Complicated grief is intense, long-lasting and can take over a person’s life. Grief is natural experience. When it is persistently unremitting, and traumatic, it is often wrought with a host of emotions such as anxiety, depression and anger. It is natural to experience acute grief after someone close dies, but complicated grief is different. Complicated grief is a form of grief that takes hold of a person’s mind and won’t let go. People with complicated grief often say that they are stuck, even forgetting for moments at a time that their loved one is really gone only to be reminded and sunken back into their deep pain. There are strong feelings of yearning or longing for their lost loved one. Images and thoughts of their loved one invade their minds and they find it difficult to imagine that life without the deceased person can have purpose or meaning.
Though loss never goes away, over time, many can incorporate their loved one into their lives in new ways where healing diminishes the pain. With complicated grief, people change the way they view themselves, others and the world in such a way they feel lost, disconnected and going with the motions as if life is going on, but theirs is not. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps client’s reattach to their lost loved ones in a new way, helping them develop new understanding and meaning in such a way as to not let go of the loss, but to incorporating their loved one into their lives in a new helpful way, leading to a stronger, resilient self.