Loss and Grief

In most cases, grief is a normal and healthy reaction to an emotionally significant loss. Grief gives us a window in to our caring for the person or thing we’ve lost, and it can help us move forward into a new phase of life after the loss. Often, grief comes with symptoms of common mental health conditions like depression or anxiety, but it is not in itself a mental illness.

However, when feelings of grief remain intense and last for a long time after a loss, they can keep you from moving forward with a healthy lifestyle.


Prevalence of challenges around loss and grief

Most people experience some form of grief after a painful loss. But for some people, acute grief persists long after the loss, often for a year or more.

This form of intense, prolonged grief is known as complicated grief, and one study notes that about 7% of people who experience the death of a loved one develop complicated grief.

Some studies suggest that women may be more likely than men to develop complicated grief.

Challenges around loss and grief

Grief often resembles symptoms of depression, but reactions to loss vary widely from person to person. That said, some of the most common symptoms include:

Types of grief and loss

Again, grief looks different for everyone. Nonetheless, some of the most common scenarios related to grief include:

If you’re struggling with the grieving process, you might consider the following courses of action:

How to look for a therapist for loss and grief challenges

Prioritize personal fit

While personality fit is a nuanced factor, it is critical to your success in therapy. Multiple studies have revealed the importance of this factor, often referred to as “therapeutic alliance.”

On your initial phone call with the therapist, ask yourself:

Determine which therapy type(s) appeal to you

Therapists vary in their approaches to treating challenges related to grief. A few of the most common options include:

New to therapy? Learn about how to find a therapist here.