Grief is a normal and natural process. Elephants and dolphins grieve. Human beings are the only animals with prefrontal cortexes large enough to get in the way and inhibit the normal, biologically wired grief process. My job as a therapist is to normalize the process and essentially help an individual get out of their own way and begin to allow the healing process. The modality I favor is called “dual process” grief therapy. The two processes being allowing the waves of grief to wash over and then allowing for the periods of relief and reprieve with out guilt. Sometimes people get stuck in trying to force the “moving on” (the relief), others feel too guilty or unable to experience the relief and feel stuck in the anger or depression of the grief. And yet others have the most issue moving between the two states. I work with individuals to identify and let go of the the “shoulds” of grief that are holding them back and begin to move more fluidly in and out of grief, like breathing, until one is fully through it. I also spend a great deal of time educating around the common stages and experiences of grief and what one might come to expect, as well as tangible strategies to engage more fully in the process. The word grief is more like an umbrella term for a host of normal and expectable feelings that arise after loss including anger, relief, fear, gratitude, peace, longing, loneliness, sadness, frustration, resentment, guilt and shame. One cultural misconception about grief, which is born of well meaning, is that time heals all wounds. That is partially true, but it’s time WITH the grief, time allowing the grief to move through naturally. I am there to help identify and honor all aspects of this complex and at times overwhelming experience. All pain hurts, but not all pain is harmful, in fact conversely some pain is healing and healthy, like the pain of physical therapy, or contractions in childbirth. The pain of grief is the ladder and I am there to help the individual allow the healing to begin and support that person through this vulnerable, inherently wise and powerful time.