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Psyc 190: Warriors at Home Grief and Loss Dr. Elena Klaw.

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Presentation on theme: "Psyc 190: Warriors at Home Grief and Loss Dr. Elena Klaw."— Presentation transcript:

1 Psyc 190: Warriors at Home Grief and Loss Dr. Elena Klaw

2 Goals for Today  Grief  Prolonged reactions  Primary v. secondary emotions  Guilt and self blame  Dealing with painful emotions  Suicide

3 Grief  Reaction to loss  Normal reactions: shock, despair, anger, guilt, numbness  Problematic if reactions are prolonged and symptoms interfere with life and/or relationships  May be triggered by reminders and anniversaries

4 Prolonged Complex Reactions  Unwanted thoughts  Nightmares  Angry outbursts  Hopelessness  Difficulty concentrating  Physical symptoms  Exhaustion  Eating problems  Substance use

5 Primary vs. Secondary (Complex) Emotions  Primary Emotions: pure, simple feelings/limbic system responses that happen here and now as a result of a loss e.g. sadness  Secondary (Complex Emotions): mixed feelings that are reactions to our primary feelings e.g. shame, hopelessness  Secondary Emotions: protect us from the pain of our gut reactions, allow us to distance ourselves from our feelings to have a sense of control or power  Thus, victims of trauma and abuse almost always blame themselves

6 Exploring Primary vs. Secondary Emotions  Hurt  Fear  Anger  Sorrow  Grief  Helplessness  Depression  Hopelessness  Demoralization  Despair  Worthlessness  Guilt  Shame  Rage  Hate

7 Guilt & Self Blame   Guilt: A feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.  Involves ruminating, replaying situation and assigning blame to self  Getting stuck may be less painful and scary than facing the loss and fear  Linked to PTSD, isolation & depression  Long term consequences may be self harm, risky behaviors, and suicide  Warriors have been put in impossible situations, mission to protect and defend

8 Dealing with Painful Emotions  Dealing with grief requires facing memories and commemorating losses e.g. through letters, scrapbooks, memorials, prayer, talking about the dead.  Help can be found through counseling, spiritual support, through mutual help, or a support group.  If you think someone who is suicidal, ask “are you thinking of harming yourself?”  Communicate “You matter to me and I am here to support you. I care about you and you don’t deserve to be in this much pain.”  Connect the person to Crisis Hotline, U. Counseling Services ( , Admin), Vet Center and make sure that support is present

9 Suicide Assessment  Ideation: thoughts of wanting to be dead, killing oneself  Plans: specific ideas as how one would kill themselves  Means – the tools to kills oneself e.g. firearms  A psychiatric team or police officer can evaluate for involuntary hospitalization if a person who is at risk to self or others refuses treatment (WIC 5150)  As mental health professionals, we are mandated to keep others safe


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