Theoretical models for grief
Some early ideas on grief advocate a cognitive adaptation theory (CAT) (1983) that postulates that after a trauma comes personal growth permeated through maintenance of self-protection processes and the boost of self-esteem (Taylor, 1983). Whereby the latter theorist define grief as “positive psychological change experienced because of the struggle with highly challenging life circumstances” (Davis, G, Davis and Nolen-Hoeksema, 2011, p, 1). Whereby other theorist have encompassed these notions into a posttraumatic growth (PTG) model that postulates a four stage process one being a disruption to one’s day-today living, two being a reconstruction of one’s inner self, three being a change that occurs within one’s self for the better and four is the progressive positive change that occurs due to the tribulation experienced (Tedeschi, R.G., & Calhoun., L.2004).
Evidence-based research for grief
A longitudinal study found that the process of understanding a loss entailed two-part meaning making process whereby one entailed an understating of the loss and the other entailed retrieving something beneficial from the experience (Davis, Nolen-Hoeksema, & Larson, 1998: Nolen-Hoeksema & Davis, 2001). Initial stages of grief were interrelated with the first process of understanding the grief in terms of the entire process of coping with it within the first 6-month period and the spiritual beliefs of the person who passed away. The other aspect of benefit finding was dependent upon on self-regulation of emotions thus boosting their inner strengths in conveying a feeling of appreciation of family relations (Davis, G, Davis and Nolen-Hoeksema, 2011).
How do you cope with grief?
The believe that adversity or the loss of a loved does it bring strengths with in us and what does positive psychology say about the whole experience of bereavement. Positive psychologist advocate grief to growth in that the individual needs to build protective factors and build up their resilience after the traumatic experience.
Medical experts suggest a seven step process express yourself, convey your feelings, adhere to a routine, sleep, eat well, do not avoid the pain and if your require counselling then do so. In addition to this you can access telephone support from Cruse Bereavement Care, 0808 808 1677 or the Samaritans on the following Freephone number 116 123 (NHS, 2016). Furthermore a five step process entails talking about the death of the loved one, acceptance of ones feelings, taking care of oneself/ family, help others dealing with the loss and finally celebrate the person’s life (Nordal, K, C, 2011).
How Positive psychology practitioners can help people experiencing grief
Healthcare professionals like therapist, bereavement counsellors, nurses and doctors can address any emotional issues you are experiencing. In current light of what positive psychology had brought to light I feel the following features would be beneficial to people coping with grief: keeping a grief journal for the first 6 months of their loss, creating a positive portfolio for their beloved family member and engaging in positive communication with a good social circle of friends. By implementing the positivity toolset in a thoughtful manner they can turn grief to growth.
This piece of writing is dedicated to my beloved father Syed Manzoor Hussain Shah, his beloved sister Amina Bibi Shah may she rest in peace and my uncle Syed Riaz Hussain Shah.
About the author: Fizza Shah, BSc Psychology, PgCert in Applied Positive Psychology a MAPP student at Buckinghamshire New University. Her website is https://positivewellbeingassociation.wordpress.com/2017/08/11/what-are-happiness-strategies/ and Facebook group called Positive Wellbeing Association.
- Lopez, S.J & Snyder, C, R, (2011) The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology, Second edition, New York, United States of America, OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS.