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Katrina and Grief

By Charles Wm. Skillas, PhD, DD, BCH, CI, FNGH, MCCHt

 

Hurricane Katrina caused terrible damage to lives and property in the Gulf States. So many people were displaced from their homes, lost all or most of their possessions and suffered the loss of loved ones. In the aftermath of the storm and the recovery, an overriding sense of loss will pervade most of the people affected. This can and has already led to great sadness. Sadness is grief and can lead to depression, which can destroy the emotional lives of people.

Grief is an emotional response to a loss. The loss could be anything that a person held close and dear to themselves. It might be a loss of a pet or dearly loved person through separation or death. It could be a marriage on the rocks or the closing of a business that had been the dream of a lifetime.

Reactions to that grief vary with the individual and with the level of importance, the person has attached to the person or thing lost. For some the grief comes slowly and sneaks up quietly like a thief in the night, taking not material things, but stealing the very heart from the unaware. For others grief hits like a sledgehammer, pounding the very will to live from the spirit.

There will be an aching or a wrenching of the soul, sometimes accompanied by terror. The feelings of confusion, shock, and disbelief never seem to go away. They linger like black, ominous clouds, bringing depres­sion, pain, and even contempt for one's own life.

The grieving individual may be able to identify feelings of despair, sadness, anguish, and extreme moments of longing for the past. Sometimes they may experience one or more of these feelings, either one at a time or many simultaneously. The overwhelming feeling of emotional pain seems to be without end, and often there is an acute feeling of hopelessness. However, for most individuals, time is a healer.

Each situation is unique and different. There are personality differences and value systems that differ with each individual. While one person may truly resolve their grief in a relatively short time, another may still be "hanging on" years later. It is the latter individual with whom therapy is required. What is the relationship involved in the grief process? How strong were the ties? Is the grief out of proportion with the relationship? Hypnotherapy can quickly address these issues and, where appropriate, bring about resolution.

Even one's familiarity with grief can be an asset or a liability. The undertaker, for example, will be better able to confront the loss of a loved one than the teenager who has never had a loss in his life. The loss of pets during childhood, distant relatives, and others who are "not too close" all aid in learning about grief. Many learn from parents and relatives that they MUST grieve in a dark and despairing way. How and what did you learn about grief?

There is no socially correct or definite pattern for grieving and the process of healing, but we do know that an individual must heal in order for life to go on. Generally, three major phases can be clinically defined.

First comes shock. Shock is there even when loss is anticipated. Second, comes a period of disorganization and disorientation. This is the period where the therapist can be of great service. Third, either on their own or through therapy, the grievers begin to reorganize and get on with the rest of their lives.

At the onset, what the griever needs most is under­standing, information and someone to talk with. Friends and relatives tend to want to avoid discussion. While they are seemingly sympathetic, they actually get tired of hearing about "it." Yet, our most important function is to listen -just listen and ask questions that will encourage the patient to get it all out. At this time, it pays to be a friend and confidant.

Occasionally, the grievers will dissociate themselves from the incident to suppress feelings of guilt, rage, or other socially "unacceptable" emotions. They may have an incredible fear of their own mortality. This could result in denial and suppression of needed emotions. In order for an individual to live healthfully, he must move through and out of the grieving process, and hypnotherapists can help them do so.

During the period of disorientation, it sometimes seems as though the individual's brains are like scrambled eggs, and a cloud of doom surrounds them. They often cannot see beyond the very moment and may even have difficulty living in the moment. Part of this may be because they are holding tenaciously to the past for some reason and therefore cannot or will not look into the future. Without a future, life can be grim.

Two very important processes must happen so that their lives can go on. They must begin to disengage the past and start building their future. One process that works exceedingly well is called Time Line Therapy. It is a very efficient way to resolve the past and build a future with a minimum of emotion and a maximum of forward direction.

While in the time line process, we have the client release and resolve any old issues associated with the grief. Brighten the incident and any associated incidents. Then we have the client retrieve prior feelings of well­being and bring those feelings into future memories. Finally, we have the client associate into the future memories, then dissociate so that the positive feelings generalize in his life. It also helps the client to further create the future by moving toward activities that he may have always wanted to do or has enjoyed previously. In this way, the client looks to a future rather than a past to move away from. It can make all the difference in the world.

The biggest problem that I see from this kind of grief is that the terrible feelings attract sad or grieving energies of earthbound spirits or soul-mind fragments and the situation will lower the grieving person’s psychic defense system (Guardian Chi) so these sad energies can attach to them. Then they have to contend with not only their problems, but also with the problems of those who have attached to them, bringing their own sadness to compound what is already there. If this happens, the grieving person will never stop grieving because he is expressing the grief of the attachment. This can lead to all kinds of serious problems, including severe unrelenting depression.

The competent hypnotherapist will treat not only the grief itself, but be aware of grief energy attachments that may take up residence in the one aggrieved. Just treating the grief alone can leave even more important negative energies behind that can mess up the client for years afterwards. So, if you grieve, make sure that you not only deal with the grief, but also check for attachments to be sure that you are clear and safe for the future

 

Disclaimer:
This article is intended for general informational purposes
and does not provide medical, psychological, or other professional advice.


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