What the Grief Just Happened?

What the Grief Just Happened?

An interview with Sonya Lott, Ph.D, on how COVID has impacted our experience of grief. Curt and Katie talk with Sonya about the types of grief people are experiencing and how people have been coping thus far. We explore what prolonged grief is and the risk factors that contribute to it as well as tips to support clients. We also talk about the need for therapists to be informed on grief processes and the importance of meeting clients where they are.

It’s time to reimagine therapy and what it means to be a therapist. To support you as a whole person and a therapist, your hosts, Curt Widhalm and Katie Vernoy talk about how to approach the role of therapist in the modern age.

Interview with Sonya Lott, Ph.D, Founder of CEMPSYCH, LLC

Sonya Lott has a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Temple University. She been licensed as a psychologist in PA since 1991. Since 2020, she has been licensed to provide telepsychology in more than 16 states through the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Board’s (ASPPB) PSYPACT program.

She maintains a private online practice devoted to helping individuals transform their experiences of traumatic and prolonged grief. She is trained in Complicated Grief Therapy (CGT), an evidence-based treatment for prolonged grief and is also a certified brainspotting practitioner.

She is also the founder of CEMPSYCH, LLC, which offers continuing education in multicultural psychology to mental health professionals. CEMPSYCH, LLC is approved as a sponsor by the APA to provide continuing education to psychologists.

In this episode we talk about:

  • Who Sonya Lott is and what she puts out in the world.
  • Looking at how COVID has impacted our experience of grief (i.e., death and non-death losses).
  • How the uncertainty COVID created has added to our difficulty in acknowledging losses in our lives.
  • Discussion of how clinicians can help their clients (and themselves) recognize and process their grief.
  • Examining how losses to previous COVID, attachment styles, and other risk factors have influenced the way people manage their grief.
  • Defining prolonged grief and recognizing when it is a problem, while making cultural considerations.
  • Factors that have contributed to people developing prolonged grief (e.g., isolation, previous mental health challenges, etc).
  • What clinicians can expect to see from clients as we move into the next phase of our lives.
  • The need for clinicians to be able to differentiate from grief, prolonged grief, and major depression and address each accordingly.
  • Recognizing that the grief people are experiencing is inherently traumatic and integrating this into treatment.
  • Tips for clinicians to help clients who are stuck.
  • Being a grief informed therapist (knowing there are no stages to grief).
  • The importance of meeting people where they at to help them process their grief.

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Resources mentioned:

We’ve pulled together resources mentioned in this episode and put together some handy-dandy links. Please note that some of the links below may be affiliate links, so if you purchase after clicking below, we may get a little bit of cash in our pockets. We thank you in advance!

Dr. Sonya Lott Website

CEMPSYCH LLC

Relevant Episodes:

Death, Dying, and Grief

Compassion Fatigue

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Who we are:

Curt Widhalm is in private practice in the Los Angeles area. He is the cofounder of the Therapy Reimagined conference, an Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine University and CSUN, a former Subject Matter Expert for the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, former CFO of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, and a loving husband and father. He is 1/2 great person, 1/2 provocateur, and 1/2 geek, in that order. He dabbles in the dark art of making “dad jokes” and usually has a half-empty cup of coffee somewhere nearby. Learn more at: http://www.curtwidhalm.com

Katie Vernoy is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, coach, and consultant supporting leaders, visionaries, executives, and helping professionals to create sustainable careers. Katie, with Curt, has developed workshops and a conference, Therapy Reimagined, to support therapists navigating through the modern challenges of this profession. Katie is also a former President of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. In her spare time, Katie is secretly siphoning off Curt’s youthful energy, so that she can take over the world. Learn more at: http://www.katievernoy.com

A Quick Note:

Our opinions are our own. We are only speaking for ourselves – except when we speak for each other, or over each other. We’re working on it.

Our guests are also only speaking for themselves and have their own opinions. We aren’t trying to take their voice, and no one speaks for us either. Mostly because they don’t want to, but hey.

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Credits:

Voice Over by DW McCann https://www.facebook.com/McCannDW/

Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano http://www.crystalmangano.com/

Transcript (Autogenerated)

Curt Widhalm  00:00

This episode of the Modern Therapist Survival Guide is sponsored by Buying Time,

Katie Vernoy  00:04

Buying Time as a full team of virtual assistants with a wide variety of skill sets to support your business. from basic admin support customer service and email management to marketing and bookkeeping, they’ve got you covered. Don’t know where to start, check out the system’s inventory checklist, which helps business owners figure out what they don’t want to do anymore and get those delegated ASAP. You can find that checklist at buyingtimellc.com/system-checklist

Curt Widhalm  00:31

Listen at the end of the episode for more information.

Announcer  00:34

You’re listening to the Modern Therapist Survival Guide where therapists live, breathe and practice as human beings to support you as a whole person and a therapist. Here are your hosts, Curt Widhalm and Katie Vernoy.

Curt Widhalm  00:50

Welcome back modern therapists. This is the Modern Therapist Survival Guide. I’m Curt Widhalm with Katie Vernoy. And this is the podcast about all things therapists things that we do things that we run into with clients. And one of the things that is largely emerging now that the pandemic, at least at the time of the recordings seems to continue to be opening the world back up fingers crossed that the Delta variant doesn’t shut us back down. But one of the things that many people have put off over the last 1820 months or so is a lot of issues facing grief. And this is an issue that one of our therapy, reimagined 2021 speakers, Dr. Sonia Lott is here to talk with us about today, and also at therapy reimagined about helping our clients through this particular process. So thank you for coming back and spending more time with us here on the podcast? Absolutely. I’m really grateful to be here.

Katie Vernoy  01:56

We are so glad to have you back. And I know you’ve answered this question before, but for new listeners or for updates for people who don’t know what you’re doing now, who are you and what are you putting out into the world,

Sonya Lott  02:08

I think that I am a unique emanation of a divine source, same divine source that we all are from, and I’m masquerading in a mature full figure Brown, beautiful body.

Katie Vernoy  02:25

I love that that is awesome.

Sonya Lott  02:29

I believe what I’m putting out in the world is a pathway to transformation after loss.

Curt Widhalm  02:36

So let’s jump right into this. How has the pandemic impacted the experience of people’s grief and loss and I imagine that this deals both with loved ones and the traditional grieving process, but a lot of other areas as well.

Sonya Lott  02:55

While the pandemic has impacted our experience of grief, in that is offered us a significant, a significant amount of death and non death related losses. So that it means that just one this pandemic, this novel virus for the first time in our lifetimes that led to this pandemic, we have the loss of the assumptive world, that if I do a then B happened, it’s all an illusion anyway, but in some ways, it does help us get through life. And there is some truth, we have some structure, we know you know, when we have to be at work, when we’re at home, that our family members, okay, that, you know, all of those things were in place, and what the pandemic did, particularly with when we needed to physically distance and restrict our activities to try to slow down and spread out the virus. There are a multitude of other losses that came that no matter what I do, I might still get this virus, particularly before there was a vaccine, the loss of economic security, you know, with jobs, the loss of physical well being for many people, the loss of connection, you know, we’ve learned to connect in ways that we didn’t before, like having zoom parties, and all of that trainings and so on. But the lack of physical touch, and being present with one another has been a significant thing for all of us. So they’re just a multitude of losses. And that’s before even mentioning the number of people who have died as a result of the pandemic and members who have lost two three family member families who’ve lost two three family members, and really rapid succession. You know, there’s just an overload of loss and trauma that we’re all dealing with.

Katie Vernoy  04:47

The piece that I heard that just really resonated with me was this idea of kind of the loss of the presumptive or assumptive word I’ll remember which word you use, but the the uncertainty that became came so pervasive during the, during the pandemic was really what I felt the most I felt like there was. So much of the conversations that I had with clients, the conversations I had with friends and family was about not feeling able to plan anything not feeling secure, that physically like I’m going to survive, my family members are going to be safe. To me that uncertainty, it feels like that would be very, like the cloud over the top that all of us were facing, in addition to these practical losses of graduations, or conferences, or, or weddings, or trips, or individuals that you know, and death that we experienced. Tell me talk a little bit more maybe about this uncertainty in the feeling of loss there.

Sonya Lott  05:57

Yeah, even for those of us who have been fortunate enough to have not experienced the death of a close loved one, we’ve kept our jobs, we’ve just had to adapt, you know, all of those things that we haven’t really suffered significant financial shifts, there is like that cloud of the uncertainty, you know, in the Doom, and the weight of that has been significant. And another thing with that is that those of us who have been fortunate or lucky, really in that way, because it really is luck of the draw, some of us have had difficulty acknowledging our losses, the loss of the assumptive world or the sense of control, because we don’t feel like we have anything to grieve, people are dying over here. And we’re sitting here whining about I don’t know, you know, what’s going to happen next week. So we’ve been in sitting in our privilege, we’ve not been able to give ourselves permission to lean into whatever our loss or losses have been

Curt Widhalm  06:57

In helping people work through that. That, I don’t know, there just seems to be so many mixed messages of society. On one hand, there’s a lot of Well, you didn’t lose anyone. And you’re coming in here and saying, No, let’s lean into that. Let’s talk about what you you’ve lost. How do you help people and by extension, help our audience help people deal with even just that conflictual sort of messaging that many of our clients are facing?

Sonya Lott  07:28

First, we have to name it, you know, and work on helping people to have permission to then lead into the grave. But you know, anytime you lose anything of value to us, whatever it might be, you know, there’s a grief process that we really need to honor before we can move on. You know, so I’ve I have found that naming those losses, and helping people to understand that they, they deserve to be able to have some grief around it certainly not, as you know, to the same degree as if someone, if you’re dealing with the death related grief process, you wouldn’t expect that it would be that disruptive in one’s day to day functioning, but really just given permission and naming it, you know, some people didn’t don’t even realize that it’s loss, what they are experiencing, to know that there’s a grief process, if you will. Does that make sense?

Curt Widhalm  08:21

It does, it’s almost kind of the dealing with kind of lost that I’m almost looking at this from kind of an attachment perspective of the last towards independence that either people feel supported towards earlier in their lives, or that they get thrust upon them, that makes people kind of come back and deal with those same kinds of developments that they were either prepared for early in their life or not. And actually having to be having to get to a place of being able to recognize it’s as you’re saying, name it and then be able to deal with the feelings in response to that.

Sonya Lott  09:03

Yeah, it’s, it’s not always easy to do that. But I think it really is important too. And, you know, part of the problem has been also is that to some degree, we’re all in in dealing with loss. And so the support that we would normally have, we haven’t necessarily had, or certainly not in the same way.

Katie Vernoy  09:26

When I think about all of the people in my life, many of them are therapists. And then there’s also family and friend, that friends who are not and so many of the people in my life, were taking care of so many people, and they’re there the weight became heavier and heavier. And there was even therapists I think, you know, I, I’ve said this publicly, I took on extra clients. And so there was, you know, my capacity to take care of myself to take care of my clients that was I maxed out and so I think there have been a lot of times and I think people are shifting now. But there have been a lot of times that there just wasn’t that support and the support that was there was also overtaxed. Right.

Sonya Lott  10:12

And also saying that you maxed out I zoned out just a minute ago and responding also to what Kurt asked around the primary site.

Curt Widhalm  10:20

I have that effect on people. You’re my favorite. But I love you.

Sonya Lott  10:32

They set me up for that. But you know, yeah, previous loss also makes us more vulnerable to loss, particularly death related loss. But yeah, it’s an accumulation of all these losses that are happening at this time. And if we’ve had a history of that previously, it serves as a trigger, and it can be even more intense, and trying to take it all in name it, you know, and have permission to try to honor you know, the the loss, the grief around that.

Curt Widhalm  11:02

So if this previous loss is one of the factors that leads people to this greater risk, what are some of these other risks that make people more vulnerable to going through this right now?

Sonya Lott  11:15

I think it makes more sense to talk about the as it relates to prolonged grief. okay to talk about the risk factors, because, well, I’ll talk about in terms of risk factors that make us more likely to get stuck somewhere in our grief process, as it relates to dealing with the grief associated with the

Curt Widhalm  11:34

death of a loved one, let’s talk prolonged grief, then, what is prolonged grief? Let’s Let’s start at the basics and build from there. So that way, you can circle back to how this fits with kind of these additive factors that people face.

Sonya Lott  11:50

So prolonged grief is a type of grief experience that last for longer than 12 months, okay? It’s been at least 12 months. And it’s important when we talk about to recognize a grief in response to the death of a loved one. It’s more than just the outward expression, maybe, you know, tears, but it’s also grief is really all consuming its physical, spiritual, emotional and cognitive. There’s certain ways of thinking, you know, survivor’s guilt feeling like if I had done this, and maybe that wouldn’t have happened, we might feel more fatigued have headaches, weight gain weight loss, question a god if we believe there is one. So grief is like all encompassing. It’s more than just whether or not we’re crying or really missing the person, but prolonged and we never stop missing the person, I want to be clear about that. We just learned how to allow the grief that grief to come up, or that expression of it and to move through it. But when a person is significantly impaired in their ability to based on they’re missing, they’re yearning for the person based on maybe, except excessive avoidance of going places where the pert they used to go at the person or going to the person’s belongings, if there is a lot of guilt or counterfactual thinking that we talk about it as where a person is like, I should have been able to make them to go to the doctor. Or if there’s guilt. In this case, if you were asymptomatic, you had COVID, you’re asymptomatic, and a family member got it. And as a result, they died. So it’s at least 12 months after that, where these ways of thinking and feeling are still very significant are prominent to the extent that they’re interfering with your ability to function. You know, in personal relationships, you might be more isolated may have difficulty working, if you’re able really to work at all. So it’s some we’re getting derailed in the process of and I say this very tentatively normal grief, if you will, the process of normal grief.

Katie Vernoy  13:57

I was thinking about the cultural differences between grief and the grieving process. How can a therapist identify if this is a normal in air quotes normal grief process and kind of how that looks for different people based on the different identities and the different cultural background that they have? versus this more prolonged grief that seems to be creating impairment? How do we know when it’s a problem, I guess is what I’m saying?

Sonya Lott  14:26

Well, it’s the standard way it how much it interferes with their ability to function day to day interpersonal relationships and work. In some cultures like Jewish cultures this way, there are a lot of beautiful rituals in the first year that to to allow people to mourn together to say prayers for their loved ones that help people to move through their grief in a way so that it’s less painful. And so in those ways, those rituals were the Oh awareness and the acknowledgement of grief goes on for some time, actually help people to adapt to reintegrate into living more fully without their loved one. So those types of rituals or cultural norms around grief are not interfering with their ability to function, it’s helping them to function well. So that’s the Yeah, that’s the first marker in terms of whether or not you know, it’s it’s prolonged grief. But you know, there’s a caveat there if people are and it’s not so much cultural, but individual, if they are like engaging, this is one thing they happen, sometimes they’re going to see medium after meeting after meeting after meeting him spending significant amounts of money to continue to get messages from the loved one, that they may find that comforting, but that’s problematic, because that interferes with their ability to accept that the person, their relationship with the person has shifted, because they’re no longer in a body temple, if that makes sense. Or we sometimes see where parents are more likely to do this, where if they have a young child who’s died, they leave their room exactly as it was, when the child was last there, the same shoes that were on the side of the bed, the same jacket that was on the door, might be there five years later. And they’re comforted by that. But that’s problematic

Curt Widhalm  16:22

with some of these rituals, and especially during the pandemic, without some of those rituals that many people are accustomed to in the normal grieving process, for example, being able to attend funeral services, that are we seeing an increase in these kinds of reactions from people in this grieving process, because they’re not able to go through those assumptive grief sort of rituals that fit whatever culture people may be coming from.

Sonya Lott  16:52

Absolutely. That’s really, really true. One of the ways that we’re able to move through grief is to have people around us, people who can surround us and grieve with us, we don’t grieve, and we don’t grieve well in isolation. And so that’s had a huge impact on our ability to grieve. I recently participated in an article in The Washington Post last December, about how people, I’m David Montgomery was a reporter, but it’s about how people were finding their own ways to grieve, despite the limitations around, you know, gathering together in the ways that we traditionally do, we really need each other when we’re in Great. So that’s one of the things that has increased the likelihood of getting into prolonged grief disorder is not having the ability to commune with other people from the beginning of the loss, because of the need to physically distance and also because so many other people over have been overwhelmed with their own losses, like Katie, as you were saying, just maxing out and not really being available. So that’s really, we can talk about that as a risk factor that increases the likelihood of prolonged grief. Another thing is, you know, people are more likely to acquire prolonged grades, if they’ve had a history of loss if they had, you know, some of these other non death losses, so that they’re really feeling overwhelmed that they can’t really, they don’t have the space to really deal with the overwhelming nature of the death of a loved one.

Katie Vernoy  18:22

So we’re looking at isolation, a loss of many things. Yeah, whether it’s the this the small day to day things a certainty. And all of these things are making it more likely that folks are experiencing these prolonged grief reactions. Are there other risk factors that we should be aware of that folks maybe are starting to move out of now that we can kind of spotlight

Sonya Lott  18:50

if people have a history of have had a history of depression, they would be more vulnerable to prolonged grief. And because of the pandemic and all the losses, people are more likely to be in depression as a result of that even before or at the same time that someone dies. So that’s another factor. People who have a loved one who die unexpectedly and most people with COVID die unexpectedly In fact, they acquire it first. And you know, die unexpectedly, is another risk factor. One other really huge risk factor for prolonged grief as a result of the pandemic is not being able to be with our loved ones are not having been able to be with their loved ones, when they die having to say our last goodbyes over FaceTime or you know, zoom. And like we’re not always able to be with our loved ones when they die. But when we’re denied that opportunity, when perhaps we could app, it becomes more complicated, if you will, because it’s more likely the person is more likely to think, you know, if I could have been with him, the maybe I might have noticed something and been able to let the nurses No, or I wonder if they were afraid, you know, if they died alone and, you know, not having had the chance to say what we wanted to say, is a significant risk factor for prolonged grief. And that’s pretty much been the standard protocol for safety reasons. But still, it’s a major part of being able to adapt to that loss is to know that we did whatever we quote could do. And being denied that opportunity, it’s really significant.

Curt Widhalm  20:31

How are we likely to see this continue to evolve and our clients have pandemic related grief as people are being able to kind of return back to families is, you know, health restrictions, skip minimized. This isn’t the end of the grieving process, I’m assuming it’s just like snap snapping back. So what can we expect from clients as we continue to move into the next phase of our lives?

Sonya Lott  21:00

Well, in terms of prolonged grief, again, because it’s at least 12, we I’m sorry, 12 months, since the death of the loved one, we’re just beginning to see that, that’s just beginning to show up now. And so we’re gonna see more of that. But um, the other thing as it relates to coming back to, quote, normal, which we’re never going to, it’s never going to be the same. A lot of people are experiencing a lot of grief coming back into, you know, the, quote, real world. There’s an awareness now of what really what they lost as they’re coming back to what’s left of it, if that makes sense that a lot of people who are being vaccinated are now experiencing grief around it, the vaccine had been available, even months before my loved one may have still may have lived may have never gotten COVID. You know, so there’s loss that’s associated with coming back to the, quote, real world. And for some people seeing that it’s never the same, you know. So there’s the grief around the reemergence, you know, and some people are feeling like, you know, I didn’t mind being so isolated, I didn’t mind not having to have an excuse for why I don’t want to go to this particular conference, or this family gathering or this work related retreat, whatever it might be, we’re still going to see loss, that it’s sort of like the thoughts are coming back to the living really more fully seeing what was lost, even though if we still have some of it, people are needing help to rise from the ashes, so to speak, and to shift from what they’ve lost to what’s now still available to them. As it relates to grief, it’s going to be really important for clinicians to be it’s always important, but especially now, to be able to sort out what prolonged grief disorder is, which is a type of depressive disorder, from major depression. And because it because of the conditions of the pandemic, they’re coexisting more frequently now, or at least we’re expecting it to. And so both need to be addressed or treated, if you will, but they’re very different ways that they need to be managed. So it’s really important for therapists that we do our work and learn more about what grief really is, as well as what it isn’t, and really be able to work with our clients now who are not in prolonged grief, but grief for whatever their situations are, you know, the death of a loved one or non death loss is to help to try to prevent the prolonged grief to help them to deal with the things that we call derailleurs, for example, that once you experience, particularly the death of a loved one, knowing that people the ways that people can get derailed from the movement movement through the adaptation process to loss, they can get derailed by the brief, you know, I could I wish I could have done more. Especially, you know, with the pandemic, if not being able to visit with people if they had COVID and pass it on. There is often a sense of, you know, the isolation people couldn’t be together to grieve, that’s something that could derail the movement through the grief process. So we need to be aware of all those things so that when we’re working with people in the beginning, there might be question of faith, all those things in the beginning of the grief process, or when they first come to us to decrease the likelihood that they move into what we call prolonged grief disorder.

Katie Vernoy  24:37

I’m, I’m also hearing and this is the lens that I put on a lot of things but I’m also hearing things that are potentially very traumatic, especially with what society faced with a global pandemic, but also what individuals might have faced with their own loss of a loved one or if they had other losses that felt very sudden or were very traumatic to them. Do you have ideas around sorting that through? Because I think there’s depression, there’s prolonged grief, and there’s trauma. And I think that all of those things may need to be addressed in different ways. And how important is at for us to tease those things out? What are your thoughts on on that additional element?

Sonya Lott  25:25

Well, you know, I think that the trauma is sort of inherent in all of the types of losses that people have experienced during the pandemic, because they’ve been sudden, unexpected, you know, it’s very significant. And so it’s sort of given that it’s traumatic, I think it’s a safe assumption to say there’s some trauma in that loss during the pandemic, even if it’s the people again, who didn’t lose, you know, economic security or experience the death of a loved one. So I think that, you know, we need to deal with that also. And it’s important to separate out all of the layers, but it’s more, it’s it’s more difficult to separate out the different types of depressive poke disorders, where the trauma, it’s, it’s more clear that it’s separate from, but integrated into a part of the full clinical picture. So there’s your assumption that you’re going to you’re dealing with trauma, you know, from the start. And then from there to matter if it’s, quote, normal grief, whatever it is, if it’s acute grief, I would say that rather than normal, if there’s also depression, and if there is prolonged grief, or likelihood of a greater risk for prolonged grief. Does that answer?

Katie Vernoy  26:47

I think so. Yeah, I think there’s just been so much that people have been facing, I’m even thinking about losses that were not pandemic related, but impacted by the pandemic. I mean, I think there’s just so much, we’re really being able to understand your clients experience, what resources they actually had, you know, for some folks, it was kind of just this last year. So even coming out into the world, it seems like there are new things that they would be facing, and, and truly understanding in a different way, because there was the Run, run, run, take care of yourself, take care of your kids do everything that you need to do. And then when things kind of go back to normal, again, air quotes, I think that there’s a lot that we’re experiencing and understanding differently. And there’s time to start experiencing grief and understanding trauma and potentially slowing down enough to actually discern depression.

Sonya Lott  27:40

Yeah, yeah. And, you know, when we’re in the traumatic experience, which was this has been this past year, there’s often you there’s not like you said, the space to even take it in, you’re just trying to survive emotionally, you know, and sometimes in other ways. And so it’s again, this thought, now people are really having the space to sit with as we’re trying to reintegrate into more full living. Yeah. And so I also want to say that, as we’re talking about, quote, our clients, we’re talking about ourselves through, we really need to have the support to be able to manage all the losses we’ve experienced, to be able to show up for our clients in the way that they need us to be fully present. So it’s a lot

Curt Widhalm  28:24

for those clients that are stuck. Yeah, any tips on getting them into talking about this and naming this that can help our listeners create some healing?

Sonya Lott  28:38

I think what’s really important is reaching out, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a therapist. It can be a support group, what a but what I think is most important is that people need to know they need to find people who really understand what grief is. And I always come back to this point in podcast interviews around grief or print interviews around the still the myth that there are five stages to grief. Okay. And it is a myth, the revere to live, Elisabeth Kubler Ross proposed it, researchers long shown that not only is it not true stages don’t exist. It’s really very harmful to believe that. But there are a number of people who are very actively promoting that, and many therapists who believe that’s true. So I think it’s really important for people to know that that isn’t true, and to find places and spaces in which they can understand what grief really is that it’s probably what they’re experiencing. It’s not in stages, doesn’t matter. It’s not that it’s not linear, there are no stages, their phases of grief and grief is like really messy, and it’s really very comprehensive physically, again, spiritually, emotionally and cognitively. So we need to understand what grief so we can first understand what we’re experiencing to see what we need the support that we need. And sometimes it’s just been in relationship with other people, a support group, for example, a colleague group or seeing a therapist, but again, a therapist to really understands what grief is as well as what it is not.

Katie Vernoy  30:21

Does that make sense? It does. It doesn’t we have a couple of different interviews with some other grief specialists that will link to in the show notes that talk in more depth around how the stages don’t exist. That’s so awesome. That’s so awesome. Because I think it’s it’s so important. And I I feel like just to kind of kind of our last question before we have to wrap up. And we could talk all day with you, Sonia. But I think I’m a therapist, I’m not a therapist, but I’m an informed therapist, I know that there’s no stages, and I have a client that I feel like is getting stuck and not fully expressing their grief, what is something that I can do in my next session with them to help them open up a little bit and have some of that experience so they can start moving through,

Sonya Lott  31:09

I would say be right where they are. One of the myths that was most challenging for me to let go of is that it’s really important, you really have to grieve, you really have to do this. And sometimes delay grief is not denied grief, it’s delayed because it needs to be or, you know, there’s no space or may and may not yet be the safety around not necessarily their relationship with you, but within themselves and the life experiences that they’ve had about the vulnerability that comes with really leaning into your grief. I mean, we’re like broken, we’re busted wide open, you know. And so if that person isn’t expressing the ways that you’re expecting or that we typically think about at least the emotional component of grief, be right where they are, because you know that there’s so much power and healing in the relationship itself. So be right there with them. And allow them that space.

Curt Widhalm  32:12

Where can people find out more about you and all the wonderful things that you offer?

Sonya Lott  32:19

They can find out about me at Dr. Sonia lat Dr. S o n y ey l Ott comm that’s the easiest place to find me as it relates to my work with grief therapy.

Curt Widhalm  32:35

And we will put that in very large font with a link in our show notes. Yes. podcast.com. You can also find Dr. Sonya adds the therapy reimagined 2021 conference. Yeah, so that’ll be September 23 24th 25th, both in Los Angeles and online, wherever you may be, and check out the conference at therapy reimagined conference calm.

Sonya Lott  33:07

I want to just add one more thing that I forgot to add that in this process, I just want to say to everybody that it’s so important to practice self compassion, to allow yourself to be where you are to know that you’re worthy of whatever grief you’re experiencing, even if you weren’t impacted in the ways that everybody else has been. And just, if we’re trying to help other people, therapists are not, let’s just try to be right where people are. That’s what they need the most. Thank you. Yeah.

Curt Widhalm  33:40

Until next time, I’m currently at home with Katie Vernoy and Dr. zonula.

Katie Vernoy  33:44

Thanks again to our sponsor, Buying Time

Curt Widhalm  33:46

Buying Time’s VA support businesses by managing email communications, CRM or automation systems, website admin and hosting email marketing, social media, bookkeeping, and much more. Their sole purpose is to create the opportunity for you to focus on supporting those you serve, while ensuring that your back office runs smoothly with the full team of VAs gives the opportunity to hire for one role and get multiple areas of support. There’s no reason to be overwhelmed with running your business with this solution available.

Katie Vernoy  34:15

Book a consultation to see where and how you can get started getting the support you need. That’s buyingtimellc.com/book-consultation once again buyingtimellc.com/book-consultation.

Announcer  34:31

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