Offices in: doylestown, pa & King of prussia
Offices in: doylestown, pa & King of prussia
Adriana Caughie, LPC, Grief and Loss Specialist
Adriana has vast experience with grief and loss with individuals of all ages. Her speciality is working with children, adolescents and young adult of all ages. She worked with families, children, teens and adults at The Safe Harbor. Whether it is grief and loss from divorce of parents , or the death of a parent or sibling, There are other losses which are more ordinary to life but children, adolescents and young adults may respond in a manner emotionally that inhibits their daily lives. These include the loss of a romantic relationship, a move from your family home to a new home, the loss of a best friend from conlifct or the loss of abilities from an illness.
KIDS AND DIVORCE: GRIEF AND LOSS
For Children, Teens, and Young Adults finding out your parents are getting a divorce can be devastating. The family structure with two parents as bookends is a protective foundation they live under. When this foundation is rocked by divorce and they are no longer in one home, but now two it can be jarring for kids and many mental health issues can arise as a result. Going back and forth from one home to another can present with difficulties. Whether it is an amicable divorce or a conflictual divorce issues like missing the other parent, seeing their parents alone instead of as a couple, and possibly being further from friends and activities while they are at the other parents home can be challenging. Anxiety, Depression, Loss and Grief can present and a feeling of being out of control.. For kids with ADHD they can have a difficult time with the transition from one home to the next and remembering to bring everything that is needed for a few days at the other parent's home. For anxious kids it can feel like they have no control and are being forced to adhere to this new life when their parents were the ones that made the decision for them. For kids on the spectrum, transitions and change can present with anger or defiance and parents may not know how to react to this behavior. Therapy is needed to work through the changes and feelings in their lives as a result of the divorce. Family therapy may be needed so kids can express their needs at a time where they feel that a major decision was made for them and not with them.
CHILDREN, TEENS, AND YOUNG ADUTS: LOSS OF MOTHER OR FATHER TO DEATH
The loss of a parent is a traumatic event whether it was sudden or they had time while the parent was ill to prepare. There are times when a parent is terminally ill where the other parent does not disclose that their parent is going to die. This can be followed by a feeling of betrayal and had they knowns they could have prepared differently or said some things they wished they have the opportunity to say.
Therapy for Grief and Loss of a Parent is about getting to the feelings of grief and noticing if there are other feelings in the way such as the child blaming themselves for the loss or feeling the parent abandoned them by passing away. Children of parents that pass away can feel survivor guilt or may protect the living parent by taking care of them instead of feeling the pain of the loss as a child.
CHILDREN, TEENS, AND YOUNG ADULTS: LOSS OF SIBLING TO DEALTH
Children who lose a sibling to death at times have a phenomenon where they try to take up the least space, be the least troublesome, and please their parents. Children feel that the sick and dying child deserves all the attention from the parents and if they are just quiet and "very good kids" they won't add more stress to their parents than they already have. At times there is survivor guilt, "it should have been me instead of them" and that guilt eats away at them. Therapy can help bring out some of these unspoken feelings that were just a defense mechanism at the time they were happening. Once the sibling passes away, siblings may then feel it is time to live and they may begin acting out with defiance, anger, drugs, or alcohol. Or they may "act in" with an eating disorder, depression or self harm by cutting. Grieving parents may react to this behavior at face value instead of realizing it is a way of covering the pain of their child's siblings death. Therapy can guide parents to understand and help a child, teen or young adult get in touch with what they are truly feeling instead of having to act it out.
CHILDREN, TEENS AND YOUNG ADULTS: Losing a sibling to Suicide
For siblings, a Suicide is a shock, a state of disbelief, and a trauma that can result in a state of depersonalization or complete emotional shut down, or disbelief, denial and trauma.
Siblings will never forget exactly where they were when they were told of their siblings suicide. For some siblings there was no awareness that their sibling was struggling with mental health issues. They may have covered the depression or suicidal thoughts up and it may have been a complete shock. The sibling that has taken their lives may have appeared popular at school, may have been an athlete and may have never presented as depressed or hopeless. In these cases the mystery of the Suicide can make the grief process complicated. In other cases, the sibling may have suffered deeply and for many years with mental health issues and the treatment was not effective. Siblings may have guilt if the thought enters their minds that their sibling who has been depressed for a long time finally has relief and is in a better more peaceful place. Therapy can help the siblings and the family sort through the grief and loss and identify confusing or guilty feelings that have come up. The adjustment of your siblings not being in your life daily and questioning the after life and where they actually are at this time can be scary.
Our therapists who work with women who are dealing with an empty nest are also moms who have been through this process themselves. Lynne and Sue are here to help you begin to work through the feelings of loss and create the life you want now that your children are not living at home.