As some of you know, I recently became certified as a Grief Recovery specialist. Since then, several of my clients and friends have asked what made me decide to take this path.
I learned about the existence of the Grief Recovery Institute from two amazing women I met while in Italy in 2017. They were both grief recovery specialists, and were very inspired by the work they were doing. I was fascinated by what they had shared, and after returning home, found myself poking around on the institute's website looking at upcoming trainings. My mind kept coming up with arguments against the idea, most of which were based on a belief that the losses I had experienced in my own life had not been devastating enough that I could truly understand how grievers feel.
Despite those arguments, in quiet moments when my mind was still, my curiosity about the training would resurface. Something inside kept saying: Do This. Unlike the voice of the mind, which flips and flops, hems and haws, and runs in endless analytic circles, it didn't give any supporting arguments. It didn't say why or how I should do it, only that I should. That quiet-yet-persistent inner nudge, or as I like to call it, The Steel-Toed Boot of God pressing into my backside as I enjoy the comfort of the known: Do This. I have learned not to ignore those nudges. I registered for the training, unsure as to whether it was for personal or professional reasons. A few months later, I showed up in Portland and entered a room where 19 chairs had been arranged in a circle, each with its own accompanying box of tissue. Here we go, I thought as I took my seat.
In that circle, our discussions shed light on the many ways in which our lives had been impacted not only by losses of all kinds, but by the ineptitude with which we had been conditioned to deal with them. In our training, we were all required to "do the work" of the Grief Recovery Method on ourselves, and with each other. Many times I was moved to tears by the stories of my classmates, as well as the truths I was called upon to share about myself. In that circle, I learned that everyone is a griever, myself included. I learned that every human being has a worthwhile story to tell of pain and heartbreak, and that devaluing our own feelings by comparing ourselves to those who have suffered more severe or numerous tragedies doesn't help them, or us, or anyone. In short, I learned that I was exactly where I needed to be.
The Grief Recovery Method is a journey from discovery to recovery. The discovery phase requires looking objectively at all of the unhelpful and even downright dysfunctional conditioning we've all been programmed to rely upon when riding the emotional roller coaster of loss. It brings awareness to the habit patterns we fall into as we seek to relieve the internal pressure that builds when we are unable to deal directly and effectively with our grief. We fail to do so not because there is something wrong or broken in us, but because we have all taken in a wealth of unhelpful information about how to do it, leaving us very little space to process some very BIG emotions.
From discovery we move to the recovery phase of the process, which begins with creating an overview of the history of loss in our lives, and the ways in which we have been emotionally affected by it. Next, we take an honest and in-depth look at a single relationship in which our emotions have been left incomplete. The final steps involve being witnessed in our expression of those incomplete emotions in both written and spoken form. Each and every step is carried out in a clear and organized way. We don't revisit those same communications a thousand times over. It is not an open-ended conversation that rambles on into infinity. There's a PLAN, and it's a good one.
Recovery can then continue by taking on another significant relationship, and another, until we are dealing with our emotions in real time, no backlog. Essentially, Grief Recovery is a decluttering of the heart.
When I returned home, my unanswered questions had been replaced with a mission to continue learning and to reach as many grievers as I am able. The experience of working with my first few one on one clients and first group has been inspiring. I feel privileged to sit beside them as they navigate the seemingly treacherous waters of the heart, allowing themselves to acknowledge and express emotions that we have all been conditioned to avoid. It is downright riveting and deeply rewarding to watch them complete the process, reporting that they now feel whole in places where they once felt broken. Thus far every one of them have found this process to have been incredibly helpful.
I am not implying that the Grief Recovery Method is a magic wand that we wave over ourselves to take away any and all sadness following a significant loss. Honestly, I don't think that most grievers would even want that. There will still be moments of sadness. It's part of life, and it's part of love. When we lose something or someone important to us, we are never the same, but we can recover a sense of wholeness and move forward with a renewed sense of purpose. We can keep our fond memories, and even a little sadness too, without it overwhelming us or affecting our ability to live fully and love deeply.
If any of you are feeling that cosmic nudge as you read about this process, not from your head, but from your heart and guts and soul; that quiet-but-powerful something that says, Do This, I would love to help you take the action steps necessary to recover from your losses. The Grief Recovery Method is not limited to death or divorce. Yes, losing your dog or cat counts. Yes, your empty nest counts. Yes, all of it counts. Let's do this.
Get in touch: email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call text (850) 525-2916.
As of June 2019:
The 7-session individual series is just $420 and includes The Grief Recovery Handbook, which is yours to keep. Payment can be broken up into as many as seven installments, and paying in full at the beginning of the program will result in a discount of $20.
We are currently in the midst of an 8 week group series which began on June 7th. If you are interested specifically in doing the group format, please message me with your contact information and I will add you to the list of potential participants for the next group. The investment for the group series is $250.
PLEASE contact me if you are in need of grief recovery and truly cannot afford to pay for it. We will figure something out.