Getting Beyond It Even When You Feel Stuck By Steve B. Reed, L.P.C., L.M.F.T.
THE NORMAL PATH OF GRIEF Grief is the natural emotional response to a significant loss. The loss of a loved one, an important relationship, a pet, a career, a belief, some aspect of one’s health, an opportunity, or even a prized possession can trigger a normal grief response. When we go through grief, we can experience a range of related emotions. People may feel shock, regret, anger, sadness, and eventually acceptance in route to resolving grief. We usually work our way through these stages in a period that is proportionate to the loss suffered. In most cases, we eventually move through the process to arrive at a place of acceptance and a readiness to look forward in life.
STUCK IN PAINFUL EMOTIONS For Pam, this healing pattern was not happening. Instead, she found herself stuck, unable to let go, always looking back at what was lost. She had a history of being stuck in grief. After her divorce, she grieved for 6 years. This time she was stuck grieving the loss of her 2-year relationship with a boyfriend. It had been going on for a year and a half with no end in sight. She felt hopelessness, depression and fear.
CAUGHT IN A TRAP Pam’s plight reminds me of a story about catching monkeys. In some parts of the world, people employ an ingenious method to catch monkeys. They use a large heavy jar, with an opening just big enough for the monkey to squeeze a hand through. In the bottom of the jar, they place a banana as bait. The monkey slips its hand into the bottle and grabs the banana. Then, holding tightly to the banana, it is unable to remove its hand from the jar. It never occurs to the monkey to let go of the banana, so it remains in the trap. Pam was clinging tightly to the memory of a lost love. Unable to let go, trapped.
WANTING OUT Pam did not want to suffer the way she was. She had been in therapy for years. By now, she was nearly an expert at insight oriented therapy, cognitive therapy and the analysis of her problems. She understood her dilemma intellectually, but was helpless to feel better. She was on antidepressant medication, talked to her friends and spent time attending a grief support group. Still her pain persisted. She had come to me with the hope that one of the new forms of treatment that I work with might help light her way out of the darkness of her grief.
TRYING SOMETHING NEW The first time I saw Pam, she was in the wake of a painful rejection. She would frequently call her old boyfriend, try to get him back but he would coldly reject her effort. She sat in my office emotionally bleeding as though the scab had been freshly knocked off her wound. The only thing I could offer to help ease her suffering was an innovative new treatment. Pam was in such pain she was open to any option. Therefore, I briefly told her about a new type of treatment that is more similar to Chinese Acupuncture than to Freud. It is the REMAP process & Quick REMAP and it involved her gently holding or rubbing a series of acupuncture points while she thought about the problem that bothered her. It’s a simple yet profound process designed to adjust the body’s natural energy system and to produce blood flow changes in the deep regions of the brain as a way of effecting memories, thoughts and emotions. This alternative approach uses an entirely different pathway to heal emotional pain than talk therapy alone. Since Pam had tried all other treatment paths, she was open to the experiment. She began working with the protocol and to her great surprise her level of disturbance dropped 60% in 30 minutes. She left smiling and saying that she could cope with that level of pain.
BEYOND GRIEF Next week, she reported another call to her ex-boyfriend and another cruel rejection. However, she also reported something new, a decision never to call him again. She also reported no further obsessive thoughts about him and a dramatic improvement in how she felt, virtually no grief.
Such changes are more common than not. By using leading-edge therapies, people are able to free themselves from painful emotions even when they are stuck. The best part is that the changes last. Three months after Pam’s treatment, she still reports feeling good.
Steve B. Reed, LPC, LMSW, LMFT is a counselor who helps people to overcome emotional pain and limitations. He is the developer of the REMAP process and an innovator in the field of psychotherapy. He trains therapist around the world in his work. His practice is in the Dallas area and he offers phone counseling worldwide. You can reach Steve at 972-997-9955.