EMDR II Trauma Therapy For Grief Over The Loss Of A Pet: Littleton, Colorado
Someone who is a pet owner and considers their pet to be a member of the family and close friend knows how heartbreaking it can be when a beloved companion dies. Grief over the loss of a loved one, whether human or animal is emotional trauma. The bond we establish with our pets can leave many of us feeling an intense sense of loss and sorrow that is very similar to losing an immediate family member. I’m a psychotherapist in Littleton, Colorado and having gone through the process of losing pet companions, I am here to share with you some ways to help you cope with the loss of a pet. I also help many clients in my practice to significantly shorten and ease their grief with EMDR II Trauma Therapy. I offer grief therapy at my Littleton, Colorado office in groups and individual sessions. I offer grief coaching worldwide via phone sessions and online video sessions.
The greater population shares an exceptional love and bond with our pets, so it’s normal to feel devastated by sentiments of anguish and sadness when a treasured pet dies. The agony of misfortune in this loss can often feel overwhelming and trigger a wide range of agonizing and challenging feelings. While a few people may not comprehend the depth of feeling you had for your pet, please never feel regretful or embarrassed about lamenting for a pet. Rather, use these solid approaches to adapt to your misfortune, comfort yourself as well as other people, and begin the process of moving on with life.
Why Does Losing A Pet Hurt To Such An Extent?
For a significant number of us, a pet is not “only a cat” or “only a dog,” but instead an adored individual from our family, bringing companionship, fun, and joy to our family. A pet can add joy to your day, keep you social and active, help you to defeat misfortunes and difficulties in life, and even give a feeling of importance or purpose. Thus, when a beloved pet dies, you’ll feel an excruciating feeling of sadness and misfortune.
While we as a whole react to misfortune in an unexpected way, the level of sorrow you experience will frequently rely upon some factors, for example, your age and personality, the age of your pet, and the conditions of their death and various other circumstances of your life. The more important your pet was to you, the more extreme the emotional torment you’ll feel. The part the animal played in your life can likewise have an effect. For instance, if your pet was a working cat, or service animal, at that point you’ll not only be lamenting the passing of a companion yet but also the departure of an associate, the loss of your freedom, or the loss of passionate help. If you lived alone and the pet was your lone buddy, grappling with their misfortune can be much harder. Additionally, if you were not able to bear the cost of medical care to prolong the life of your pet, you may experience a significant feeling of self-blame.
Whatever the conditions of your misfortune, recall that grief is personal to you, don’t buy into others’ belief that it’s not acceptable to lament for a pet. While encountering misfortune is an inescapable part of owning a pet, there are solid approaches to adapt to the agony, deal with your sorrow, and when the time is correct, perhaps even open your heart to another animal buddy.
It’s Normal to Feel Grief Over The Loss Of A Pet.
Experiencing grief over the death of a pet is normal and natural, so please don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed to grieve over your pet as you would grieve over a person. The relationship pet owners have with their pets is significant. Some pet owners have raised their dog or cat since they were a pup or kitten, and it is only natural to feel as though we are not just a pet owner, but also a parent that has nurtured and bonded to a pet. Pet’s have personality, intelligence and feelings and provide a constant source of unconditional love and acceptance, which is a profound need for living a healthy and meaningful life. There may be people that “don’t get” the animal-human bond and won’t understand the pain you feel. Nevertheless, your feelings are valid, and you are not alone.
Understand What Grief Can Mean for You.
There is no particular way to grieve over the loss of a loved one because people experience grief in their own way. People tend to experience the loss of a pet the same as they would a person, which can involve the five stages of pain and loss that include: denial, anger, depression, bargaining, and acceptance.
Loss of a pet can be a surreal experience as you find yourself going through your daily routines and finding it hard to accept that your pet is gone. From coming home to work with them greeting you at the door, to taking them for a walk, it’s hard to imagine them not being there. Depression is a natural response to grief, but can also result in being unable to cope with your feelings. Severe depression that is ongoing can feel draining and turn into you dwelling on your sorrow rather than processing and working through it gradually and moving forward in your life.
Grief can involve feeling a sense of guilt if you had to euthanize your pet, or feeling responsible for them dying, which could make it very difficult to work through your grief. Pet owners may also feel anger at themselves or others if their pet was killed untimely by being hit by a car or falling ill. Anger is also a natural emotion but needs to be tended to if it becomes so intense that it keeps you from working through your grief.
Acknowledge what you are feeling and then check in with yourself. People struggle with a loss when they don’t take the time to grieve, often believing it will just go away.
Process Your Grief.
Pet owners can fall into the trap of hiding their feelings to appear strong and calm for the benefit of others or to avoid feeling judged or ashamed for feeling vulnerable about the loss. Once you have begun to acknowledge what you are feeling, find a way to express it. Expressing what we feel in the midst of our sorrow can include crying by ourselves and with others. What can be very helpful in the grieving process is finding what helps you the most. Remembering happy memories with your pet and sharing stories with family can help you and others understand how much your pets mean to people.
Expression of emotions and memories through stories, reading poems such as the Rainbow Bridge For Pets, or writing a thank you letter to your pet can help you and children in the grief process. Changing your daily routine to fill in the time you and the family would’ve spent with your pet can assist in accepting the loss and moving on. Having a memorial at home with the household such as a photo of you and your pet, or having keepsakes such as their collar or special toys can help preserve their memory while acknowledging them being gone.
Help Your Children Learn About Grief.
Children are never too young or old to grieve over the loss of a pet. Discussing the loss of a pet with the entire family gives everyone a chance to learn about death, remember their pet fondly, and work through grief at their own pace. Being honest with them about the loss of a pet may be the first time they will learn what death is, and will give you an opportunity to talk to them about fears or misperceptions they may have about death. If you tell them that their pet was “put to sleep,” then make sure that they understand the difference between ordinary sleep and death to avoid confusion and possible fear about sleeping. You can comfort them by telling them their pet is free of pain, but avoid telling them their pet ran or went away because they may believe that they may come back. Children need time to work through grief and loss before adopting a new pet. It’s better for children and all pet owners to adopt a new pet when they are ready to move on and build a new relationship after a period of grieving the loss.
Grieving Process In The Wake Of Losing A Pet.
Grieving is a profoundly individual ordeal. Many people find distress following the departure of a pet, this comes in stages, where they encounter distinctive emotions, for example, denial, outrage, blame, depression, and in the long run acceptance of the death and determination to keep living and moving forward in life. Others find their sorrow is more cyclical, coming in waves, or a progression of highs and lows. The lows are probably going to be more profound and longer toward the start and after that slowly become shorter and less extraordinary as time passes by. In any case, even a very long time after the misfortune of losing a pet, a sight, a sound, or an uncommon commemoration can start recollections that trigger a solid feeling of grief all over again.
Grieving process happens continuously. It can’t be constrained or rushed—and there is no timetable for grieving. Some individuals begin to feel good in weeks or months. For others, the grieving process is measured in years. Whatever your anguish experience, it’s critical to be persistent with yourself and enable the procedure to unfold naturally. For those who grieve for years there is usually the added dimension of ‘complicated grief,’ which means there were other extenuating circumstances in their lives or the lives of their pets that are naturally prolonging the grieving process. As a grief counselor I can help with this prolonged grieving process to make it much shorter and less intense over time with EMDR II.
Feeling dismal, stunned, or desolate is a normal response to the passing of a darling pet. Displaying these emotions doesn’t mean you are powerless or your sentiments are by one means or another lost. It means you’re grieving the loss of a precious creature you cherished.
Trying to disregard your pain or shield it from surfacing will just aggravate it over the long time. For genuine healing, it is relevant to confront your misery and effectively manage it. By communicating your grief, you’ll likely need less time to mend than if you withhold or “suppress” your emotions. You can write about your emotions and discuss them with other people who are thoughtful of your loss.
Adapting To The Loss Of A Pet.
Grief and sorrow are typical and natural reactions to death. Like grief for our companions and friends and family, grief for our pet must be managed after some time. However there are sound approaches to adapt to the torment, which the loss of a loved one brings.
Try not to give anybody a chance to tell you how to feel, and refrain from telling yourself how to feel either. Your pain is your own, and nobody else can tell you when it’s time to “proceed onward” or “get over it.” Let yourself feel whatever you feel without shame or judgment. It’s alright to be angry, to cry or not to cry. It’s alright to giggle, to discover moments of happiness, and to give it up when you’re prepared to do so.
Connect with other people who have lost pets. In the event that your loved ones are not thoughtful about the loss of your pet, find somebody who is thoughtful about it. Often, someone else who has encountered the demise of a pet may better comprehend what you’re experiencing.
Search for professional help in the event you need a grief counselor. If your grief is persistent and meddles with your capacity to work, your specialist or a counselor can assess you for depression. If you are depressed, a wise and effective treatment approach is critical to your well-being.
A burial service can help you, and your relatives transparently express your sentiments. Overlook individuals who believe it’s wrong to hold a burial service for a pet and make the wisest decision for yourself. Do what feels right for you and your family.
Make a legacy. Setting up a dedication, planting a tree in memory of your pet, compiling a photograph collection or scrapbook, or sharing the memories you delighted in with your pet, can make a legacy to commend the life of your pet. Recollecting the fun and love you imparted to your pet can help you to move on eventually.
Care for yourself. The worry of losing a pet can rapidly exhaust your vitality and enthusiastic reserves. Taking care of your physical and emotional needs will enable you to get past this troublesome time. Eat healthily, get much needed rest, and exercise consistently to release endorphins to boost your state of mind.
If you have other pets, endeavor to keep up your typical schedule. Surviving pets can likewise encounter grief when a pet dies, or they may wind up noticeably upset by your distress. Keeping up their day to day schedules, or expanding activity and play times, won’t just profit the surviving pets, it can likewise raise your outlook as well.
If you’d like some professional help to heal your grief from the loss of your pet, please give me a call now at 970-422-6102 to find out more about how I can help you heal much faster! I offer a 15 Minute Complimentary Consultation at no charge! Grief therapy groups for pet loss and individual grief therapy sessions are an effective way to heal your grief much faster and moving forward in your life in positive ways!