Linda Gary, MFT
(818) 917-7600
Linda Gary, MFT Marriage and Family Therapist Learn about my approach to therapy I specialize in a variety of problems Contact me today

Grief is very much a part of life. It comes in large and small doses throughout the life cycle and includes all significant losses as well as death. Processing grief effectively can provide opportunities to deepen one’s purpose and wellbeing.

Bereaved persons may ruminate obsessively about the events leading up to a loss and blame themselves or others for it. At least half of those in committed relationships have symptoms of major depression in the first one to three months after the death of their partner. They may also have hallucinatory experiences where they strongly feel, hear, or see their departed loved ones in certain settings. If these symptoms don’t linger on after the first few months, they can be considered a normal part of the grieving process.

There are reasonably predictable stages and natural responses to grief and loss but there are also times when individuals get stuck and instead of moving toward psychological and physical wellbeing, symptoms become increasingly debilitating. This unresolved state of being combines both Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Major Depression.

The bereaved person may now feel increasingly overwhelmed by intrusive, traumatic thoughts and emotions, disturbing dreams, and an experience of detachment from others. Thoughts of suicide can go hand in hand with a loss of meaning in activities and on-going relationships that once held significant interest and affection.

The risk of developing complicated grief depends on both the immediate circumstances of the loss, including how traumatic or unexpected it was, and the life experiences and vulnerabilities of the one who is left. The survivor may believe he is about to lose his sanity if he thinks too much about what has happened or ruminates about how he or someone else could have prevented the loss. Complicated grief is more likely to occur after a death or loss that was sudden, violent or unexpected. However, even normal bereavement can produce complicated grief.

Treatment involves paying close attention to grave losses in an empathic environment that is structured to allow for expression and acceptance of a full range of emotions. Inappropriate guilt and ambivalent feelings are identified and worked through.

It is often helpful for a client to be guided toward confronting thoughts and situations they have been avoiding. Regrets and resentments are exposed and given the space and attention needed to dissipate unhealthy negativity. Guided conversations with the deceased may be helpful, especially when coming to terms with a violent death including suicide. Even though someone significant has died, the relationship lives on and continues to evolve over time in the one who is left.

Clients will gain an understanding of how grief and the grieving process impacts the body and the mind. Each session includes encouragement to do something enjoyable today. Best results occur when losses are grieved in a safe and supportive environment that also recognizes and reawakens an interest in life-affirming activities and relationships .


Copyright 2013. | All rights reserved. | Linda Gary (818) 917-7600 | Woodland Hills, CA 91367