Grief and Loss:
Hidden Grief Can't Heal
Giving Empathy While
Coping with Grief and Loss
Grief and Loss may sound like “It’s okay to be vulnerable”, “Don’t hide your hurt”, “Your authenticity is your power”
I say these things to my clients, and now I am saying to myself so I can effectively write this blog, both as a therapist and as a sibling in decades-long mourning. Ive learned that, in sibling loss, there exists a weight that extends beyond the individual’s own sorrow. It is the overwhelming sadness and helplessness that comes as we witness our parents carry the unbearable grief of the loss of a child. The heaviness of this experience adds an extra layer of complexity, one that tugs at the heartstrings with a depth that words can scarcely capture.
Grief becomes a dance of duality. On one hand, you grapple with your own emotions, and on the other hand, you try to alleviate the sorrow of your parents or other sibling(s). Initially, many families try not to “share” the shared grief, and instead, make every effort to heal each other first. The dynamic between parent and child undergoes a transformation, as roles intertwine and the line between comforter and comforted blurs. There is no respite to offer, often leading to efforts of shielding each other from seeing any more pain. But, grief can’t heal when hidden away in corners and crevices; eventually, it finds it’s way out.
Healing from Grief and Loss
through Various stages of life
Amidst this fusion of sorrow, try to remember that you too deserve the time and space demanded by grief. As empathy intertwines with personal grief, the opportunity for shared healing may arise. It is a delicate balance, learning to navigate the tightrope of self-care while extending love and compassion to loved ones.
The bond between siblings is a profound and lifelong connection, and the loss of a sibling disrupts the future that was once imagined together. Some aspects that make sibling grief distinct include:
Shared History: Siblings often share unique memories and a deep understanding of one another, making the loss feel even more profound.
- Unfulfilled Roles and Expectations: Sibling loss robs individuals of the future they envisioned, including unfulfilled roles as confidants, supporters, and lifelong companions.
- Parental Focus: In the aftermath of sibling loss, parents may be consumed by their own grief, leaving surviving siblings feeling overlooked or neglected in their own grieving process.
Exercises for Healing from Grief and Loss
- Gather photographs, mementos, and meaningful items that remind you of your loved one.
- Create a collage or visual representation of your memories together, arranging the items in a way that feels meaningful to you.
- Spend time reflecting on the memories and emotions that arise as you engage with the collage.
- Find a quiet and comfortable space to sit and reflect on your feelings.
- Write a heartfelt letter to your loved one, expressing your thoughts, emotions, and anything you wish to share.
- After writing the letter, take a moment to sit with your feelings, and allow the emotions to be “given” to the paper.
Drawing & Creativity
- Using art and expressive, creative therapist can facilitate communication, help increase awareness of feelings, and help to identify areas of mourning that may need more support.
- “Free Drawing” or “Open Expression” allows for coping, and expression, absent from having to “find the right words”.
Ritual of Remembrance:
- Choose a meaningful date or create a new annual ritual.
- Plan a special activity or ceremony that reflects your loved ones interests or your shared experiences.
- Engage in the ritual, dedicating this time to remember, celebrate, and cherish the bond you shared.
Therapy can be immensely beneficial in helping individuals cope with grief. Some therapeutic approaches that may assist in the healing process include Individual Therapy, Family Therapy, Support Groups, Expressive Therapies and other creative interventions. Remember, it’s important to give yourself time, space and compassion during your healing process.
Various Grief Peer Support Groups:
FAQ's about online therapy in NJ
How do I get started as a new client?
What is your cancellation policy?
We ask that clients provide at least 24 hours notice in the event that they need to cancel to avoid the 50% cancellation fee. we understand that life happens and do our best to be flexible & reschedule.
Does my insurance cover my visits?
Do you offer traditional talk therapy?
Is Online Therapy As Effective As In-Person Therapy?
Online therapy is essentially face-to-face counseling, just conducted remotely. Studies show that teletherapy is as effective as traditional counseling. Professional organizations and state governments recognize its benefits and have set regulations for it. However, like any therapy, its success in achieving your goals isn’t guaranteed. It’s important to discuss with your therapist whether teletherapy is working for you.
Can I Change Therapists If I'm Not Happy?
Yes, you can switch therapists to another provider within the practice, or we can provide you a referral if preferred. We want to ensure that your time and effort are well spent, and that you are getting the relief you need, that’s why we work collaboratively with each other in the practice, as well as outside therapists who we know and trust.
How Do I Know If Therapy Is Helping?
You should feel like you’re making progress. Signs it’s working include:
Feeling comfortable talking to your therapist
Your therapist respects boundaries
You’re moving towards your goals
You feel listened to
You’re doing better in life
Your self-esteem is getting better
Is Online Therapy Easy to Use for Non-Tech-Savvy People?
Yes, it’s pretty simple to access sessions. You’ll need basic internet skills, such as opening and visiting the patient link sent to you via email. It’s similar to video chatting like Facetime or Zoom. We can also walk you through it on the phone the first time to ensure a strong connection
What Questions Should I Ask My New Therapist?
Feel free to ask anything. Some good questions are:
- How often will we meet?
- What do you specialize in?
- What experience do you have with my issue?
- What outcomes can I expect?
- How will I know I’m progressing?
- How long do you usually work with clients?
- How will we set my treatment goals?
How Should I Prepare for My First Session?
Showing up is all that you need to do! But if you really want to get the most out of session, it could help to take some time to think about what you want from therapy. It helps to write down your goals, questions you have or things that you feel are important to share.
What is the difference between associate therapists & fully licensed therapists?
Our founder, Rebecca Sidoti, is a highly qualified, state-licensed therapist and supervisor with extensive training in anxiety related disorders and innovative treatment such as Ketamine Therapy. Mind by Design Counseling adheres to standards set by the our governing counseling boards.
To see each providers credentials, training and licenses, visit our “Meet the Therapists” Page to learn more.
- LAC/LSW are therapists who may practice clinical work under the supervision of a fully licensed therapist.
- LPC/LCSW are therapists who have completed the necessary clinical hours post-graduation under supervision and can practice clinical work independently.
What Geographic Areas Are Served?
Currently, we serve clients in New Jersey and are expanding to other states as telehealth laws evolve. While telehealth offers the convenience of attending sessions from anywhere, state laws require clients to be in-state during their session.
Is Virtual Counseling Suitable for Everyone?
Online therapy might not be as effective for individuals with chronic suicidal thoughts, severe trauma, significant mental health history, or those recently in intensive care. Such cases often benefit more from traditional, in-person counseling. We’ll help you decide if our online services are right for you during your intake and evaluation.
What Equipment is Needed for Online Therapy?
To join a session, log in using the credentials we provide. No downloads are needed. Our platform, compatible with both individual and group sessions, requires:
A computer or mobile device with a webcam and internet access.
We’ll help you test your setup before your first appointment to ensure a reliable connection. iOS users should use the Safari browser for mobile and tablet sessions.
What Questions Will Therapists Ask Me?
It depends on your goals. Expect questions about your thoughts, feelings, relationships, work, school, and health. They’ll ask to understand your therapy goals.
How Do You Keep Client Information Secure?
Security and Confidentiality of Sessions:
Your privacy is crucial to us. We use TherapyNotes, a HIPAA-compliant platform, ensuring secure and confidential teletherapy sessions. This platform’s security features include encrypted video connections, secure data transfers, and encrypted databases, ensuring your information is safe at all times.
What is VRT used for?
VRT not only helps with exposure therapy for phobias, but is great for ADHD, mindfulness, PTSD and social anxiety.