Counseling and Psychotherapy for Anxiety, Depression and Relationships in New York

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Are You Suffering From Overwhelming Grief?

Have you lost someone who you loved and valued deeply? If the loss occurred recently, are you still feeling a sense of shock and trying to make sense of what has happened? Or, if you are further along in the grieving process, are you trying to adjust to how life is now and struggling to fill the void that your loss created? Perhaps you are carrying around an overwhelmingly heavy sadness or experiencing anxiety about how to move on. Are you really feeling their absence – feeling pained to adjust to a life without them in it? Maybe you feel like you’re walking around in a fog, feeling empty, unfocused and out of balance. Or, are you heavy with regrets, wishing you could go back in time?

Most people associate grief and loss with the death of a loved one. Although that’s often the case, feelings of grief and loss can also occur during a life transition that signifies the end of something meaningful. Grief can manifest during and after divorce, as part of an illness or even following a significant move or career change. Whether it’s a person, a relationship or a job that was lost, grief can cause overwhelming sadness and anxiety about the future. You may be left with questions about who you are now and feel unable to deal with your loss.

Grief And Loss Affects Everyone

No one escapes loss. Whether it’s friendships, jobs, relationships or the loss of life, losses and the feeling of grief they create are a normal and common part of the human experience. The degrees to which losses affect people and how they are processed vary greatly. And, the more significant the loss, the more impact it will have on a person’s ability to feel and function well. Some people feel numb and begin to withdraw and isolate themselves physically or emotionally. Other people become overly active in an attempt to distract themselves from feeling pain. And still others self-medicate or develop other, unhealthy coping mechanisms. Losses can make us feel lonely and often force us to renegotiate our place in the world, which can feel frightening, exhausting and even make us feel like we’re going crazy.

The good news is that it’s highly unlikely that you are going crazy. Struggling to comprehend a loss and move on is normal. Everyone experiences grief and loss and it doesn’t last forever. However, if the feelings created by your loss are affecting your ability to feel and function well, therapy can be a wonderful place to help you process difficult feelings and feel better.

People process losses at different paces and in varying ways. There is no universal or right way to grieve. As I get to know you, understand your specific personality and situation and we begin building a trusting relationship, I can help set a pace that fits your experience. In our sessions, you will have a safe space to talk about the personal, deep feelings that were triggered by your loss. I will support you as you move through this painful experience. At first, therapy may be the only place that you feel comfortable sharing these feelings, but in time, you may be able to talk with others about your loss in ways that feel healthy and normal.

I understand the experience of missing someone or something deeply, as well as the challenges of moving forward. Although it may be hard to understand – especially in the beginning – moving forward is not about forgetting. Rather, it’s about learning how to integrate this painful experience and your loss into your life. Losses help define our life experience and you’ll never be exactly who you were before. But, you can move on, remember who or what you lost in a profound way, and feel happiness again.

Losses change who we are on a basic level. And, experiencing loss can be intensely painful. But, in time and with help and compassionate support, you can stop feeling isolated in your grief. You can begin to relate to others who have also experienced significant losses and find comfort and a connection in their experiences. And, until you are ready to share with others, I will provide you with a space to sort through your grief – even if it feels endless right now. I can carry some of it for you so you don’t have to hold it all on your own.

But, you still may have questions or concerns…

I’ve been grieving for months. I feel like this should be over by now.

Unfortunately, society tells us that we should move on quickly and resume life as usual, as if there is some rulebook that designates a specific amount of time and energy that should be given to grieving. The truth is that grief is hard and there is no rulebook or any specific way that grief should look or time it should take to heal from a loss.

In our sessions, you will be given all the space and time you need to work through your grief. Together, we can set a pace that feels right for you. We will create a safe and supportive relationship where you can say anything and everything that you need to. Your experience and loss is unique. And, your grief is unique, too. No one had the same relationship you did with who or what you lost. I can help you stay with painful feelings and then move through them. In time – the time that is right for you – you can and will feel better and resume a life that may feel different, but is joyful again.

I think that grief counseling could be helpful, but I’m concerned about costs.

Therapy is an investment. You are investing in yourself and your happiness. Take a moment and ask yourself how you want to be in the world and how you want your relationship with yourself and others to be. How much is your grief holding you back and causing you to suffer? Do you want to move through life with less heaviness and sadness and, rather, with more happiness and ease? If so, it is very possible work through your grief and live a joyous life again. But, getting there requires an investment of money, along with time, energy and exploratory work.

I encourage you to take inventory of your monthly income and expenses. There may be simple budget shifts that you can make to cover therapy costs.

Also, I do not work with a contract. You can take sessions one at a time. It’s part of my practice to regularly check-in with you about how you feel about the progress of the work we’re doing together. If at anytime you decide that you are not deriving benefit from therapy, you are under no obligation – financial or otherwise – to continue.

My grief feels so big. I’m afraid that talking about it will create more pain and it will be impossible for me to get over it.

It is common to believe that talking about grief will feel very overwhelming. However, although painful, if you really pay attention to your grief, it will shift, you will shift and you can start feeling better.

We will pace our sessions so that your grief will not consume you. I understand that the grieving process is delicate and that everyone processes these difficult emotions in different time frames and in varying ways. What’s important is that you are not alone. I will be with you as long as it takes and our relationship can alleviate a lot of the loneliness that you may be experiencing. You can begin to feel less overwhelmed by grief and regain balance in your life. Although you will never forget your loss, you can learn from your experience and move into a new life that is both healthy and inclusive of your loss.

I invite you to contact me and schedule a free, initial session. It’s imperative that you find the appropriate therapist to work with as you embark upon this healing self-exploration. Meeting will help both of us to determine if our personalities and styles work well together.

Rutie Havazelet, LCSW serves individuals in the following communities: New York metropolitan area including Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Westchester and Long Island.

This site is not a substitution for medical, psychiatric or psychological help.