Virginia Beach therapist talks about coping with less-than-pleasant vacation situations

Virginia Beach, Virginia. The holidays are here, but for some it’s not always a joyous time for a variety of reasons: grief over the loss of a loved one, a recent divorce or separation from a service member overseas.

Local therapist Michael Scott, a licensed professional counselor with Thriveworks, said this time of year can be tough.

“There are all kinds of emotions during the holidays. There are memorable events, there are family-related events, and those things can be difficult when a family is torn apart by death,” Scott said. “The hard emotions, sadness, painful memories associated with the holidays, those can be dealt with through conversation, those can be dealt with through journaling, etc. I would say honor the sadness in some way. So when I say honor them When, I mean, let’s feel the permission or grace we give ourselves to feel the heaviness. Sometimes, when we start to feel the heaviness, we find ourselves worrying about whether we’ll be able to get out of it? This will happen in ways that I can’t stand Does it continue? When these things happen, I believe those are the times to seek support, to seek help.”


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Scott says it’s unhealthy to pretend everything is fine when we don’t feel good.

“Sometimes when we put up these facades, when we put on a facade, it can make people feel lonely inside. It can undermine your ability to be authentic to the people you care about most. Give it attention, do something with it Be helpful instead of ignoring it,” Scott said.

I asked Scott, how do we approach festive family traditions when dealing with grief or loss?

“Recognizing that this is a tradition that is different now in some way if a loved one is absent for some reason, death or deployment or whatever, people recognize that this tradition has been there in some way,” Scott said. degree has changed.” “I like to stress the value of purposefully changing a tradition so that we’re not trying to recreate a tradition that can’t be recreated. But recognizing that if we change a tradition in some way, if we Adding to it or making it unique in the face of new situations allows us to recognize that we are trying to honor the missing.”

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How to keep the peace and set boundaries during holiday family visits

“As we try to help someone who is going through grief and trying to wrap up the entire holiday experience, we need to be vigilant and sensitive, looking for clues that invite you to try harder or give up,” Scott added. If you find yourself struggling in this way. Judge their sadness in some way, and that’s a sign that you need to take a step back. I think it’s important to realize that every grieving process is different. ”

Scott has a warning for those who are on the other end of the grief spectrum and are determined to stay busy rather than dwell on their loss: “It’s a coping mechanism that sometimes works, but other times it’s just counterproductive.” Just in. On the way,” he said.

Scott said there are times when counseling should be considered.

“Whenever I meet someone who is suffering from some kind of pain or hurt in some way, I recognize from the beginning that therapy can be a helpful thing,” Scott said.

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But what’s a good way to suggest that someone needs treatment? Scott admits it might not be easy.

“While someone might take offense to it, which is certainly reasonable, especially given its stigma, at least the topic has been broken down. It can be a passive one: drop a seed and hope it grows. It It can be a group effort, ‘Hey family, I dropped a seed,'” he said. “If it comes from a place of ‘I care,’ and that person receives ‘I care,’ that’s great, and maybe that seed The seed will grow. If it comes from a place of judgment, it will be rejected. Now, if they are suffering in silence and you are worried that they might go to a darker place or consider suicide or harm themselves in some way , when do we draw the line between the two? [hanging] Come back and be passive? Or, at what point do we enforce it? What I’m trying to say is that right now you do have concerns, and that concerns are genuine. “

Scott emphasized that part of that fight is removing the stigma of getting treatment and being transparent. If you need family counseling or any type of therapy, you can click here to get more information about Thriveworks.

Another important reminder is that the suicide and crisis lifeline is 988.

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