Grieving a Difficult Relationship

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Many clients who are mourning come to therapy because they wonder if their grief is too intense or lasting too long. Yet some come because they are not having an intense emotional response to their loss. Often those individuals had a complicated attachment to the one who died. A complicated … [Read more...]

The Beginnings of Grief

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Grief begins with attachment. We are designed to attach. Loving and being loved grows from that attachment. Death breaks the attachment to the one we loved in this physical world. Understanding the specific ways we were attached to our loved ones helps us understand the unique story of our … [Read more...]

A Pity Party

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Grief clients often tell me they fear they are having a “pity party” or are “feeling sorry for themselves.” Perhaps they are being self-centered or seeking attention, they wonder, or maybe they are lingering in their grief and should be feeling better by now. Many feel pressure, real or imagined, … [Read more...]

How Is She Doing?

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Words used to describe grieving people often measure them in terms of how well they are doing rather than how they are feeling. “How is our mutual friend doing after the death of her mother?” “She is doing really well. She is back to work and looks really good.” Or, “She is a mess. Really not doing … [Read more...]

Sitting With

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A grief counselor in my town tells about a conversation he had with a taxi driver. Making conversation, the cab driver asked why he was in town. The counselor said, “I am here to teach the staff at a hospital how to be helpful someone who has experienced the death of a loved one.” The cabbie looked … [Read more...]

When a Classmate Dies

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Many years ago, I was a consultant at a school where a kindergarten student had died. The parents of the other classmates wanted help as they helped their own children process the tragedy. I met with the parents to help them understand what to expect from their children, and I also consulted with … [Read more...]

Losing Them, Losing Me

Dr. Patrick O'Malley-Healing Grief

One of the questions I ask grieving folks who come to see me is, “What part of you did you lose with the person who died?” The answers to this question are important in understanding our loss. I hear responses such as, “He really got my sense of humor, ” or “She always thought I had great ideas,” … [Read more...]

Getting Grief Right by Dr. Patrick O’Malley

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This article originally appeared in The New York Times, January 10, 2015. Living with Grief - No Set Recovery Time Frame By the time Mary came to see me, six months after losing her daughter to sudden infant death syndrome, she had hired and fired two other therapists. She was trying to get her … [Read more...]