Transforming Grief and Loss

We all experience loss in our lives,

the death of a loved one or death of a beloved pet, the loss of a job, loss of close friendships that somehow dissolve, the witness of declining health. You may even experience the loss of a marriage that ends in divorce or separation. Even though losses are common and natural we are not educated or trained to deal with losses. Especially in our American culture, we live in a death-denial society that sometimes forces us to suppress our feelings regarding major life transitions and encourage us to continue living as if nothing has changed, nothing has happened.

How do we deal with grief and loss?

A challenging concept to accept is the principle that we, as individuals, can make the choice, to decide to accept the responsibility for our own well-being and happiness. You may ask, “How can we choose to be happy especially in times of grief?” We can choose to be happy by practicing acceptance, by living in the present moment and not focus or dwell in the past or fear what the future may bring. Practicing acceptance is not just “giving up, losing all hope for the future.” Acceptance is the discipline of acknowledging your present feelings, tolerating, embracing, experiencing your profound loss and learn how not to avoid feelings, to not turn to fantasy to escape reality or not become aggressive.

“We experience a sense of loss when something or someone that belonged to us and was of great value has been taken from our lives, leaving in their place a void that we are sometimes unable to fill. This emptiness leaves us baffled, stunned, and with doubts about the next steps on our path. Loss is an experience of our own human condition. (Houben).

What is grief?

Basically, grief is the natural and unique response to a loss. Grief is unique because everyone has their own experiences, belief systems, values that is different from everyone else. No one can know how you feel, although many people can have similar life experiences and comparable losses in life. There are several types of grief and types of grievers.

  • Anticipatory grief is created when you are expecting something that will happen that will hurt us greatly.
  • Complicated grief is intense grief that interrupts the life of a person experiencing a loss. Complicated grief interferes with the healing process as the person gets stuck in their own pain. Denial, distractions, avoidance, and acute grief dominate the person’s life.
  • Disenfranchised grief is a type of loss that is not acknowledged, and the griever is not recognized because the loss is not socially validated.
  • Instrumental grief has been linked to how men generally grief. This kind of griever focuses more on thoughts and actions. Men tend to “do” things to express their grief.
  • Intuitive grief focuses on feelings and their expression is overt. Emotions such as sadness can be quite intense and are expressed by crying. This kind of griever tends to experience grief in an acute and deep way.

11 principals of transformation

Ligia M. Houben from the book, “Transforming Grief & Loss” (2017) has developed 11 means to process or transform grief.

  1.  Accept your loss.
  2.  Live your grief.
  3.  Go deeper into the spiritual dimension.
  4.  Express your feelings.
  5.  Share with others.
  6.  Take care of yourself.
  7.  Use rituals.
  8.  Live the present.
  9.  Modify your thoughts.
  10.  Rebuild your world.
  11.  Visualize the life you want.

How can Grow Psychological help you with grief?

Grow Psychological has several therapists on staff trained that work with people dealing with trauma and grief. Our therapists are willing and will gladly help you work through the pain of your loss. 

Group therapy can be most beneficial for people suffering from the pain of loss. 

David, a grief expert at Grow Psychology, offers a Grief & Loss therapeutic group consisting between 3-7 individuals. This psychotherapy, a closed group, is a 15-week therapeutic facilitated course using the book, “Transforming Grief & Loss” by Ligia, M. Houben. 

The group setting allows people to express their emotions (processing) and learn how to develop effective coping skills dealing with grief. The intent of this psychotherapy group is to help people heal from the pain of their loss and to create a supportive grief care network for members suffering from grief.

Let us, at Grow Psychological, help you deal with your grief and help you work through your pain.

Grief therapy experts available in Leawood, Kansas.

Let us, at Grow Psychological, help you deal with your grief and help you work through your pain.


David Kessler –

Grief Blog –

Posted by David Kellar

David has worked at the Addiction Clinic at KU Medical Center (University of Kansas Health System) since 2012. His counseling practice utilizes ACT (Acceptance Commitment Therapy) and DBT (Dialectic Behavior Therapy) and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Process). He has also received one year training at Mid America Nazarene University certified as a Sex Addiction Trained Provider. "I help clients discover their strengths and talents to realize values that will allow you to make healthier decisions/choices in life. My goal is to help you live a more purposeful and healthier life._