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BEREAVEMENT AND GRIEF.. PRESENTATION BY Adelbert Scholtz [counselling psychologist & retired pastor]

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Presentation on theme: "BEREAVEMENT AND GRIEF.. PRESENTATION BY Adelbert Scholtz [counselling psychologist & retired pastor]"— Presentation transcript:


2 PRESENTATION BY Adelbert Scholtz [counselling psychologist & retired pastor]

3 BEREAVEMENT AND GRIEF 1.The tragedy of life 2.Symptoms 3.Stages 4.Support


5 A UNIVERSAL EXPERIENCE When bereavement and grief is discussed most of us can relate to that Almost every adult has lost a loved one and suffered tragedies, other losses and disappointments

6 THE FALL OF MAN Alienation between Creator and man Alienation between man and man Man is spiritually dead (Eph 2: 1-2) Life is, therefore, often a burden and a tragedy

7 DEATH A natural and inevitable part of life Nobody lives forever An experience never to be repeated and feared by most people Always painful for loved ones

8 REMINDER OF OWN MORTALITY When a loved one dies you are reminded – o That nothing is permanent o That your own death is waiting

9 BROKEN HEARTS Relationships often come to an end Divorce Love affairs end sometimes Result: a broken heart, trauma, feelings of guilt

10 TRAGIC LOSSES Loss of health (e g cancer, HIV/AIDS &tc) Loss of youthfulness Loss of a job & income Loss of a limb, organ, eyesight or hearing

11 TRAUMA Greek: τραυμα (= wound) Physical and psychological wounds Both are real Both can be crippling

12 PSYCHOLOGICAL PAIN Grief and bereavement are the result of some or other trauma or psychological wound It is always very painful Although it is invisible, it is very real

13 AN OLD SAYING We often hear: “Time heals all wounds” The trouble with that is…. it takes TIME! And LOTS of it!


15 SYMPTOMS Usually sadness and depression Often anxiety Bereavement as such is not a psychological disorder

16 ICD-10: F32 Depressive Episode (1) In typical mild, moderate, or severe depressive episodes, the patient suffers from lowering of mood, reduction of energy, and decrease in activity. Capacity for enjoyment, interest, and concentration is reduced, and marked tiredness after even minimum effort is common. Sleep is usually disturbed and appetite diminished. Self- esteem and self-confidence are almost always reduced and, even in the mild form, some ideas of guilt or worthlessness are often present.

17 ICD-10: F32 Depressive Episode (2) The lowered mood varies little from day to day, is unresponsive to circumstances and may be accompanied by so-called "somatic" symptoms, such as loss of interest and pleasurable feelings, waking in the morning several hours before the usual time, depression worst in the morning, marked psychomotor retardation, agitation, loss of appetite, weight loss, and loss of libido. Depending upon the number and severity of the symptoms, a depressive episode may be specified as mild, moderate or severe.

18 MOST IMPORTANT SYMPTOMS An inability to enjoy anything Lack of energy, tiredness Tearfulness Pessimism & hopelessness Sleeping disorders Decreased appetite & weight loss Unrealistic feelings of guilt Suicidal tendencies

19 DEPRESSION AS REACTION Depression – a reaction to some or other disaster or serious loss, e g death of a beloved one, loss of income, loss of health or cessation of an important relationship Nobody can stay untouched in these circumstances Depression is a normal reaction after such a blow or loss

20 AGGREVATING FACTORS Social isolation Inadequate diet Weak self-image Pessimism Chronic pain & bad health Dependency on alcohol & other drugs


22 STAGES Stages in the mourning process: Disbelief Anger Feelings of guilt Negotiation Acceptance (As identified by Elizabeth Kübler-Ross)

23 DISBELIEF Cannot believe news “This cannot happen to me!” All expectations and plans about the future are wiped out

24 ANGER Angry towards those who may be responsible for loss Angry towards the world in general Angry towards God “Why me!!!?”

25 FEELINGS OF GUILT Remorse about lost chances Guilt about wrongs committed (is this loss a punishment for past wrongs?) Could loss have been prevented? Result of fall of man

26 NEGOTIATION Try to negotiate with God or humanity in general Promises

27 ACCEPTANCE Last stage Accepts the inevitable Make peace with irreversible situation

28 DURATION Mourning the loss of a spouse or child: at least a year Other losses: usually less If grief does not clear it may become pathological


30 THE FUNERAL Much has to be organised Many volunteers Big expenses Those left behind often in a haze or drugged

31 AFTER THE FUNERAL Loneliness sets in Administration of the estate Those left behind are often helpless Life cannot go on as normal – too many adjustments Support most needed at this stage

32 ROLE OF FRIENDS & FAMILY No magic wand available Wounds take time to heal Listen with empathy Allow tears to flow Be available Supervise meals Help with exercise

33 MOURNING Those left behind have an urgent need to mourn the deceased by – Crying Talking about the deceased Celebrating his/her life Completing tasks left uncompleted Complying with his/her last wishes So – don’t get drugged!

34 MOURNING After a catastrophy or other loss – The person also goes into mourning Cannot easily adjust to new life

35 SUPPORT WHEN A CHILD DIES Don’t tell the grieving parents – that you know exactly how they feel that the child is now in a better place that they may have other children that God picks the most beautiful flowers Just be there for them and allow them to cry and talk about their child

36 SUPPORT WHEN A CHILD DIES If there are other children in the grieving family they also need – To mourn Support To talk about their sibling

37 MEDICATION Antidepressants – Meant to increase the supply of serotonin to the brain Ineffective in many cases Often unpleasant side-effects Don’t solve any problems Interfere with mourning process and prolong the suffering

38 SLEEPING PILLS It is necessary to get enough quality sleep Sleeping pills are highly addictive Pills don’t provide quality sleep – only induce a stupor Use only in an emergency

39 DREAMS Mourning person often dreams of the deceased or loss Dreams: coping mechanism of brain Drugs and sleeping pills interfere with dreaming

40 SUPPORT GROUPS Get to know new friends in similar circumstances Safe environment to express grief Gain knowledge and insight Social support

41 YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE Don’t neglect your spiritual life Pray & meditate What are your goals in life? What are your values? You may fight and argue with God – as Jacob did (Gen 32)

42 NUTRITION & DIET Eat lots of fresh veggies & fruit Get enough fibre in your diet Supplement with vitamins, minerals & omega-3 fatty acids Drugs: NO!

43 EXERCISE Your body is designed for movement Exercise produces endorphins – potent pain killers and enhancers of mood Helps with relaxation & sleep Good for your overall health

44 AN OLD SAYING We often hear: “Time heals all wounds” The trouble with that is…. it takes TIME! And LOTS of it! BUT – most wounds WILL heal, given time

45 HEALING OF SEVERE TRAUMA When trauma is severe and symptoms persist, then professional help is called for Treatment: hypnosis, EMDR, EFT, CBT &tc

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