Grieving is Healing

Part 1

Excerpts from the book: Healing the Child Within

by Charles L. Whitfield, M.D.

Dangers of Unresolved Grief

“Unresolved grief festers like a deep wound covered by scar tissue, a pocket of vulnerability ever ready to break out anew. When we experience a loss or trauma, it stirs up energy within us that needs to be discharged. When we do not discharge this energy, the stress builds up to a state of chronic distress. Kritsberg (1986) calls it chronic shock. With no release this chronic distress is stored within us as discomfort or tension that may at first be difficult for us to recognize. We may feel it or experience it through a wide range of manifestations, such as chronic anxiety, tension, fear or nervousness, anger or resentment, sadness, emptiness, unfulfillment, confusion, guilt, shame or, as is common among many who grew up in a troubled family, as a feeling of numbness or “no feelings at all.” These feelings may come and go in the same person. There may also be difficulty sleeping, aches, pains and other somatic complaints, and full blown mental-emotional or physical illness, including PTSD, may result. In short, we pay a price when we do not grieve in a complete and healthy way.” – page 85, chapter 11.

Identifying Our Losses and Traumas

“(These) experiential techniques are helpful not only in identifying, but also in doing our actual work of grieving. The following are examples of some experiential techniques that may be used to heal our Child Within through grieving our un-grieved hurts, losses or traumas.

  • Risking and sharing, especially feelings, with safe and supportive people.
  • Storytelling (telling our own story, including risking, and sharing)
  • Working thru transference (what we project or “transfer” onto others, and vice-versa for them)
  • Psychodrama, Reconstruction, Gestalt Therapy, Family Sculpture.
  • Hypnosis and related techniques.
  • Attending self-help meetings.
  • Working the 12 Steps (of Al-Anon, ACA, AA, NA, OA, etc.)
  • Group Therapy (usually a safe and supportive place to practice many of these experiential techniques)
  • Couples therapy or family therapy
  • Guided Imagery
  • Breathwork
  • Affirmations
  • Dream analysis
  • Art, Movement and Play therapy
  • Active imagination and using intuition
  • Meditation and Prayer
  • Therapeutic bodywork
  • Keeping a journal or diary

-pages 87 and 88 of Healing the Child Within by Charles L. Whitfield M.D.

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