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The Importance of Grieving After Trauma

Grieving after trauma is an important part of trauma recovery. It lets you express sorrow for your losses, the experiences you’ve had, and the parts of yourself that were hurt, broken, or severed. But how do you go about that? How do you go about doing that?

The first step is preparing the ground for grieving after trauma to take place by carrying out investigative work to understand what our story is. Additionally, there are both intellectual and emotional components to that process. I believe a social process can also play a role in some of that. Exploring our own biographies, histories, and histories of our childhoods is really what it’s all about.

By the time someone is five years old, you can already see what kind of person they're going to become. Because many of the traumas they’ve experienced have already become ingrained in their personalities, their personalities have already crystallized themselves around their strengths and weaknesses.

The process of grieving after trauma is the process of thawing out those traumas that have been frozen. This gives us the chance to change for the better.

But how do we go about grieving after trauma?

I believe that the fact that it’s so painful plays a role in why it's difficult to explore that material. Traumas from very early in childhood are excruciatingly painful. And I believe that many people in our contemporary world and in our contemporary societies are unaware of this because they’ve never engaged in it. They don't actually think it's even conceivable. I believe that most people find it difficult to truly engage with that material.

Being completely unaware of the need for grieving after trauma is one of the simplest ways to stay out of it altogether. To dissociate from them, to separate from them, to not even emotionally connect to the child you were, is one of the fundamental coping mechanisms that people use to avoid dealing with their traumas. Unfortunately, this makes it really hard for you to go through the grieving process and heal your traumas.

Today, almost no one is going through grieving after trauma, which makes it extremely difficult for people to do so. As a result, if a person really starts to experience grief, they may find that no one in their life can relate to them because they’ve never experienced it. Therefore, many people who enter a deep state of grief find that they’re left with no one to support them and no true allies. Additionally, they may find it difficult to connect with a therapist if they seek treatment through the mental health system, especially if that therapist hasn't gone through a thorough grieving process themselves. Instead, they’ll simply give you a diagnosis of major depression or psychosis.

Additionally, many of these diagnoses involve referring the patient to a psychiatrist, who views all of their outward displays of grief, pain, anger, and sadness as merely "symptoms" of a diagnostic category. This translates to the need for varying degrees of psychiatric intervention, such as medication, hospitalization, or, in more extreme cases, ECT, and similar things. Therefore, a lot of the time, it can be extremely dangerous for people to seek mental health care when they’re experiencing severe loss. (Please note that there’s nothing wrong with using these things, but they shouldn’t be your first line of defense. Instead, you should allow yourself some time to grieve)

That isn’t to say that all therapists are like this. Some therapists understand the process of grieving after trauma and are very beneficial. However, in order for a therapist to be truly helpful, truly empathic, able to support someone who’s going through a grieving process, and to be an ally, they must have done it themselves.

Why do I share this with you?

It’s because I want you to understand the foundation of the coaching curriculum I’m developing for us to work through together. Here at Healing Family Trauma Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, you have someone available to you who’s grieved the childhood and young adulthood I never had, someone who can also help you work through your own grief over such traumas. So, I invite you to stick around so that we can work through these things together. And if you don’t need to do this work yourself, I invite you to support this site so that I can help more people who do need to do this work.

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