Grief in the workplace2016-03-23T10:52:01-05:00

Definitions:

Anticipatory Grief – a preparation for a future loss. It is a normal adaptive reaction to an impending loss. It is a rehearsal of what to expect after an impending loss. It is the mourning of a loss which has not occurred.

 Grief – The process of psychological, social and somatic reactions to the perception of loss.

This implies that grief is:

a. Manifested in each of the psychological, social and somatic realm.

b. A continuing development involving many changes.

c. A natural, expectable reaction

d. The reaction to the experience of many kinds of losses, not necessarily death alone.

Mourning – The cultural response to a loss. The process by which we work through the loss, regaining a sense of balance and reintegration with life. Mourning is a necessity, not a weakness. It is a form of healing.

Bereavement – The state of having suffered a loss. Means “to be robbed”.

Disenfranchised Grief – the result of a loss which cannot be openly acknowledged, socially validated or publicly mourned.

The relationship is not socially recognized – partners in a gay relationship, extramarital affairs, ex-spouses, past lovers, death of a friend.

b. The loss is not socially recognized or is hidden from others- miscarriages, stillbirths, abortions, children placed for adoption, surrogate motherhood, death of a pet, losses from causes other than death, suicides.

c. The griever is not socially recognized – the person Is socially defined as incapable of grief. The mentally disabled, children, the very old, co-workers.

Complicated Grief – interrupted grief, an absence of grief or an inhibition of grief.

Factors which might interfere with grief resolution:

1. Avoidance of Grief

a.Mummification (the deceased’s room is left unchanged long after the death)

b.Idealization of the deceased

c.Holding onto anger or guilt rather than saying good-bye and forgiving oneself and others.

2. Chronic Grief (Prolonged)

a.Although the loss occurred years ago, the individual cannot speak of it without

intense overwhelming pain.

b.Years after the loss, unrelated events still trigger intense grief.

3. Delayed Grief

a.A current loss or other significant event elicits exaggerated response, indicating

unresolved loss from the past also exists.

4. Inhibited Grief

a. Neglect of Health

b. Drug or alcohol abuse

c. Acting out

d. Persistent psychosomatic complaints – chronic pain

e. Developing physical symptoms of the deceased.

[divider /] [two]Normal Emotional Grief Reactions

Shock

Loneliness

Numbness

Anger

Denial

Apathy

Anguish

Sadness

Sorrow

Guilt

Depression

Despair

Frustration

Helplessness

Powerlessness

Bitterness

Irritability

Impatient

[/two] [two_last]Normal Physical Grief Reactions

Exhaustion

Headaches

Nausea

Loss of interest in sex

Dry Mouth

Digestive problems

Breathlessness

Tightness in chest

Heart Palpitations

Hollowness in stomach

Oversensitive to noise

Sleep and appetite disturbances

[/two_last] [divider /] [toggle title=”A Guide for Leaders: Dealing with a seriously ill soldier”]

Respect sick soldier’s privacy

Support sick soldier but not at expense of unit morale or productivity

Encourage private unit discussion

Keep workplace functioning

Keep sick soldier included

Call or visit periodically yourself

Encourage unit to stay in touch

Designate one person as unit liaison[/toggle] [two]If a Solider Dies

Give unit the opportunity to grieve

Educate yourself on grief process and reactions

Anticipate loss of productivity, motivation and increased mistakes

Pay attention to reactions to replacement

Organize a memorial for deceased

[/two] [two_last]When a Soldier Suffers a Loss

Set an example – provide personal support

Recognize grief reactions and length of grieving process

If possible, alter work demands

Talk to soldier to assess needs

Refer to chaplain, MH assets or other agency for grief support

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