Grief: Not a Solo Journey

Written by: Elyse Naples, LPC with Ruth Minnick, NCC, LPC

Grief can be sad, angry, silent, powerful, or beautiful. All in all, grief is complicated–An understatement.

Grief is not meant to be a solo journey, It can be very lonely and isolating. Those who have experienced loss know the powerful effects it can have on our emotions, our bodies, and how we interact with our world. When others around us have not experienced loss, it can leave us feeling overwhelmed and challenged to fit into our lives again. The loss of a “loved one has been recognized as the greatest life stressor that we face as humans, heading the list of stressful life events compiled by Holmes and Rahe” (Holmes, 1967.)

There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Grief comes in all forms, shapes, and sizes. Some may take ten years to grieve. Some may only take three months. Some say one never really stops grieving after they have experienced a loss. It can impact our health mentally and physically with increased heart rate, blood pressure, and risk of heart attack. There is not a specific timeline for grieving. Still, after a year, about 10% of the population can experience what is known as “complicated grief”: they stay completely preoccupied with loss and persistent yearning and remain socially withdrawn” (NYTimes, 2021.) 

How do you precisely define “loss”? Most people perceive loss only as relating to the death of someone, particularly a loved one or a friend. If this were true, we would be excluding a great deal of those who experience grief every single day. The loss of a home, financial loss, a complex medical diagnosis, a breakup, divorce, etc., are all processed in the body and mind in the same way.

Grief can be felt in identity, trying to fit into one’s life after a loss, and assimilating into a culture one was not born to. A first-generation American who came to the US when they were six and now, as an adult, may feel pressure to assimilate into the larger American culture. In both cases, they may feel they are grieving their historical identity.

In the present day, we may be suffering losses on a larger scale, such as the loss of lives in the war in Ukraine, the Israeli-Hamas war, the loss of George Floyd and many other African Americans through hate and discrimination, along with the loss of rights in the recently overturned Roe v. Wade.

All loss is felt and can cut deeply. As individuals, we are not designed to feel this pain in isolation. Coming together in pain and loss can support more profound healing. Using a community of support who understands the pain and ache of loss can foster empathy and connection.

Grief is not a solo journey. A grief-centered counseling group can underline that grief can be dynamic and that everyone’s grief is valid. Having a community of support through a group can create a sense of ease, knowing that no one is going through this painful experience alone.

Grief can be extremely intense and uncomfortable for the individual experiencing it. Living Well Psychotherapy offers group counseling designed explicitly for the grief process. We want to hold space for you and allow you to feel whatever you need to find yourself more at peace than you were able to previously. This healing can be attained through emotional exercises, somatic expression, mindfulness, and more.

Opening this vulnerable part of yourself can be terrifying, rewarding, and life-changing. At Living Well Psychotherapy, we want you to know we will be with you every step of the way to guide you through this complex journey. Reaching out for mental health help is not a sign of weakness but rather a sign of courage. By revealing this side of yourself, you are one step closer to healing.

We hope to be a part of your healing journey, watching you grow and nourish the emotions and feelings that are currently difficult to face. Three words: You got this!

Come check out our Grief Focus Group on April 10th


Holmes TH, Rahe RH. The social readjustment rating scale. Journal of Psychosomatic Research. 1967; [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

(2019). Grief: A Brief History of Research on How Body, Mind, and Brain Adapt. Psychosomatic Medicine81(8), 731. https://doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0000000000000717