Acceptance & Commitment Therapy: Supporting Individuals Experiencing Bereavement and Loss

Empirically-Based Method for supporting you through bereavement and loss.

Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) is used with clients experiencing bereavement (Romanoff, 2012) and has been empirically shown to support bereaved individuals struggling with prolonged, complicated grief.

Making Space For Your Grief

ACT uses several methods to increase psychological flexibility around loss of a loved one, specifically utilizing mindfulness to accept their experience. Sometimes, when we experience deep loss we perceive our thoughts as reality; ACT helps us process thoughts as thoughts, rather than as a characteristic of ourselves, it creates space for our feelings of grief (Romanoff, 2012). Loss is part living. In this life, learning to manage our hurts and losses in a healthy way is very important for maintaining the quality of our existence.

Strengthening Your Observing Self

In the case of a traumatic loss, one often experiences their world as shattered. It may be difficult to recognize one’s role in this experience, in essence you become the grief (or overtaken by this grief). “How do I continue living in this grief”, becomes the question. When loss takes us by surprise, which it often does, we may desire a sense of closure: Either that, or a yearning to reconnect with the one we lost. How can we obtain closure or manage our yearning to continue connection within our loss? These issues are addressed within ACT.

The Big Picture

The ACT principle, “concept of self”, helps one connect with a transcendent sense of self and see the bigger role it plays in their experience compared to the constructed identity that grief can create. ACT is used in grief counselling, to assist clients navigate losses and other life transitions we face.

By increasing overall psychological flexibility using the 6 principles that make up ACT, the experience of grief can shift and we are then better equipped at managing and observing the emotion when it arises (because it will).



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