What is bereavement trauma?
In a traumatic bereavement, the meaning surrounding the person’s death results in it being experienced as traumatic. The trauma gets in the way of the typical process of grief and blocks one’s ability to process the loss. Sometimes the person gets stuck in this limbo, experiencing a range of emotions and haunted by nostalgia and memories of the past.
It’s a painful place to be in. While trauma can be physical, it is often emotional and psychological. Bereavement trauma is not just about what happened during the death of the person. It can also refer to how you are left feeling afterwards, constantly longing for that person and unable to fully become present to life right now.
When we experience trauma, we can become emotionally dysregulated as our anxiety and overwhelm increases. That arousal of emotions triggers our fight or flight mechanism, leading to panic/ fear driven emotions as our sympathetic nervous system becomes activated. When we become overwhelmed by this mechanism, we can often become frozen by it, dissociating, shutting down and feeling hopeless. Left unprocessed, traumas can also reshape our core self and make us unable to function. We might feel a host of emotions, some of which are explained in this diagram:
At Naked Bereavement, we deliver a structured and supportive 4-month coaching program to support the healing from such a trauma by teaching techniques to stabilize and deactivate that trauma response. Run by Adele Theron, a highly trained Trauma coach, this coaching approach helps you to pinpoint and project manage the triggers from that traumatic time which continue to live on in your day to day life. Whereas therapy focuses on the trauma itself, coaching focuses on strategies and tools to move forward. Coaching is a forward-focused approach which builds healing strategies to deal with those triggers that come up in your day to day life, teaching you to deal with them proactively.
Overcoming traumatic bereavement is a function of processing the loss, learning to live alongside the loss and creating meaning in ones’ life again.
This coaching approach is educational and builds insight, so you can learn how to support yourself to overcome the overwhelm mechanism using a host of techniques you will learn on the program. The program is not designed for people who have acute psychiatric conditions. Those conditions are better supported with medicalised support. If you want to check if the program is a good fit for you, book a Clarity call with someone on our team to talk through if the coaching approach is a good fit for your situation.