A pang or a wave of grief may start when the survivor or the client has suffered grief from the death of a close person or partner. At the beginning of the loss, the pangs or waves are very frequent and long lasting (Bui, 2010). However, in the later stages some of the related factors may remind the client of the loss thereby triggering the pang. Factors like viewing the photos of the deceased person, conversation with a mutual friend of the person, sudden waking up in a double bed and finding oneself alone, finding oneself alone in the crowd, trying to adjust life without the person are some of the factors that gives rise to pangs or sudden waves of grief.
According to Bowlby (1961), the phase of pangs and sudden wave of grief is termed as “The phase of yearning and protest”. This is the stage after numbness. In this, stage when the numbness wears off, the client experiences cravings and aches for the lost person. In this stage the cliet is not able to focus on any rational thoughts expect for the thought of loss. According to Bowlby (1961) the client may experience high levels of inappropriate anger and guilt and grief during this stage. The client may feel guilty because the client had not spent considerable amount of time with the deceased. The other noticeable characteristic that can be found within the client is a sense of protest and denial and an irrational search for the lost person.
Some of the signs of grief that are noticed in the behavior of the bereaved client are namely sense of complete helplessness, tendency to ask irrational questions, diversion of attention, loss of interest in any activity and concentration on events that caused the loss. McCabe (2010) opined that grief is the pain that a person experiences when realization of loss of a loved person sinks in. It is a complex emotion and different client may show different characteristic of grief. Hence, in this stage the counselor may see different signs like crying, anger and frustration, withdrawal from the public world and living in a private manner and longing and desperation to see the deceased for one last time. However, Bui (2010) suggested that the signs of grief will depend on the intensity and type of relationship the client had with the person.
The client affected from the close person’s death shows a sense of guilt expressing that the client is directly or indirectly responsible for the death of the person. In cases of a widower or a widow it is seen that the loss of the partner will trigger a sense of guilt within the client. The client may feel that he/she did not take proper attention to the health of the partner (Bui, 2010). The widow may feel that excessive work pressure may have resulted in death of the partner and on the contrary the widower may feel that neglect and emotional turmoil caused due to stress in the relationship was the reason behind the premature death of the partner. In case of a child, the child may feel that the cursing of the parent at the time of anger was the sole reason for the death of the parent.
If the client is in an unhappy relationship and encounters a sudden death of the partner then the emotional turmoil of the client is low. The client is emotionally stable since the relationship was not so close. However, the society expects the bereaved person to respond in a similar way like the normal person (McCabe, 2010). If the predictable response is not seen in the client behavior then the society and the concerned families will blame the client for the death and consider it indecent behavior. Hence, even if the person does not feel guilt emotionally however to display the desired behavior the client shows signs of guilt. Moreover, in an unhealthy relation the partner wishes for the death of the other partner hence when this wish becomes true the partner felt sense of guilt.
The signs of anger constitute of the following characteristics namely short illogical outbursts, states of bitterness and a rude attitude towards others. Moreover, the client becomes over sensitive and insecure at very little instances. in cases of unhealthy relations the partner may feel anger due to the resentment that existed in the relation. The client directs the anger either to oneself or to the natural occurrences (Bowlby, 1960).
The client generally experiences the anger because the sudden loss of the close person becomes emotionally unacceptable for the client. Hence, the client with the help of anger tries to accommodate oneself to the loss and absence of the person. The death of the person results in a temporary loss of faith of the client on humanity and god. Hence the client shows anger and resentment against the wrong which has occurred in their life. In case the loss is before time then the client feels that it is an act of cruelty and unfairness on the part of the client and thus shows anger in response. Moreover, the sense of guilt may also give rise to anger in the individual’s behavior (McCabe, 2010).
Counseling can help the bereaved person experiencing anger to relive the intensity of the relations they had with the deceased person. The counselor may fix discussion sessions with the client and try to revive good memories of the relationship in order to reduce anger levels. Moreover, the counselor will also try to remind the client that the production of anger will create a sense of disrespect for the deceased. The counselor may also provoke the client to express the anger by triggering the points of anger (McCabe, 2010). At times, the loosing of control and grieving in front of some unknown person helps the client to reduce the anger.
The physical effect caused by the mind on the body is termed as somatic effects. Following are some of the physical effects of grief namely a loss in appetite, loss of sleep and unnatural sleep pattern, nervousness and tension, increased heart rate, general aches and body pains and headaches, dryness of mouth. The client may also visualize bizarre experiences that may be a mental thought and not a reality. The physical effects will affect the daily work life and give rise to numerous diseases (Konigsberg, 2011).
The physical effects of grief are very unnatural and can result in long-term deterioration of the physical health. Hence, it is important for the client to recognize the symptoms at an early stage and opt for counseling. The lack attention on the physical health and recognition of the signs may cause the client to suffer from acute headaches and digestive disorders. Moreover, the client may experience sleeping problems, which may cause inefficiency in the levels of productivity and loss of memory. The client may also experience reduction in the body weights. With time, the affect of grief may be resolved however; the physical affects will be long lasting and will put the physical heath of the person in jeopardy (Bui, 2010). The client may experience various diseases like cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, leukemia, anemia, influenza, high blood pressure and chronic depression. Hence, it is advisable to take precautions at the very beginning of the detection of the symptoms.
Bowlby, J. (1960). Processes of mourning. The International journal of psycho-analysis, 42, pp- 317-340.
Bui, N. (2010). Letting go and moving on. PsycCRITIQUES, 55(17).
Konigsberg, R. (2011). The truth about grief. New York: Simon & Schuster.
McCabe, M. (2010). Not letting go. PsycCRITIQUES, 55(16).
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