Many grieving people come to see me already self-diagnosed. They believe they are behind in their grieving. They either have read about the model of Stages of Grief or have heard enough to know they are behind or “stuck.” I call these folks “High Achiever Grievers.”
They are typically very focused individuals who accomplish much and who hold themselves to high standards. They are usually admired for what they can get done.
Grieving, however, often calls for a state of mind that is contrary to the linear style that High Achiever Grievers use as their normal approach. The state of the grieving mind is often more chaotic and disorienting.
I will usually ask the question: “Are you self-critical of your grieving process?” The answer is invariably “Yes.”
“Then that is where we start our work together.” I tell them. “Notice that inner voice of self-criticism and remind yourself you grieve because you loved. You are not failing to get grief right.”