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Dipti Tait Hypnotherapy
Celebrity Hypnotherapist Dipti Tait

Grief Therapy – Nobody wants it, but 100% needs it

Grief Therapy with Dipti Tait

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Why Is Grief Therapy Valuable

Why is Grief Therapy Valuable?

I’ve learnt something valuable about Grief Therapy by working so intimately with my clients for a decade.

As human beings, we are all grieving something. This is why I passionately believe that Grief Therapy is essential for all of us in life, not just in death.

Grief came to find me in my early twenties when I least expected it, and it completely changed the direction of my life. I went from working in broadcast television, to becoming a hypnotherapist and grief author because grief took over my world.

Planet Grief By Dipti Tait - Deal With Loss, Grief And Change

How did your own experience of grief lead you to writing Good Grief and Planet Grief?

When I first met grief, I had no idea what I was experiencing and the world I knew shattered into millions of pieces – I was 24, and I had no experience of mental health trauma before this happened to me.
When my dad passed away, it was horrendous, because he was the parent I went to for help. I felt abandoned and isolated. My mind was in turmoil. My emotions had been hijacked and my life turned upside down.
I felt lost, incapable and very alone. This incredibly scary feeling of emotional overwhelm mixed with pain punctuated with no feeling at all was a desperately confusing time, and I felt that I needed to find a system of organising the chaos inside my own head, and I started to write.

It was a hot day in May, just after my 24th birthday when I was sitting at my desk in Television Centre at the BBC in London. The phone rang… That phone call turned my world upside down.

It was an oncologist from Hammersmith Hospital who asked me to come in to give me some news. I didn’t know what an oncologist was, and back then Google wasn’t a thing – this was May 1998.
He told me something that broke my heart into a million pieces. My lovely, kind-hearted dad had stage 4 leukaemia – and at worst had 2 months, and at best, 4 months.
From that moment onwards, I met grief, and it has been with me ever since.

P.S. The oncologist was spot on, my dad died on September 9th 1998, just after Google was born.

A few years later, I also lost my sweet grieving mum to liver cancer, and then found myself drowning in Orphan Grief. I am an only child, and I felt completely lost, alone and helpless.
The only thing that helped me deal with loss and my broken heart was solution focused hypnotherapy, and I trained to become a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist myself.
I also began writing my emotions out of my head, and I just kept writing, until I wrote a book.

Good Grief, my debut book was literally a self-help book to help myself deal with loss – and from the success of this book, I was commissioned to write my second book Planet Grief, 5 years later.

My own grieving process lead to both my books being published over the healing period of 10 years.

Getting Through Grief

Can you remember how you felt in the first few months after you lost your dad – and was there anything that was particularly helpful in this time? Or was it all about simply getting through? 

The first month, I felt absent. As if I was watching my existence rather than living my life. I was operating on auto-pilot mode and felt as if I’d turned into a robot. I acted as if nothing was wrong, and carried on as ‘normal’. I realised later, that this was a form of denial and disbelief, protecting me from overwhelm – much like the fuse box when too much current goes through the electrical system, some fuses have to blow to protect the whole system from burn out. This is a similar protection – it’s the brain’s way of coping with shock.
After about 6 weeks, my emotional mind began to switch itself back on again – but it was not a seamless emotional experience at all. It was completely extreme – all or nothing.
The overwhelming and underwhelming feelings were a rollercoaster of emotions. They would come in like a tsunami one day, and then I was left bereft another day. Feeling empty and suicidal, with no one to understand and share my loss.
I am an only child, and this feeling of orphan grief is hugely destabilising. Feeling directionless and out of control became a normal feeling.
The helpful thing was writing my thoughts down, and this helped me release my emotions in a safe and contained space so my intellectual mind could make a proper assessment of what I was going through and this helped me regain rational stability.

Grief Therapy - Nobody Wants It, But 100% Needs It

What in your opinion, are some of the biggest misconceptions about grief?

A misconception is that because you can’t see grief, it doesn’t exist. This is of course not true. Mental and emotional ill health should be treated exactly the same as physical ill health.
 
A huge misconception is that grief is something you “get over” with time. It’s never about this. You don’t get over it, you learn to live with it. It becomes part of you, and you can use it to help you heal and sometimes, it can also be used to fuel you in a positive way.
Another misconception is that everyone grieves in the same way. They don’t. It’s such a unique experience and each individual will have their own way of dealing with it, and that is normal.
Also, a big misconception is that you may be exempt from grieving if you just don’t think about it. Unless you are a psychopath (they don’t feel grief), you will be delaying the inevitable and it will eventually come out in a way that you may not expect. This is why it’s so important to get the right help and support when you need it.
The biggest misconception is that grief is a problem. It isn’t. It is in-fact the solution. Grief Therapy will help you understand this.

Grief Therapy - Nobody Wants It, But 100% Needs It

Are there some common stages that someone is likely to go through after losing a close family member?

There isn’t an order, but these are generally the stages we will go through:

Shock – Feeling numb, empty, no emotions. Much like a shock absorber on a car, this protects our system from damage from further bumps and potholes in life.

Bargaining and Guilt – We can be plagued with thoughts such as: Why didn’t I pay them more attention?  Perhaps I could have done more? I wish I was a better partner. This is our own brain in a sort of intellectual/emotional battle with the rational and the irrational parts of our thinking.
Denial and Disbelief – This is a protection mechanism to help you break down and process the grief bit by bit. A bit like chewing before you swallow, to make things easier to digest.
Anger and Resentment – This is very normal. Anger is triggered by our primitive brain to help us stay strong. To give us a sense of justice, to help us make the situation right. This is a useful way to channel grief, by using anger as fuel and turning it into a positive – like a cause, a mission or a new purpose.
Fear and Anxiety – This stage is helpful for us to understand that we may need to reach out for help. Again, this is our brain trying to look out for us to help us realise that we are not in an ideal frame of mind.
Loneliness and Depression – A very normal grief thought is “I am alone” or “No one understands what I am going through”. This is not true. It’s our brain trying to keep us safe, by convincing us that we need to hide and seek sanctuary. Depression is a primitive survival strategy in the brain to keep us out of danger and conserve our energy. Our system is literally de-pressed, so we stop releasing chemistry to save energy and stay ‘in the cave’ until the danger passes.
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In a time of such shock and tragedy like this, what are the ways people grieving the loss of a loved one can look after themselves?

Grief Therapy is always my first suggestion, but there are also plenty of other ways to support yourself if you are  struggling with grief symptoms.
If you are someone that prefers do deal with your grief in private. I have an app called Dipti, that you can download from wherever you get your apps from and this app has plenty of resources to help you feel better and regain emotional control.
It’s very important o acknowledge the grieving process and surround yourself with a network of support that you can rely on. Usually, shortly after the death, there will be plenty of voluntary support. However, after a few weeks, months – the support dwindles. This is the time where the support is needed even more.
It’s important to know that there is help out there, in the form of books, therapy, literature and support groups.
It’s also very important to understand that your mind is sensitive, vulnerable and emotionally fragile. So, giving yourself necessary time and space and make sure you have adequate grief buffers in place – this is very important for emotional wellbeing.
Remember that there is nothing wrong with you when you are grieving – you are grieving – and the label of grief can sometimes be helpful to help you realise that no matter what you are feeling or not feeling, you are entitled to be grieving and you never have to feel like you need to apologise for it or excuse it. It’s okay not to be okay.
What Is Non Sleep Deep Rest

Are there any techniques / tools that people can use to deal with the grief experienced after losing a loved one? (How do Hypnotherapy/NSDR help?)

Grief Therapy is a combination of Hypnotherapy, which is a solution focused psychotherapy that uses hypnosis and trance and NSDR, which stands for Non Sleep Deep Rest – researched extensively by Dr. Andrew Huberman. NSDR is a form of deep relaxation combined with a practice known as Yoga Nidra. Together, these are psychological tools to help you regain intellectual control while remaining emotionally balanced.
The psychotherapy part of the Hypnotherapy sessions help you talk things through in a very solution focused way and give you the tools to understand the power of grief and also be with it rather than resist it.
The relaxation part of NSDR is hugely helpful because if you learn the skill of on demand relaxation, you are much better equipped with dealing with the emotional stress that grief causes.

Online Hypnotherapy With Dipti TaitOn a practical level, when you lose a spouse, every part of your life changes – from paying bills to weekend routines – what are some of the practical things you can do to help navigate this?

Even though routines are different and life has changed, it’s very important you make special time to grieve and remember your loss. This can be very useful for your system to know that it will get a scheduled chance to grieve so this will help you stay in control, rather than lose control when you least expect to.
It’s useful to surround yourself with a reliable network of friends or support – e.g: school run parents, or people who can cook you a meal when you don’t feel like it.
Also, it’s nice to find a grief buddy – someone that perhaps may be going through the same thing as you who you can support, and who can support you. There is some comfort when you know that you are not alone.
Grief Therapy is always a good idea with a solution focused grief therapist, who can also be your anchor, mentor and coach.
NSDR with Dipti Tait

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