Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thursday's Therapy - 25 Major Cognitive Reactions After Your Child's Traumatic Death ~by Therese A. Rando, Ph.D.

Thursday's Therapy

25 Major Cognitive Reactions After

Your Child's Traumatic Death

~by Therese A. Rando, Ph.D., BCETS, BCBT

What are Some of the Major Reactions We Might Expect After the Traumatic Distress of our Child-Loss?

As we discussed two weeks ago, over these few weeks, we will walk through many of the myriad ways that Child-Loss grief and mourning may be impacting you. Since we are multi-dimensional people, grief and trauma will impact us multi-dimensionally! As you probably have observed by now, grief is not the one-dimensional creature we thought it was before we began going through child-loss. Unfortunately, those around us still may think of our grief as one-dimensional and therefore fairly easily worked through. So when the expectations around you begin to feel "crazy-making" to you, perhaps you can pull out these lists to remind yourself why this grief is so complicated and therefore so long-term!

The dimensions we will cover are as follows (Five of these are covered by Dr. Rando's research, the sixth will be covered by that which Tommy and I have observed.):

  • Psychological
  • Cognitive/Mental
  • Behavioral
  • Social
  • Physical
  • Spiritual

Since each of these Dimensions of our Grief entails myriad symptoms, we will address one dimension of Child-Loss Grief each week. Two weeks ago, we covered the Psychological Dimension of Child-Loss Grief due to our coping with both Trauma and Loss. {Last week, we took a hiatus to address the current news about the DSM-V and how it impacts the bereaved.} Tonight, we will cover the Cognitive/Mental Dimension of Child-Loss Grief and Trauma.

25 Major Cognitive Reactions After Your Child's Traumatic Death

  1. Forgetfulness
  2. Confusion, bewilderment
  3. Impaired mental functioning
  4. Shattered beliefs
  5. Shattered meaning
  6. Disbelief
  7. Loss of interest in former interests
  8. Avoidance of stimuli perceived as toxic or painful
  9. Disorganization, distractibility
  10. Preoccupation with the loved one and/or the death
  11. Uncertainty, lack of clarity
  12. Inability to remember aspects of events around the death
  13. Impaired concentration, comprehension, mental functioning, memory, problem solving and decision-making
  14. Re-experiencing of aspects of events around the death, intrusive thoughts and images, dreams, feeling as if aspects of events around the death were recurring (also includes flashbacks)
  15. Shattered assumptive world; cognitive dissonance, changes in the way you think about yourself, the world, others, life, spiritual beliefs
  16. Meaninglessness, senselessness, disillusionment, aimlessness
  17. Lowered self esteem, feelings of inadequacy
  18. Denial
  19. Negative thinking, pessimism
  20. Diminished self-concern
  21. Decreased interest, motivation, initiative, direction
  22. Survival losing its appeal (such as loss of interest in life, eating, the future)
  23. Nightmares
  24. Obsessions
  25. Ruminations

Rando (In Print, 2011)

From lecture of Therese A. Rando, Ph.D, BCETS, BCBT July 9-10, 2010 in "Clinical Interventions in Grief and Mourning," and "Intervening After Sudden and Traumatic Death: Contending with a Special Type of Complicated Mourning," used with permission of the author


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