Adjustments following loss of a loved one

adjustments following loss


For the bereaved, their whole world has changed as a result of the loss of  a spouse, partner, family member, friend or other loved one. According to grief specialist William Worden the bereaved have to find ways of  “adjusting to a world without the deceased”. As well as the necessity to accept the reality of the loss and process the pain of grief, there are a number of adjustments following loss of a loved one that need to be addressed:

  • how the loss affects day-to-day living;
  • how the loss affects the bereaved person’s sense of self;
  • how the death of the loved one affects the bereaved person’s beliefs, values and assumptions about their world. It is important to discover and invent new meaning in the face of loss.

adjustments following loss



Just as the process of grieving is unique for each person, so is the pathway taken to making adjustments following loss of a loved one. Adjustments mean different things to different people depending on what the relationship was with the person who has died and the various roles this person played.



” In any bereavement, it is seldom clear exactly what is lost. A loss of a husband, for instance, may or may not mean the loss of a sexual partner, companion, accountant, gardener, baby minder, audience, bed warmer, and so on, depending on the particular roles normally performed by this husband.”

C.M. Parkes (1972) Bereavement: Studies of grief in adult life. New York: International University Press p. 7


Adjustments following loss of a spouse/partner also include adjusting to one’s sense of self. Sometimes a person’s sense of self is dependent on the person to whom they are attached. Loss of self-esteem can occur.


Some bereaved feel they have lost direction in life. Their fundamental values and beliefs may be challenged. The bereaved person search for meaning in their loss. With the passing of time new beliefs may be adopted or old ones modified to take into account the fragility of life and the limits there are to what one can control. The bereaved person’s goals in life may change as they adapt to a world without their beloved.


J.W. Worden (2009) Grief Counseling and Grief Therapy. Springer Publishing Company: New York.


Thus, adjustments following loss of a loved one are wide-ranging and there are many challenges to be faced. If you are struggling and need support

CALL VIVIENNE NOW:  0478 783 506  or  9943 2400 for a free 10 minute consultation or to make  a booking for individual counselling.

Suffering anxiety? Finding peace.


The kind of relaxation that makes a significant difference in anxiety management is the regular, daily practice of some form of deep relaxation.

If you are in a state of deep relaxation then your body’s physiological state is the opposite of what it is when you are stressed, very anxious or having a panic attack. For example, in deep relaxation your heart rate decreases,  there is a decrease in skeletal muscle tension and your breathing deepens.

Regular practice of deep relaxation for 20-30 minutes each day can lead to you feeling more relaxed, more of the time. Regularity and persistence are important. Deep relaxation can reduce generalized anxiety and the severity of panic attacks.

One technique that can be included in an anxiety management plan is visualizing yourself in a peaceful scene. The example used here is a seaside beach scene. Visualization is best done after a muscular relaxation session e.g “progressive muscular relaxation” or “passive muscular relaxation”.

Relaxation: Progressive Muscle Relaxation

anxiety management

Here is an example of being immersed in a peaceful scene:

You are walking alone along a beautiful beach. There is no-one else in sight. Ahead of you there is a long stretch of white sand and the sea is a beautiful turquoise. You are walking barefoot near the water’s edge and can feel the hard sand under your feet. You hear the sounds of seagulls and the sound of the waves as they break.  The sun feels warm on your skin as you breathe in the fresh salty air. You walk to the water’s edge and feel the temperature of the water with your fingers; it feels icy cold. A wave washes over your feet and the you feel the cold water splash onto your legs. Out to sea there is a white-sailed yacht and you watch it for a moment. You walk away from the water and onto soft sand. As you sit, the sand feels warm. You pick up some sand and let it run between your fingers. You lay down on the sand and close your eyes. With the sound of the waves breaking, the ebb and flow lulls you into a very calm state.

anxiety management

You can design your own visualization. Notice that the language used involves reference to the  senses: sight, hearing, touch and smell. You do not have to stay with what is realistic; your special place may be complete fantasy!

Another idea:


Forest Visualization Script:

anxiety management


If you would like to learn more about anxiety management CALL VIVIENNE NOW FOR A FREE 10 MINUTE CONSULTATION.
Mob. 0478 783 506
Tel.   9943 2400

Anxiety support group: benefits for participants

VIVIENNE’S ANXIETY SUPPORT GROUPS: benefits for participants

The benefits of being a member of a support group are numerous. Here we are concentrating on the help participants can offer one another and the sense of hope individuals can gain. support group

If you join an anxiety support group led by Vivienne you will participate in 10 weekly sessions with the same members each week. Regular participation is important because trust between members must develop; this will happen as members disclose their thoughts, emotions and ideas with the group providing acceptance and support. Gradually members feel sufficiently secure within the support group to be honest and open about their feelings and challenges. Members expose their vulnerabilities. Bonds are built that keep a group of members together as a whole with a sense of “we-ness”. Support groups generate a sense of belonging and caring.

Support groups provide opportunities for members to understand and help their peers. Members witness the struggles and pain of others with similar problems to their own. In helping others, members can develop self-esteem, self-insight and better interpersonal communication.

Another benefit of being a member of a support group is the power such a group has to instill hope. New members may be demoralized and be feeling alone, helpless and hopeless. Vivienne remembers one young woman with social anxiety who was full of fear to start with; gradually her group participation increased and her courage to make changes in her life grew. Finally she was ready to return to her studies. Through support group participation members can develop the ideas that it is possible to change and also to influence the cause of one’s problems. This may come about by seeing other support group members change for the better through group participation.

To enquire about joining an anxiety support group CALL VIVIENNE NOW 0478 783 506   or    9943 2400