Understanding Grief and Loss
Written by Owen Baisden,
in Section Todays Parent
Grief is a natural reaction to suffering a loss, be that from the loss of a loved one, a close friend, or even a pet. However, it is possible for grieving to exceed the point where an individual is able to heal from that loss on their own.
For adolescent girls, this can have a further devastating effect on their life as it leaves them unable to properly function and handles the rigors that life brings, especially when preparing for college is involved. In dealing with this loss, teen girls may turn to unhealthy behaviors, such as alcohol and substance abuse or self-harming behaviors, as a way to gain relief from the grief.
When an individual is no longer able to function due to the prolonged duration and intensity of their grief, it becomes necessary to seek out grief counseling and even a grief treatment center. In this form of therapeutic treatment, teen girls are supported in their grief while still honoring their loss, allowing them to heal both mentally and emotionally so they can resume their normal lives.
Recognizing The Signs Of Complicated Grief
Normal grief is temporary and a natural reaction to experiencing loss. It is an emotional and mental process that enables an individual to heal from the pain of loss. However, when that grief is prolonged and leaves an individual unable to properly function or become a risk to themselves, it is referred to as complicated grief.
At this stage, grief counseling becomes crucial as the individual has lost the ability to benefit from the grief process on their own and is no longer able to function. In this way, grief becomes unhealthy and intervention is necessary.
Signs of grief in adolescence include crying, withdrawing from life and relationships, and detaching from others and from regular activities. Loss of appetite and inability to sleep are also common, as are erratic bouts of anger and frustration.
They may suddenly cancel plans -even if it is something that they had been planning and looking forward to for quite some time. Another sign that an individual is suffering from complicated grief and could benefit from grief treatment centers is their inability to manage everyday tasks, especially if there is any sort of long-term benefit in doing so.
What Complicated Grief Feels Like
Grief is a personal process that facilitates emotional healing from a painful loss. When grieving, one generally feels intense sorrow and longing for who (or what) was lost. Unhealthy grief will additionally manifest with an inability to accept the loss and feelings of personal responsibility for the loss -that there was something that the individual could have done that would have prevented the loss from occurring.
In the event that the loss entailed the death of a loved one, the individual may feel as if a piece of them died with that person. They may work to avoid any sort of acknowledgment of that person’s death, going so far as to pretend as if they are still alive.
Very often, someone experiencing complicated grief may find themselves unable to think about anything but that person and they may even feel justified in taking their own life so that they can “join” that person. For this reason, the seriousness of prolonged grief and the value of residential treatment programs for grief and loss cannot be underestimated.
When Help Is Needed: Residential Treatment Programs For Grief
Treatment for grief is most effectively centered upon psychotherapy, both individual and group therapy. Medication is rarely used unless other underlying factors require it, such as when counseling for loss reveals the individual is also suffering from anxiety, depression or a mood disorder. In some cases, complicated grief can lead to depression which may require medication to help bring the individual to a healthy equilibrium.
Residential treatment programs for grief provide an effective and supportive environment where adolescent girls are able to receive constant care to help them change their inner dialogue, address their grief, and heal from the loss. In fact, the overall culture of grief treatment centers can be paramount in allowing young women to first acknowledge and then move through their grief in healthy ways.
About The Author
Owen Baisden, CEO of Turning Winds Residential Treatment Center
Owen Baisden oversees the day-to-day operations of Turning Winds. Owen has a breadth of knowledge and experience in working with teens and their families in many different settings and capacities. Owen has worked with teens and families for nearly 17 years, helping nearly a thousand teens who have come through our program. This experience has allowed him to understand the “change” process and to become effective in connecting with and inspiring teens to work through their challenges and help them to build a life of purpose and well-being.
Owen earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and has been a director of Turning Winds for 12 years. In addition, he has worked in the trenches with the students in nearly every capacity. His favorite time now with the students is leading backpacking expeditions and other educational/recreational trips that inspire change.
When Owen is not at work he enjoys spending time with his spouse and 6 children. He loves the outdoors and enjoys fishing, hiking, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and scuba diving when he can.