Monday, January 22, 2018

Complicated Grief: Food, Thought Solutions (Research, Video 2:14

Sometimes grief doesn’t wind down like a slowly moving stream reminding us of loss. For some, the death of a loved one can become a threatening ocean of turbulent thought waves that disorder lives with chaotic confusion. Complicated grief involves traumatic symptoms such as disruptive flashbacks, overwhelming fear, and extreme anxiety. Everyday tasks of living such as basic meal planning and eating seem impossible to navigate in a mental state of aloneness and pain. These symptoms require cognitive behavioral therapy to assist the griever with irrational beliefs, depression or anger in adapting to life without a loved one.

Hospice programs include family bereavement counseling assistance after a loved one has died. In an effort to support those who were having difficulty with adjusting to meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking for one, Heather Nickrand of Alexian Brothers Hospice, Laura Lerdal and David Kramer of College of DuPage started the Culinary Grief Therapy: Cooking for One Series. This series includes interactive therapy demonstrations and hands-on experiences for participants in hospice bereavement counseling.

Results of this culinary grief therapy have been very positive with participation increasing with each workshop session. This unique way of providing quality of life in a person-centered manner with meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking for one is commendable.

Complicated grief is an under-recognized mental health problem that many people experience, particularly older adults. General therapy for depression may not be successful in resolving this form of grief. Dr, Katherine Shear of Columbia University has lead a successful study using another form of therapy in which patients “relive the loss.” In this CBS video, Dr.Max Gomez, Dr. Shear, and patient Iris Palley explain how it works.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.
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