When you experience a loss and go through the process of grief, the emotional experience can be very intense. The emotions can be painful, or you can be afraid to let them in. Therefore, you may start to avoid the emotions, thoughts and reality surrounding the loss, and push them away. However, it is important that you make room for these emotions of sadness or anger and acknowledge your feelings. Avoiding them can cause the grief to become more intense in the long run and make it more difficult to eventually let go of these corresponding emotions.
This exercise will help you recognize these emotions and accept the reality of your loss, so that you can move through the grieving process. This requires that you gain insight into the things that you do to avoid the grieving process, so that you can confront them in the future with support from your social network or professional.
Use the questions below to indicate which avoidance behaviour you are prone to rely upon. You can copy and paste the questions below into a diary entry in NiceDay. Your professional can review them with you during your session.
Avoidance of the reality of loss
- What are the consequences of the loss that you would rather not think about?
- What are feelings you would rather avoid (for example, anger, sadness, or guilt)?
Avoidance of specific situations or objects
- Since your loved one has passed away, which specific situations or objects do you prefer to avoid because they are (too) painful to be confronted with?
Avoidance of memories of specific events
- Are there specific events related to the loss that you would rather not think about because they are too painful?
- Are there certain memories that give you anxiety that you would rather push away?
Avoidance of giving up grieving behaviour
- What do you do to keep your deceased loved one close and/or to avoid having to think about the fact that he or she is not coming back?
Keijsers, G. P. J., Van Minnen, A., Verbraak, M., Hoogduin, C. A. L. & Emmelkamp, P., (2017). Protocollaire behandelingen voor volwassenen met psychische klachten.