Gale Minchew, PhD

Author, Psychologist, Lightworker, Wife, Mom, Friend...but not necessarily in that order!

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Counseling Outside The Box...Grief

In my counseling practice, I dwell not on the past but on the indomitable spirit of your will to go forward, to live in the present and prepare for a beautiful future.  Unfortunately, many who come into my office are stuck in the past, dwelling on issues they can no longer effect.  My patients bring me problems with seemingly no solution.  What am I to do?  Easy...think outside the box.  Refuse to be constrained by typical or expected answers. 

What does one do when she cannot get past the loss of a loved one?  The typical answers I've heard over the years include "It'll get easier with time" or "You must take time to grieve" or "Know they're in a better place" for example.  These comments, while offered by genuine hearts, do little to help one move forward to a point where the pain has subsided and they can again recall their loved one with beautiful memories rather than sadness or distress. 

All cases are unique and must be addressed as such.  For my patient, she had tried for years to let go of her despair, so it was clear to me that she needed a technique for letting go that was definitely outside the box.  To that end, I suggested she send a message of love.  I asked her to go home and sit down with her thoughts.  She should write a letter to her loved one expressing everything she wanted and needed to say.  Once the letter was written, I asked her to attach the letter to a helium balloon, walk out into a wide open space, close her eyes for a moment and think special thoughts of the loved one, then release the balloon to the heavens where the recipient could "receive" her message.

Now, some may say this is nonsense, but to this patient, it changed her perspective, allowed her to release long held feelings of sadness and despair, and gave her a chance to symbolically say everything she needed to say for closure.  She needed the physical and visual representation of goodbye.  For her, the standard answer to her problem only seemed to make it worse.  Thinking outside the box to find a solution enabled her to go forward with a lighter heart, a feeling of closure, and the ability to apply the same technique to other areas of her life.

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