Bereavement and Loss – Part 4 of 7

In this section I will explore each stage of Dr Kübler-Ross’s ‘Grief Cycle’ in a little more depth.

Denial – Denial is a conscious or unconscious refusal to accept facts, information, reality, etc., relating to the situation concerned. It’s a defence mechanism and perfectly natural. Some people can become locked in this stage when dealing with a traumatic change that can be ignored. Death of course is not particularly easy to avoid or evade indefinitely.

Anger – Anger can manifest in different ways. People dealing with emotional upset can be angry with themselves, and/or with others, especially those close to them. Knowing this helps keep detached and non-judgemental when experiencing the anger of someone who is very upset.

Bargaining – Traditionally the bargaining stage for people facing death can involve attempting to bargain with whatever God the person believes in. People facing less serious trauma can bargain or seek to negotiate a compromise. For example “Can we still be friends?..” when facing a break-up. Bargaining rarely provides a sustainable solution, especially if it’s a matter of life or death.

Depression – Also referred to as preparatory grieving. In a way it’s the dress rehearsal or the practice run for the ‘aftermath’ although this stage means different things depending on whom it involves. It’s a sort of acceptance with emotional attachment. It’s natural to feel sadness and regret, fear, uncertainty, etc. It shows that the person has at least begun to accept the reality.

Acceptance – Again this stage definitely varies according to the person’s situation, although broadly it is an indication that there is some emotional detachment and objectivity. People dying can enter this stage a long time before the people they leave behind, who must necessarily pass through their own individual stages of dealing with the grief.

In Part 5 I will explore some of the ways that people can be supported through their grief.

If you are currently experiencing any of these issues and would like to talk, please feel free to get in touch.  There will be no obligation to make a booking, it’s just an opportunity for you to ask any questions you might have and to see if what I offer might be a good fit for you.  My contact details are:

robyn@equenergy.com

07980 669303

If you would like to take a look at my website, you can find it at:

www.equenergy.com/

 

You can read the whole of this article here

 

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Bereavement and Loss – Part 3 of 7

In this section I will look at how the work of Dr Elisabeth Kübler-Ross changed how we look at the grieving process.

Dr Kübler-Ross, who pioneered methods in the support and counselling of personal trauma, grief and grieving, proposed a model of the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance).  This is actually a model for change generally and as such can help people to understand and deal with personal reaction to trauma.  It is not limited to death and dying.

Her book, On Death and Dying (1969) was quite revolutionary at the time and was a catalyst towards changing previously held beliefs that bereavement should not be discussed and that death is a taboo subject.  This was very gratefully received by carers and by people who were dying or who had been bereaved, perhaps indicating the level of denial and suppression that had existed previously.  Dr Kübler-Ross gave people ‘permission’ to feel their feelings and to talk about them openly, perhaps for the first time.

The ‘Grief Cycle’ was never intended to be a rigid series of sequential or uniformly timed steps. It’s a model or a framework rather than a process.  A model is less specific – more of a shape or guide. People do not always experience all of the five ‘grief cycle’ stages.  Some stages might be revisited. Some stages might not be experienced at all.  Transition between stages can be more of an ebb and flow, rather than a progression.  The five stages are not linear; neither are they equal in their experience.  People’s grief, and other reactions to emotional trauma, are as individual as a fingerprint.

This model is useful because it recognises that people have to pass through their own individual journey of coming to terms with death and bereavement (and other kinds of loss), after which they usually reach an acceptance of reality, which then enables them to cope.  When we know more about what is happening and why we are experiencing these sometimes strange and frightening sensations, it often makes life easier.

Next week we will look at each stage of this cycle in a little more depth.

If you are currently experiencing any of these issues and would like to talk, please feel free to get in touch.  There will be no obligation to make a booking, it’s just an opportunity for you to ask any questions you might have and to see if what I offer might be a good fit for you.  My contact details are:

robyn@equenergy.com

07980 669303

If you would like to take a look at my website, you can find it at:

www.equenergy.com/

 

You can read the whole of this article here

Bereavement and Loss – Part 2 of 7

 

 In this section I will explore the feelings that we can experience following the loss of a person or thing that is close to us.  It often results in a sense of grief or bereavement.  This is a very natural response when something to which we are attached, disappears from our lives.  We often associate this feeling with the death of a loved one but it can also be experienced at other times, for example divorce, the loss of a job, or having to move away from a place that is familiar to you.   Some types of loss can be particularly difficult to cope with as they are often seen as less important in our society, for example miscarriage, stillbirth or the death of a beloved animal.  People might not understand the depth of feeling that the sufferer is experiencing and will sometimes tell them to ‘pull themselves together’ and ‘move on’.

Loss can also be felt about an event which is anticipated but has not yet happened, for example children growing up and leaving home, the ageing process, or when a person or animal is given a terminal diagnosis and they and their family try to come to terms with the fact that they will probably die sooner than they had expected to.

Everyone’s experience of grief is highly personal and is based upon their unique perception of the situation (Shapiro, 1993).  Events trigger different reactions in different people and our responses to trauma and emotional shock can vary hugely.  They can also depend on our past experiences, beliefs and values.  In addition they can be influenced by the other things going on in our lives at the time which can result in us feeling particularly vulnerable or sensitive.  However there are a range of common emotions that people experience.  These include feelings of sadness, anger, guilt, anxiety, loneliness, fatigue, helplessness, shock, yearning, emancipation, relief and numbness.

People can also experience a range of physical sensations such as tightness in the chest and throat, hollowness in the stomach and breathlessness.  Thought patterns can be affected too, resulting in disbelief, confusion, preoccupation, hallucinations and a sense of the presence of the lost person or object.  These might then lead to a range of behaviours including lack of sleeping, appetite disturbances, absentmindedness, social withdrawal, dreams of the deceased, avoiding reminders of the deceased, searching, calling out, sighing, restless overactivity, crying, visiting places or carrying objects that remind the survivor of the deceased and treasuring objects that belonged to the deceased (Worden, 2005; Geldard & Geldard, 2001; Bowlby 1980).

If you are currently experiencing any of these issues and would like to talk, please feel free to get in touch.  There will be no obligation to make a booking, it’s just an opportunity for you to ask any questions you might have and to see if what I offer might be a good fit for you.  My contact details are:

robyn@equenergy.com

07980 669303

If you would like to take a look at my website, you can find it at:

www.equenergy.com/

 

You can read the whole of this article here

BEREAVEMENT AND LOSS – Part 1 of 7

The issue of Bereavement and Loss comes up in my practice on a fairly regular basis and so I decided to polish up this article that I wrote a while ago and re-present it as a series of blogposts.

In Part 1, I will look at bereavement in regards to the animals that share our lives.  In later sections I will go on to explore Bereavement and Loss itself in more depth, including the ‘Grief Cycle’, followed by some steps that you might find helpful for anyone you know who is struggling to deal with a loss that they have experienced.

I recently met with a networking colleague of mine, Helen Lloyd, who is setting up a new business in Yatton called Pet Angels Parlour.  You can also find her on Facebook.  This is what Helen says about her work:

“Pets are part of the family, and just like family members, their passing needs to be treated with the same level of respect and care. Often, pet cremation is not handled with the sensitivity and compassion that owner’s desire, which is why we do what we do.”

Helen and I are both passionate about supporting people in times of bereavement and loss.  For me this is not only around the death of a loved one (as you will see below there are many other forms of Loss that we can experience during our lifetime), though this is often the most common interpretation and it’s certainly the focus of Helen’s work.

I strongly believe that people also need support in the period of time leading up to their loved one’s passing.  In fact I recently shared a post on my Facebook page about ‘Anticipatory Grief‘, which is a little talked-about and much misunderstood phenomenon.

Being a pet guardian can often bring with it another element, that of having to decide if it’s time to have our animal put to sleep.  This can be such a difficult and painful decision and carries with it a huge weight of responsibility, and yet it can actually be an amazing gift to our animal friends.

Even just living with an aging pet and allowing them to grow old gracefully can be a challenge, but also a privilege.  If you find yourself in this situation please remember there is support available.  You do not have to go through this alone.  For example I can offer Reiki to you and your animal, to support them as they experience the challenges of their senior years – pain, stiffness, declining energy and health – and also to be there for you as a listening, non-judgemental, understanding ear, and to offer energy balancing which will help to keep you grounded and centred.   I also use Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT, or ‘tapping’) which can help in dealing with emotional pain, limiting beliefs and fears around death and dying.

If this is something you would like to explore, please contact me for an initial, free consultation.  There will be no obligation to make a booking, it’s just an opportunity for you to ask any questions you might have and to see if what I offer might be a good fit for you and your animal.  My contact details are:

robyn@equenergy.com

07980 669303

If you would like to take a look at my website, you can find it at:

www.equenergy.com/

You can read the whole of this article here

Case study of a dog with a spinal condition (Part 4 of 4)

In the previous 3 posts I’ve shared what happened at a recent zoopharmacognosy (self selection) session with a canine client of mine, Willow.  The session was offered via Skype by Rachel Windsor-Knott of My Animal Matters.  Having asked Willow’s owner to fill out a detailed consultation form Rachel then sent a box of samples and, during the call, described how to offer these to Willow.  Rachel’s selection of herbs and oils was spot on, and Willow worked with everything in the box.

Rachel also recommended that Willow’s owner offer her Coconut oil in addition to the remedies to make sure that she was choosing the macerates for their herb content, rather than for fats (see further information in Part 3).  Willow proved to be very keen on this and her owner realised that it has also been helping her skin.  (Willow had had a tendency to lick at her paws causing redness and broken skin but this has now cleared up.)

Rachel added Spirulina to Willow’s selection of remedies.  This is helpful in cases of anxious behaviours and joint problems.  It is detoxifying and helps to stimulate the immune system.  It’s also a great supplement for senior dogs or those who are a little run-down as it is rich in protein and nutrients.  Willow proved to be very fond of this too!

Following the initial session, Willow’s owner continued to offer the remedies, particularly the Peppermint, Marjoram Sweet and Violet Leaf oils, the Comfrey and Arnica macerates and the Rose water.  To these she then added the Coconut Oil and Spirulina.  She shared this message with us when her box of remedies arrived:

Willow was so excited when your parcel arrived and was ripping off the bubble wrap with me! She’s loving the arnica, comfrey, violet leaf (rubs on side of head with it and mouthing/chewing the cloth) and marjoram on her back, more than the others… She is much more relaxed and softer… 

Rachel had included small sachets of Devil’s Claw and Barley Grass which Willow took for a few days. (Devils Claw is good for arthritis, inflammatory pain and musculoskeletal issues.  Barley Grass supports animals with anxious and hyperactive behaviours and those with skin conditions.  It is rich in nutrients, particularly magnesium). Her owner then sent us this message:

Not keen on devils claw today so offered barley wheat grass … then offered spirulina… Lucky I put a towel down, specks of green everywhere! … Still wanting marjoram on her back and generally sleeps with either violet leaf/peppermint. 

Willow is twitching now, she hasn’t done that for a while.

Throughout this whole process I was also offering Reiki to Willow to help her body enter into it’s Rest and Repair mode.  She can tend to be an anxious dog who is always on the alert so the Reiki helped her to relax so that her body could heal and so that the oils and other remedies could work effectively.  Several of the remedies she chose were also supporting her on this emotional level.  This is a picture of Willow after one of our Reiki sessions:

In our fifth session, Willow’s owner said that had she not seen it for herself she would not have believed the change in her dog over the last month.! From having been very wobbly on her back legs and walking with a rather odd, wide-legged gait, scuffing her toes, Willow now almost looks normal when she walks.  She had lost some muscle tone but is slowly building this up again as she regains strength and feeling.  She now knows when she needs to go outside for toileting and so there have been no further accidents in the house.  Her owner is overjoyed!  When she’d first been given the diagnosis from the vet she had thought she might soon have to say goodbye to her beloved dog whereas now it seems that Willow has been given a new lease of life!

If you’d like to know more about how these therapies could be used to support an animal in your life please get in touch:

robyn@equenergy.com

07980 669303

For Reiki and META-Health information you can see my website:

www.equenergy.com

For information on Zoopharmacognosy (self selection) see:

www.myanimalmatters.co.uk

 

(You can read the whole article here)

Case study of a dog with a spinal condition (Part 3 of 4)

In the last 2 posts in this series I’ve described a zoopharmacognosy (self selection) session offered by Rachel Windsor-Knott of My Animal Matters to one of my canine clients, Willow.

Having offered all of the remedies that Rachel had sent – of which Willow accepted every single one – we then put each remedy on the floor and watched to see what she would do.  She lay down with her jaw parallel to the Peppermint oil.  Throughout she had kept returning to this cloth and Rachel suspected that, as she was inhaling rather than licking, she was using it for it’s clearing properties, more than as a pain killer.

As Willow was lying there she began to twitch gently, as if she was dreaming, and she did appear to be asleep. (During the session she had also shown blinks, yawns, licking, chewing and stretches as she worked with the oils, processing and releasing).

Rachel recommended continuing to offer this selection to Willow, particularly the Peppermint, Marjoram Sweet and Violet Leaf oils, the Comfrey and Arnica macerates and the Rose water.  She also suggested adding rice bran oil and / or coconut oil* to Willow’s diet to ensure that when she chooses the macerates this is done solely for the herb content rather than the fat.  (Fat is essential for nerves so she might be choosing these remedies for this as well, particularly as she’s on a dry food diet which can result in low levels of healthy fats.  Coconut oil is also antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral so helps with infections.  The vet had said that this is a possible cause for the lesion in Willow’s spine so this oil might be beneficial in this way too.  It is also good for the skin and coat, and supports the thyroid.)

The day after the session Willow’s owner posted this message:

Hey! Just wanted to say – Wow!! Willow’s legs have improved dramatically! After only one session! So I’m very hopeful and can’t wait to continue on with it. 

Less collapsing … she also seems more relaxed and affectionate and her muscles are softer. She is always tense and alert being the alpha dog and protects the house… this morning seems a bit tense/back to normal but no collapsing yet, plus she told us she needed to go outside for a poo (she has been having a lot of accidents so we have to make sure she goes out regularly) so she is definitely feeling her back end and legs again. 

Thanks again! 

Rachel replied: 

That’s amazing. Which makes total sense with the peppermint in particular as it’s able to stimulate new nerve pathways.

Next week I’ll share further information on how things have been progressing for Willow since this session.

 

*Please note that fats should not be offered to dogs who suffer from pancreatitis

 

(You can read the whole article here)

Case study of a dog with a spinal condition (Part 2 of 4)

Last week I started sharing a little about a recent zoopharmacognosy (self selection) session with a canine client of mine.

Rachel Windsor-Knott, of My Animal Matters, sent a box of samples to Willow’s owner and, via Skype, talked us through how to offer them and what signals to watch for.

Having offered some essential oils, we then moved on to the 2 macerates that Rachel had thought would help Willow: Comfrey and Arnica.  Willow devoured these, lapping up all that Rachel had sent.  (Comfrey – also known as ‘knit bone’ – is good for fractures and also helps in cases of soft tissue damage.  It eases inflammation of the stomach, too, so can be helpful in easing the side effects of pain killing medication.  Arnica helps with bruising, muscular injury and inflammatory pain.  It is also an immune system stimulant.)

Rachel then suggested offering the Rose and Valerian Root waters.  Willow licked and chewed at the bottles so her owner poured some out and again she lapped these up and wanted more.  She seemed to have a slight preference for the Rose water.  (Rose is used in cases of anger and resentment, hormone balancing, feelings of rejection and emotional wounds, trauma and unwanted memories.  Valerian root is a muscle relaxant and sedative which helps in cases of anxious behaviours.)

We then moved on to Marjoram Sweet.  This was on a cloth and again Willow showed interest.  Her energy come up and she appeared quite playful.  She approached her owner which made Rachel think she might want to have the oil applied.  Rachel gave instructions for Willow’s owner to rub the cloth on her hands and offer these to Willow.  Willow accepted this so her owner gently rubbed her hands first on Willow’s chest, then her neck and shoulders and on down to her back.  Willow then turned  round and presented her rump and back for the oil to be applied there too!  (This oil is an antispasmodic, helps to ease stiffness in the muscles and is also very comforting in cases of grief.)

Lastly there was a cloth with Violet Leaf oil.  Willow showed great interest in this, chewing at the cloth.  (This oil is very supportive when there is anticipation of pain.  It is comforting to the heart and helps those of a nervous disposition.)

Next week I’ll talk about how we drew the session to a close and how things progressed for Willow.

 

(You can read the whole article here)