(shouldas and couldas)
~Bargaining: If I … then I will wake up and realize this was only a really bad dream
~Depression: Helpless, hopeless
~Acceptance: Radical acceptance
Exacerbating & Mitigating factors
~How close the situation was to them (physical and emotional proximity)
~How many other stressors them experienced in the last year
~Mental health issues/Effective coping skills
~Social supports
~Understanding of the loss
~How much control/responsibility they feel like they had in the situation
Denial
~Address hopelessness and helplessness by focusing on what can be changed
Not a Linear Process
~Most people experience grief surrounding a loss for at least a year.
~Many people will vacillate between depression and anger.
~Normalize people’s experiences
~Encourage them to reach out to supports
~Address happiness and survivor guilt
Self Care for Grief
~Emotionally
~Express feelings
~Ask for and accept help
~Don’t let anyone tell you how to feel—and don’t tell yourself how you “should” feel
~Be patient
~Be kind to yourself
~Add happiness triggers
~Be aware of your grief triggers
~Embrace the dialectic
Self Care for Grief
~Physically
~Get plenty of quality rest
~How to handle being alone with your thoughts….
~Exercise
~Eat a healthy diet
~Avoid alcohol
~Pay attention to persistent changes in eating, sleeping, mood or energy levels
Self Care for Grief
~Psychologically
~Write things down
~Simplify
~Set short term goals
~Distract/engage in pleasurable activities
~Start writing the next chapter in your story
~Plan ahead for grief triggers

Self-Care for Grief
~Interpersonally
~Rebuild relationships

Bill of Rights for Grief

Activities
~Create safety
~Invisible string
~Book of memories
~Heart-Break Pot (break into large pieces)
~Goodbye letter
~Letter to God
~Memory garden
~Jar of memories / regrets
~Memory mural
~Timeline of Change
~Create a family flag
~Alphabet of gratitude
~Raise and release butterflies
~Jenga (write discussion prompts on cards)
Summary
~Losses encompass more than death or a person or loss of property
~Failure to acknowledge losses can cause unhelpful reactions in similar future situations
~explore feelings and reactions in terms of their functionality—how are they benefiting the person
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