Grief and Loss: Common Reactions
Denial, numbness, and shock:
The first stage is typically denial and shock. A completely normal reaction, those dealing with loss many think it is not real, or may proclaim that the loss is impossible. Each person slowly begins to realize, unfortunately, that loss is real, as they phase out of this stage.
The second stage is known as bargaining. The distraught person may blame themselves for a loss, or may think of what they could have done to prevent the loss. Well prior to closure, at this stage a person believes that they could have changed the outcome.
Depression is the third stage, and may be the longest. This is the stage where a person may be stuck. During this stage, the full extent of grief is felt. Those already with a lack of coping skills may turn or return to drugs and alcohol. “Getting on” with daily life is tough during this stage.
Anger is the fourth stage of grief. This can be anger directed at the person who is no longer with us, or inwardly, mimicking the bargaining stage. Persons may also be mad at God or at others.
The final stage of grief is acceptance. It may take a long time to get to this stage, but now, a person can fully accept that a loss has occurred. That does not men pain goes away, simply that they have accepted the loss.
Coping with Grief:
How a person copes with grief is exceedingly important. For teenagers with very little in the way of coping skills, alcohol and drugs becomes an easy answer. Other problems, such as complete inundation with work or school or overeating can occur as well.
How Wilderness Therapy Can Help:
Wilderness therapy can help with our unique therapeutic practices. While at our program, teens learn how to live life successfully without alcohol or drugs, but will participate in therapy, journal writing, connecting with nature, and introspection to better move through the phases of grief to arrive at acceptance.