Honouring Grief

Posted by Salley-Ann Ross.
Honouring Grief

Grieving and comprehending this with supported individuals whether they live independently or within their family is an area that is complicated and has no clear definition.  In essence there is no clear “way” to grieve. Grieving a loss coupled with cognitive challenges can take  this life process to another dimension, requiring a different understanding and support. 

For caregivers, we may feel helpless and may revert to the following in order to protect our loved one.  The following are areas to avoid when a supported individual is grieving:

  • Overprotectiveness that creates a reluctance to upset individuals
  • Limiting exposure or discussion of death, loss and grief
  • Putting a time limit on their grief.  There is no time table for grieving.  Over time an individual’s painful and emotional reactions lessen and returns to their former levels of functioning
  • Grief never goes away, and there may be surges  of this emerging especially during holiday or anniversary times in which the deceased is deeply missed
  • There is no sequence or stages within the grieving process (Worden 2010)
  • The process is individual

(Doody, 2014)

There needs to be consideration that supported individuals may experience grief with what seems like distorted limited emotional reaction.  However, within everyone there is a spiritual element, that encompasses not only our outward reaction, such as crying or anger, but inwardly.  It is known that when there is a significant loss there is sense of longing, or an emptiness that is experienced. There needs to be honour and dignity when a supported individual also experiences a loss in their lives, without the assumption that they will not notice or it just goes away. Avoiding these assumptions, paying close attention to behavioral changes, giving space and supporting resources that can aid in this process for as long as they need will be integral to their unique self- expression, healing and moving through their loss.

Reference:

Doody,O. (2014) Loss & Grief Within Intellectual Disability. Research Gate: https://www.research/gate/net.publication/288010367

Want A Real Life? Then Let Go Of The Fairytale

Posted by Alyson Jones.

In previous blogs I wrote about the first two principles of the MORE Philosophy which are movement and opportunity. Hand in hand with these previous principles is the concept of reality. To achieve the outcome of an exceptional life you need to live in the real world! Living in a fantasy will only yield a fantasy, and frankly that is pretty unfulfilling.

A fairytale may be pretty and perfect and have a “happy” ending, but it is not real. It is insubstantial and nothing else truly exists there but your imagination. It is healthy to have fantasies, to use your imagination to create visions for the future, but those exceptional moments that offer opportunity and require movement, only exist in the real world.

How Fear Can Bring Opportunity

Posted by Alyson Jones.

As a Therapist I have developed a philosophy by which I practice therapy, and live my life. This is the MORE philosophy. MORE is a frame by which we can authentically move through the opportunities life presents, and experience exceptional outcomes. In a previous article I discussed how the M in MORE stood for movement, and how this was essential for our mental health.

This article is focused on the second principle of MORE which is “Opportunity.” Life is filled with opportunity, and the best guides to choosing your opportunities are your curiosity and your fear. To understand this further we are going to look at the life of Brianne, but first we need to gain a better understanding that opportunity does not always look the way we think it should. The key is to stay curious in life and you will have some interesting experiences.

Keeping The Divorce Talk Honest Can Help Your Kids Heal Faster

Posted by Alyson Jones.

In my last blog I wrote about three difficult and important conversations to have with your children. The topics I covered were sex, drugs and bullying.

That blog highlighted how these challenging conversations can actually bring your family closer, as difficult conversations can be opportunities for growth. Talking to your children about these difficult topics can demonstrate to them that you have their best interests at heart, and that they can come to you for information and guidance.

3 Difficult And Important Conversations To Have With Your Children

Posted by Alyson Jones.

As a child and family therapist I have been assisting parents in having difficult conversations with their children on a variety of topics. As a parent I have had to have these same conversations with my own children. As a result, I have some practical advice on how to have those conversations and why it is important to lead your children though this difficult terrain.

There are a couple of important points I would like to make before we get into the details of how to have these conversations. The first is that honesty really is the best policy. Don’t candy-coat things in your conversations with your children. Keep things age appropriate — but keep it real!