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International Grief Therapist Releases 10 Strategies for Coping with the Loss of a Loved One during the Holidays

(PRWEB) November 21, 2013

For many, it is a time of joy and cheer and family gatherings. There is nothing like the holiday season that acts as an emotional trigger for unresolved issues around a loss. Through her practice, licensed psychotherapist Edy Nathan, MA, LCSW has discovered that anger, anxiety, depression and guilt are some of the emotions that erupt during the holidays when a person is grieving. In one moment there is a sense that the grief is receding and in the next moment there is a trigger that catapults you into the throes of sadness or anxiety or anger. Nathan’s new tips and holiday grief meditation help many people cope without suffering in silence.

When death affects a family, no one reacts in exactly the same way. Grief is an individual experience. This is most apparent during the holidays where the reactions range from the choice to ignore the loss or ignore the holidays. Nathan says that neither of those options is recommended because the former is a denial and the latter is not living. As she explains, “The third choice, yes it is a choice, is to find the balance between the depths of sadness while being present during the celebration. To find that balance is a difficult and daunting task.” She recommends these strategies for coping with loss during the holidays:

1.    Getting through the holidays when grieving isn’t about forgetting: it is about remembering in a serene way. Tell a funny story about the family member. Humor is helpful in alleviating the pressure that grief presents.
2.    Don’t ignore the emotions: acknowledge them. If they are overwhelming create a symbolic box where the emotions can be stored. When ready, go to the box, and meet them, one by one.
3.    React to ambivalence by creating a plan: If not interacting with the family, what is the plan? Balance socialization with solitude.
4.    Keep the patterns the way they have been or change them. Plan this with family members.
5.    Turn Grief into Grace ™: Be charitable: Give a gift to someone in need or volunteer as a dedication to the person you lost.
6.     Create a special tribute for the day: Light a candle, make a special dish that they liked,
7.    Don’t ignore the holiday. It does not make it go away: create a new ritual- this is called “My New Beginnings”
8.    Give permission to heal: Be true to the self
9.    Ask for help: Don’t go it alone.
10.Plan Ahead: This will be a life saver!

When a parent is grieving the recent loss of a parent or close friend, the children may not understand what their parent is experiencing. Depending on the age of the children, it is important to assure them that the sadness is not about them. Explain to them that the sadness stems from thoughts about Grandma or Aunt Anna or Cousin John.
1.    Engage them as much as they are interested.
2.    Don’t push your grief onto your children.
3.    They will cope with the loss in their way, not in yours.
4.    Remember that children often feel helpless and want to make it better when they see that you are sad. Verbally communicate that you appreciate their concern.
5.    Children may work out their mourning through games, drawings or the movies they want to watch.
6.    Watch for signs of age regression while the family is mourning. If your child had not wet their beds in a while and began to do so after the loss, this may be a sign of their grief.

Nathan offers a complimentary holiday grief meditation on her website for anyone suffering through depression, loss, anxiety or guilt this time of year. Her other audio CDs and meditations – dealing with relaxation, regression, sleep and more - are also available.

About Edy Nathan:
Edy Nathan is a licensed psychotherapist with over 20 years of experience specializing in the integration of psychotherapy and the world of spirituality. For two seasons she was the therapist on the A&E TV Show, “Psychic Kids”. She holds Masters from both New York University and Fordham University. She has post-graduate training from the Ackerman Institute for Family Therapy, The Gestalt Center and the Jungian Institute. She is a certified EMDR practitioner, regression therapist, certified hypnotherapist and grief expert. To find out more, visit

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