How To Cope With Grief
By Michele Rosenthal
One of the most difficult things to deal with after trauma is a sense of grief. For me, that sense of grief seared me all the way down to grief over losing my own self. I couldn’t get back to who I had been before – she was gone. And I couldn’t become the woman I might have been without trauma – she was now impossible. I grieved both my past and my future.
Last night on YOUR LIFE AFTER TRAUMA, Dr. Stephen Fleming joined me to talk about all kinds of grief after trauma, including grief for our lost selves.
In our conversation Dr. Fleming and I covered the answers to such questions as:
- What is the assumptive world, and how is it affected by trauma?
- How do we grieve the loss of ourselves?
- How do we rebuild ourselves?
Dr. Fleming also outlined the three parts of yourself that are destroyed by trauma, the importance of befriending your pain, how grief can inform your life and how to reframe pain to lessen it. “Trust is one of the really big issues here,” he said, and we explored how that impacts the recovery process.
Finally, I asked listener questions on the air (did you know you can send them in to me, or post them on the YOUR LIFE AFTER TRAUMA fanpage?) and Dr. Fleming answered them with positive and proactive advice about how to eliminate triggers and how to explain the effects of grief to family members.
MEET MY GUEST:
Dr. Stephen Fleming is a professor in the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health, at York University in Toronto. The author of numerous
book chapters, articles, and presentations on the grief experience of children, adolescence, and adults, he has lectured in Canada, the United States, South America, Asia, and Europe. In addition to teaching graduate and undergraduate courses on the Psychology of Death, Dr. Fleming has qualified as an expert witness in litigation involving trauma, and he has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Palliative Care and Death Studies. He is a contributor to the recently released book, Techniques of Grief Therapy: Creative Practices for Counseling the Bereaved (Routledge, 2012), and co-author of Parenting After the Death of a Child.