A Guide To Grief And Loss: A Healing Approach – Part 2

Understanding the Two major Grief Stages

Types of Grief: Uncomplicated Grief:

There are two major types of grief. One is referred to as Uncomplicated Grief and the other is called Complicated Grief. Uncomplicated grief just means that people are experiencing the regular aspects to grief.

In uncomplicated grief, the pain can be very intense but over time there is a reduction in the sadness, a slow acceptance of the death or loss and a gradual return to normal activities of life. Common reactions to complicated grief are shock and numbness, preoccupation with the loss, concern over the details of what happened, anger, a desire to know the details, appetite and sleep disturbances, feelings of depression and hopelessness and an inability to stop thinking about the loss…for a period of time.  If you would like to have more of a conversation about grief, you can set up a conversation with me at www.supportivetalk.com .

Complicated Grief:

There is another type of grief. It is called Complicated Grief. If the griever has had other traumatic situations take place it can interfere with the healthy cycle of grief and leave the griever in a constant loss limbo. Grief takes over and becomes a way of life. The healing process is stuck. 

With Complicated grief, other circumstances have occurred to make the grief much more difficult or profound.  For example, Disenfranchised Loss where people have been denied the right to grieve (maybe in a suicide, miscarriage or war). Ambiguous Loss: this is when the essence of the person is gone but the body remains like with Alzheimer’s, a debilitating disease, a person who is missing in action, or a person in a vegetative state. They are here but not here. Thus, the loved ones are in limbo as far as moving on. To the loved ones, it may seem unloyal to find ways to live without them. Catastrophic loss: this is when a great tragedy accompanied the loss, where there was a horror attached to the death or a threat to one’s own life. Survivor’s Guilt: this is when other’s died while the griever survived but they feel guilty that they are still living. Another possibility is Multiple Deaths when the griever experienced one loss after another so there is no time to heal. Thus, with these types of loss, the griever becomes trapped in a perpetual sense of loss and unable to move on or heal. This type of grief takes a lot more help to work through the process.

As you can see, the grief process can be complicated and difficult. It often helps to talk to someone. Friends, clergy, or a therapist can often be very helpful. If you would like to chat with me, book a conversation on www.supportivetalk.com .


For additional reading, try Healing After Loss: Daily Mediations by Martha Whitmore Hickman and “I wasn’t ready to Say Goodbye” by Brook Noel and Pamela Blair, PhD. For more articles by this author, go to www.supportivetalk.com or book a conversation at your convenience at the website.