Natural Remedies To Add To Your Grief Counseling Treatment
Published | 5 min read
If you recently lost someone close to you, you may naturally enter into the 7 stages of grieving. These natural remedies can support your grief counseling plan to help you heal faster.
However, did you know that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can be used to help overcome grief? Read on to learn how herbal remedies and acupuncture can be used to help improve the effectiveness of your grief counseling treatment.
What Is Grief?
Together, these 7 stages of grief make up the framework of the grieving process.
1. Shock and disbelief
At the first news of loss, there is an initial reaction of shock. This is a defensive and self-preserving mechanism that protects us from pain.
Denial may follow shock, where you refuse to accept the reality of loss. While it is another defense mechanism, it is important to move on from this stage eventually.
Guilt arises once you start accepting the reality that you have just experienced the loss. The feeling of guilt stems from ruminating on whether you could have prevented the loss in the first place.
4. Anger and bargaining
As you attempt to live with this new void, you feel angry. Some people who grieve even blame the deceased for “leaving.” You may “bargain” mentally (“I will do x if only this loss can be reversed.”)
5. Depression and loneliness
In this stage, there is a deep sadness as you begin reflecting on how much the person meant to you. While difficult, this is also an aspect of grief that has the potential to open you up to progress.
You are genuinely working through the grief and your new reality, even if your sadness has not lessened. You’re actively building new routines and making modifications that better suit your new normal.
You have fully accepted the loss. You may cry or smile when you think of your loved one, but it is no longer debilitating.
You find life not just bearable but enjoyable. This stage is only reachable after having done the painful and challenging work of grieving.
Types Of Grief Counseling
Years of research indicate that grief is associated with unfavorable health conditions. For example, the relative risk of death is 22% higher among widows and widowers compared to those whose partners are still alive.
Different types of therapies can help you work through your grief. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a proven method that helps you recognize negative patterns and learn to change them.
Other types of therapy that may help include complicated grief therapy and traumatic grief therapy. There is also art and play therapy, as well as group therapy.
How Can TCM Support Grief Counseling?
TCM has always combined mind, body, and spirituality. Each organ system is associated with a spirit type.
A TCM practitioner can determine a combination of herbs to address symptoms in different stages of grief.
Both human studies and animal models have shown that this formula can alleviate symptoms of depression.
As with TCM herbs, most studies of acupuncture focus on depression rather than grief. Still, the fact that these modalities modulate important neurotransmitters involved in emotional regulation indicates their potential.
In a 2012 review of acupuncture for the treatment of depression, researchers were able to conclude that acupuncture is effective. They believe acupuncture mediates neurotransmitter signals to bolster adaptability and balance.
This is echoed by Physician Yew when he gives examples of acupoints that he would use on a patient.
TCM Supports Your Grief Counseling Plan
Research and practice continue to hone our understanding of grief. Fields within Western medicine and TCM offer a host of frameworks and tools to help someone grieving through their journey of healing.
As intensely and extremely difficult as it is to experience loss, know that you will eventually overcome this life transition with time. Share this article if it can help someone experiencing grief and loss.
- Psychosomatic Medicine. 2019. Grief: A Brief History of Research on How Body, Mind, and Brain Adapt. [online] Available at: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6844541/>
- Counselling Directory, United Kingdom. 2020. What are the 7 stages of grief? [online] Available at: <https://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/blog/2020/10/26/what-are-the-7-stages-of-grief – accept-cookies> [Accessed 2 November 2022]
- Talkspace.com. 7 Grief Therapy Techniques for Coping. [online] Available at: <https://www.talkspace.com/blog/grief-therapy-techniques/>
- Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. 2016. Nine traditional Chinese herbal formulas for the treatment of depression: an ethnopharmacology, phytochemistry, and pharmacology review. [online] Available at: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5036551/>
- The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. 2012. Acupuncture for Depression: A Review of Clinical Applications. [online] Available at: <https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/epdf/10.1177/070674371205700702>
- Medical Acupuncture. 2013. Traditional Chinese Medicine as a Basis for Treating Psychiatric Disorders: A Review of Theory with Illustrative Cases. [online] Available at: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3870484/>
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