Grief and Loss

Rona Okin, LCSW · Psychotherapist · NYC


Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak
whispers the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break.
— William Shakespeare
If you are experiencing grief and loss, know that you’re not alone: Grief and loss are normal (if painful) life transitions for everyone. Whether it’s the loss of a pet or the death of a close family member, everyone encounters the stress and anxiety of loss at some point in time. The ability to cope with these losses depends on a number of factors: How well were you dealing with life’s stressors prior to the loss? Did you experience a traumatic loss through death, or the loss of a relationship? Has a recent loss triggered memories of old, unresolved losses and abandonments?

Everyone Grieves Differently
Perhaps you’ve heard that everyone processes grief differently, and that is true. Initially feeling flooded with emotion — or alternatively feeling numb — are normal when there is a shock to the system. Everything may feel unreal or as if in a dream. Your movements may slow, or you may become hyper and agitated. Chest or abdominal pains, headaches, and nausea may be experienced. Food may lose its appeal and you may feel as if you have no appetite. You may notice changes in weight, increased fatigue, troubles with sleep, crying, sadness, anger, anxiety, feelings of emptiness and moments of despair. You may also experience guilt or feelings of responsibility if you had unfinished business around the loss.

Guess what? All of these symptoms are normal for people who have experienced loss.

But just because these symptoms are normal does not mean that you have to cope with the grieving or bereavement process alone. It’s OK to reach out for help at any time when you’re recovering from loss. And it’s an especially good idea to think about coming in to talk when the symptoms are intense or long-lasting and threaten to sideline your functioning at home, socially or on the job.

Feeling Pressured to “Get Over It”?
Following a loss it may sometimes feel as if others have moved on with their lives relatively unscathed while you continue to feel stuck and struggle to move forward . Try not to judge yourself for taking whatever time you need to process the changes in your life. Eventually you will recover and move beyond your grief, but it may not be at the pace that seems right for others. Coming to therapy to help bridge the gap between your old life (pre-loss) and your new life after the loss can be a gift of kindness to yourself.

Grief Recovery in NYC: How I Can Help
Processing your loss (or losses) in psychotherapy means that you are not alone with your pain: I will be your witness, sounding board and support through the grief recovery process.

Take Action – Call 212-734-6546
Call to schedule a time to meet with me at my therapy office on New York City’s Upper East Side.

Through the psychotherapy process you can heal the losses you’ve experienced and enable yourself to open to love once again. I look forward to hearing from you.