Grief Therapists Bellevue WA
Mark Liu, M.A., LMFT
|Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist|
|12826 SE 40th Lane Suite 100|
Bellevue, WA 98006
(425) 449-8851 ext 104
Practice Areas and Specialties
- Depression Counseling
- Individual Counseling
- Bi-cultural Adolescents (Specialty)
- Grief and Life Transition (Specialty)
- Parenting Coaching for Bicultural Immigrant Families (Specialty)
- Couples / Marriage Counseling and Interracial Marriage Counseling (Specialty)
- AD/HD and Associated Psychosocial Issues
- Anxiety Counseling
“Years ago, in my journal, I (Mark) wrote “Everything comes to an end. However, I never had expected that “everything coming to an end” came to me so suddenly and so soon, catching me totally unguarded” when my wife passed away in 1996. I further wrote, “Loss of my wife feels like being cut in half.” My whole world instantly shattered, and I felt like a walking dead because of that cruel fact. To this day, while I look the same in the eyes of those around me, I know that forever I have become a different person within.
Being a Christian, I am hopeful in the sense of knowing that I have a heavenly eternal home with God; I will be joining my wife there, where there will be “no more death or mourning or crying or pain.” However, this hope does not exempt me from the pain of losing her.
For people who have suffered the loss of a loved one (such as a spouse, parent, sibling, child, or baby through miscarriage or stillbirth, etc.) suffer unbearably and simultaneously in the mind, body and spirit domains, which almost always represents a massive threat to existence of our identities. People who suffer such significant loss often describe that experience as “a big hole that cannot be mended.” Unfortunately, the experiences and painful grieving often is not understood and inadequately supported, although unintentionally, by their friends and even family members. The encouragement in terms of positive thinking, for example, as offered by friends or family members to people who cry out “How can I live with my loss?” in despair actually cause grieving people to respond with more withdrawal and deeper despair.
With an understanding of grief from both a personal and professional perspective, in a group setting, I provide and facilitate Christian-based gentle witness and support in body, mind and spirit domains as well as guidance in exploring different meanings and coping strategies in the midst of suffering along a journey that you may have never visited before. „
Marjorie E. Lorenz, M.A., LMHC
|Licensed Mental Health Counselor|
|12826 SE 40th Lane Suite 100|
Bellevue, WA 98006
(425) 449-8851 ext 106
Practice Areas and Specialties
- Adult and Older Adult Individual Counseling
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Grief and Loss
- Life Transitions
- Women’s Issues
- Men’s Issues
- Death and Dying
- Sexual Abuse/ Incest
- Physical and Emotional Abuse
- Stress Management and Stress Related Concerns
- Relational Difficulties
- Impaired Self-Care
- Bereavement and Divorce
- Communication Difficulties
“Throughout our lifespan all of us are faced with the challenge of having to work through the process of grieving different types of losses and the emotional aftermath, which comes with them. There are many sources of loss we might face over a lifetime: a divorce, a death of a loved one or a pet, job loss, retirement, a loss of safety after a trauma, you or your loved one’s illness, having a miscarriage, a loss of financial stability, and/or a loss of a dream.
Grieving a loss is a very personal endeavor. Each person is unique and how they may go through the grief and loss process is influenced by their personality, the coping strategy’s they possess, life experiences, faith, social network, and the type of loss they are negotiating. Grief and mourning are often more complex and intense when the loss is more significant to the individual.
Psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross developed a model describing the five stages of the grief and loss process in the late 1960’s. Her five stages included: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Her model serves as a guide to the grief and mourning process. Not everyone will go through all of these stages, there is no particular order for going through them, nor is there a set time table to this process (https://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kubler-Ross_ model).
Denial is a defense mechanism, which mediates the shock associated with the loss. It is used to help a person cope with the first wave of painful emotions (https://www.psychcentral.com/lib/the-5-stages-of-loss-and-grief/000617). Shutting out the reality of what has happened is done by creating a false one such as: “He is not really dead.” “She’s gone on a trip and will be back”.
Anger can be directed at the self, the loved one that has died or left in the case of a break up or divorce, others in the family, a physician, at God or one’s higher power, or the world at large. The questions in this phase may be “Why me”? “Who is to blame?”
When a person is faced with the emotional pain of a loss, it is not uncommon for that individual to feel a loss of control leading to feelings of vulnerability(https://www.psychcentral.com/lib/the-5-stages-of-loss-and-grief/000617). Bargaining thoughts can look like, “I will go to church every day if you let him live” or “I will give my wealth away if she comes back to me”. Bargaining is another defensive strategy to help create a sense of control.
Depression may be experienced with the development of feelings of guilt, regret, sadness, loneliness, fearfulness, self-pity, emptiness, and uncertainty. A person may withdraw from family and friends, experience fatigue, develop sleep and/or eating disturbances, cry a lot, and develop aches and pains. Another aspect of experiencing depression during a grief and loss process is the impact it can have on one’s immune functioning.
Grief and loss trigger the body’s stress response also known as the “fight or flight” response. This system in the body will have an immediate effect on a person’s autonomic nervous system by releasing adrenaline and corticosteroids (https://www.mayoclinic.org/health/stress). Adrenaline increases your heart rate and blood pressure. Corticosteroids increases blood sugar levels to help you ready for flight or flight. The nature of the grief process is a long-term stress on a person’s wellbeing. Over time, increased stress hormone levels lead to more susceptibility to the common cold, they drain energy causing fatigue, and with higher blood sugar levels one’s genetic predisposition to type II diabetes may be impacted. This is important to keep in mind when the mourning process is protracted.
Resolving the grief and loss process comes with the development of a sense of acceptance for what has happened. Acceptance does not mean you are “cured” or you are “alright”. It is more a sense that you are able to face life again with engagement and presence.
What can you do to help yourself through the grief and loss process? First of all, using your social support system is a vital strategy to utilize. Letting others know about your pain can help decrease your feelings of isolation. Friends and family can listen, offer comfort and support, help with practical issues like buying food and making meals, help with funeral arrangements, and be present with you as you begin to sort out your feelings. Support groups for grief and loss are another way you can get support for the task of grieving.
Secondly, attending to your self-care is essential. Facing your feelings and learning to express them helps with moving through this process. You should honor your experiences and not left others dictate how you cope with loss. Journal writing is a good way to identify what you’re feeling and put a label to them. Attending to rest, getting good nutrition, and exercise helps your body cope with the stress response your body is in.
Thirdly, preparing for anniversary events is important. You might cycle through more intense emotional reactions as you hit the one month date of your loss, at one year, or when you visit places or engage in activities unique to your relational history with the person you were close with.
Lastly, it is important to know when to seek out professional help such as counseling. Many individuals have reservations about talking about their feelings with others especially with their friends of families. Counseling can provide a safe and confidential relationship for you to sort out your feelings, identify and learn coping strategies, and have someone to witness your suffering.
Seeking out a counselor may be an important decision to consider if you find yourself experiencing “complicated grief”. The symptoms of complicated grief are:
Difficulty accepting and adjusting to the loss after six months or so
Loss of function in work, activities of daily living, and/or interpersonal functioning
Intense longing for the person or thing you lost
Denial, disbelief the person is gone
Extreme bitterness and anger about the loss
Avoidance of reminders of the person or thing that was lost
Alcohol or other Drug Abuse
Searching for the lost person
Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts
The above signs of complicated grief mimic severe depression (Complicated grief Symptoms). However, the focus of the person’s thought processes and behaviors is on the person or thing, which has been lost.
As a counselor, I know that dealing with complicated grief is a very personal and unique experience to negotiate. I am honored when the individuals I work with commit themselves to the grief and loss process. I see my role as a counselor as being a companion and a resource for my clients. I work to create an environment that is respectful, confidential, safe, and welcoming. As a person, I embrace a Christian worldview and bring a kind, compassionate, and caring stance to my work. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss your concerns and answer any questions you might have about grief and loss. „