10 Tips for How to Support a Grieving Partner or Help a Friend Grieving

10 Tips for How to Support a Grieving Partner or Help a Friend Grieving

Can grief make you sick?

Navigating a conversation about the benefits of therapy with someone who may have reservations or skepticism about its effectiveness, especially during a period of profound grief, requires a delicate and compassionate approach. Here are some strategies you might consider to gently encourage your partner to explore grief counseling:

1. Express Empathy and Understanding for the Grieving Partner

Start by acknowledging their pain and the difficulty of the situation. Let them know you see their suffering and are there to support them in any way they need. An environment of empathy and understanding can make them more receptive to suggestions.

2. Share Observations Without Judgment to Support a Grieving Partner

Instead of making it about what they “need,” share your observations about changes you’ve noticed in them since their loss. Do this gently, focusing on your concern for their well-being, and avoid making it sound like a critique.

3. Introduce Grief Therapy as a Tool, Not a Solution

Explain that therapy isn’t about fixing them because they’re not broken but rather providing them with tools to navigate their grief more comfortably. It’s about support, not judgment or a quick fix.

10 Tips for How to Support a Grieving Partner or Help a Friend Grieving

4. Highlight the Variety in Therapy

Discuss the different types of therapy available, emphasizing that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Mention that grief therapy, in particular, is tailored to help individuals process their unique experiences of loss.

5. Use Relatable Examples or Testimonials 

If possible, share stories or examples of individuals (without breaking confidentiality) who had similar reservations about therapy but found it helpful. Sometimes, knowing others have felt the same way and benefited can ease their skepticism.

6. Suggest Starting Small

Recommend starting with a single session or attending a support group for those who have experienced similar losses, emphasizing there’s no long-term commitment necessary. The idea is to take a small step to see if it feels right for them.

7. Offer to Support Them in the Process

Offer to help find a therapist, make the initial call, or even accompany them to the first session if that makes them more comfortable. Knowing they have your support can make a significant difference.

8. Encourage Exploration of Resources

Sometimes, direct confrontation about therapy can cause resistance. Instead, you might introduce resources gently, such as articles, podcasts, or books about grief and healing, some of which may naturally advocate for professional support.

9. Be Patient and Reiterate Your Support

Understand that they may not be immediately open to the idea, and that’s okay. Reiterate your support and let them know you’re there for them, regardless of their choice about therapy.

10. Model Vulnerability

Share your own experiences or thoughts about therapy openly, if applicable. Hearing about your vulnerability and how you’ve sought help in challenging times can normalize the process.

Video to Share with Someone Who is Grieving

Remember, the goal is to make therapy a viable and attractive option for them to consider, not to coerce them into it. The decision must ultimately come from them, and all you can do is provide support, information, and encouragement along the way.

In the meanwhile, there are free videos and articles out there to help support your partner: 

Too busy to watch the whole thing? Below is a summary of the sections related to grief.

In times of loss, the swinging pendulum of emotional tides can feel chaotic, especially when they cast shadows over our closest relationships. Whether mourning the passing of a loved one, grieving unmet aspirations, or navigating the complex landscape of infertility, grief’s tendrils entwine with the fabric of what it means to be human. Lindsay Bauer, a notable figure in the realm of family therapy and mind-body methodologies, shares insights on how to not only weather the hard times with your partner but also use grief as a fulcrum to deepen your connection, here you have a resume:

Rediscovery Through Grief: How to Rediscover Each Other

  • Private Journey: Grief is deeply personal, even in close partnerships.
  • Embrace Vulnerability: Use grief to relearn each other’s emotional landscapes.
  • Deepen Understanding: Transform vulnerability into a deeper connection.

What few acknowledge is that the process of grief is, at its heart, a private affair even in the most bonded partnerships. It requires a relearning of each other’s emotional landscapes, a capitulation towards vulnerability, and the fortification of compassion. “Look like you’re learning each other over again, in this grief,” Bauer suggests, inviting a fresh curiosity that transforms vulnerability into an opportunity for deeper understanding.

Through her practice, Bauer has witnessed couples confronted by the unfamiliar in their partner’s responses to loss. Yet, it is through these insensate raw moments that they find space to extend tenderness and renew the foundation of their connection. This mutual openness to rediscover each other can provide the much-needed levity during the densest of emotional storms.

10 Tips for How to Support a Grieving Partner or Help a Friend Grieving

Personalized Healing Paths

  • Grief is a unique Process: Everyone experiences grief differently.
  • Open Dialogue for Healing: Discuss and respect each other’s healing methods.
  • Support Joy: Overcome guilt associated with finding happiness amid sorrow.

Every individual resonates with a unique octave of grief, and as Bauer highlights, “not just in terms of where we are in our healing process, but how we heal.” By appreciating this variance, and through open dialogue, the often-taboo notion that one might feel guilty for experiencing joy amid sorrow can be dismantled.

In her discourse, Bauer shares her audacious approach to healing as she collectively crafts personalized roads to recovery. Be it the extroverted partner who seeks solace in community or the introverted counterpart yearning for the solace of silence, the path to catharsis is one that they must walk side by side, respecting the unique pace of their steps and the rhythm of their emotional melodies.

Walking the Balance Beam Together: Balance in Healing

  • Different Styles: Personal healing methods can vary and lead to feelings of neglect.
  • Mutual Respect: Advocate for your own healing while supporting your partner’s.
  • Find Equilibrium: Balance is crucial for a resilient partnership.

One of the most significant challenges in the grieving process is maintaining balance within the relationship. Bauer aptly illustrates her own experience with infertility, reflecting how misalignment between personal healing methods can lead to feelings of being neglected or abandoned. However, this disparity in healing styles isn’t a chasm; it’s an aspect of coupledom that requires mutual acceptance and respect.

Couples must learn how to advocate for their form of grief and healing, while also carving space for their partner’s process. Finding equilibrium in a relationship that traverses two distinct paths of healing is no easy feat, but it is essential to building a robust and resilient partnership that can transform and grow, even in the aftermath of loss.

Forward Steps in Collective Healing to Help Your Partner

Moving Forward Together

  • Blueprint for Thriving: Understanding, communication, and redefining intimacy.
  • Celebrate Uniqueness: Rediscover and appreciate each other’s strengths.
  • Collective Healing: Create a shared narrative of resilience and growth.

In conclusion, Lindsay Bauer paints a picture of grace under fire, showcasing the blueprint for couples not just to survive but to thrive during grief’s formidable presence. Her work underlines the pressing need for understanding, communication, and a willingness to redefine intimacy as a couple navigates through their shared sorrow.

Her insights are profound. Each loss is a lighthouse, guiding couples to rediscover and appreciate the uniqueness within each other. By learning to dance to each other’s individual tempos, they can craft a symphony of collective healing that celebrates the past, lives in the present, and bravely scripts an unwritten future.

Engaging Your Journey of Grief Together

  • Transform mourning from a solitary process to a shared journey.
  • Use grief as an opportunity for profound, lasting connections.

Bauer’s approach is a call-to-action for couples to weave love, support, and understanding through the complex tapestry of grief. It challenges traditional notions of mourning as a solitary or secluded process, emphasizing the power of community and united healing. This emotionally charged process can lead to new beginnings and a shared narrative of resilience and growth.

In our fast-paced, often detached modern world, allowing grief to soften the edges of our relationships opens avenues for a more profound and lasting connection. It is through vulnerability, openness, and a willingness to walk hand-in-hand with our partners, even through the darkest of valleys, that we can truly experience the healing potential of grief.

For individuals and couples alike, Bauer’s innovative approach to collective healing is an opportunity to transform challenges into catalysts. Her insights are not just a professionally astute guide to counseling couples through grief; they are a universal call to all types of relationships to view crisis and loss as opportunities for profound transformation.

In closing, Bauer’s vision is a lamp in the night, guiding not just those in immediate grief, but any of us who seek to deepen our connection in the crucible of life’s inevitable trials. For anyone treading the tumultuous waters of loss, her voice echoes a reassurance that through understanding, patience, and love, there is the promise of a stronger, more connected tomorrow.

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