Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Helping our patients through loss


Bad things happen. It’s inevitable isn’t it?

When faced with a loss of some sorts, for example, money, job, loved ones, independence, relationships, or good health, we may recognize the following stages in our patients and in ourselves.

1. Disbelief. 

2. Stress with fight/flight responses. 

3. Acceptance and “at peace” with the loss.

4 Adaptation with possible post traumatic growth.

Asking what stage/s they are mainly in is an important question.

Most problematic cases including PTSD, depression, anxiety, and adjustment disorders, are “stuck” in stage two with the flight/fight responses. It’s a very emotionally draining stage.

If stuck in stage two, strategies around creative hopelessness here may be appropriate in the right context, and after sufficient validation and acknowledgment. Helping our patients to realize that the “fight or flight” response is “hopeless” for moving forward, so let’s consider an alternative path of acceptance. 

Pivot for acceptance or defusion in stage 3, and creating a value driven life that they want in stage 4, with their new founded insights and experience.

 

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