The End of Grief
Dr. Robert Dee McDonald
After reading the article by Ashley Davis Bush, LCSW, Grief Has No Closure (Fortunately) in The Huffington Post, I felt somewhat shocked and dismayed, because I still allow myself to be surprised by the fact that people who sincerely desire to help heal wounded hearts remain uninformed.
I have no doubt whatsoever that Ms. Bush truly means well. Her positive intentions certainly include a genuine desire to bring acceptance and inner peace to her readers.
Unfortunately, her article suggests that she has never personally experienced the fullness of peace, joy and love that blossoms in the hearts of people, worldwide, who have fully resolved grief. The complete and healthy end of grief is apparently unknown to her and her teachers. Clearly, the ability to resolve grief is not part of her skill set, and given the state of today's education, it is unlikely to become so.
She is not alone. The worldwide psychotherapeutic community, LCSWs, MFTs, LPCs, Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Life Coaches, etc., remains uninformed about the source of grief. Nonetheless, this heartfelt community of the compassionate is doing the best it can. Lack of caring is not the problem. In fact, lack of education is not the problem. Certainly, lack of theory is not the problem. Caring, education and theories exist in abundance. Ms. Bush's article is evidence of this fact.
The problem is a lack of direct experience with one's own mind and emotions.
More than thirty years ago, I wrote my Master's Thesis (Counseling and Mental Health) on unresolved grief reactions in survivors of suicide. At that time, no one in the professional psychotherapeutic community could imagine that grief over the loss of a loved one could be resolved in one session. Neither could I.
But that was before Steve and Connirae Andreas used their genius for exploring and understanding the intricacies of the human mind to discover the representational source of grief. In 1985, they created a step-by-step, reliable method to fully resolve grief and restore an authentic sense of peace, joy and love. They told me about it.
Naturally, I didn't believe a word of it.
But I still had a decision to make: Ignore their outlandish claims vs investigate their outlandish claims. If I completely ignored what they said, I would remain certain that my traditional education was enough. If I thoroughly investigated what they said, I would know first hand that either their claims were rubbish (then I could reveal the sham), or their claims were accurate (and I could more effectively get on with my life's work).
Fortunately, I suspended my disbelief, pride, and experiential limitations long enough to learn from them.
Now, nearly thirty years later, I have this to report: I have helped thousands of people around the world ~ China, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Finland, Denmark, Hungary, England, Scotland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Austria, USA, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Switzerland ~ to resolve unnecessary suffering. I have helped people resolve their grief in private sessions and in groups of more than a hundred people at a time. My skill set says nothing about me other than my willingness to learn, to step outside the box of my traditional education. Any therapist or life coach can duplicate what I've done.
Also, my ability to help people resolve grief is not an indication that I have had no personal experience of loss and grief. On the contrary, my personal losses include my father and nephew, by suicide, two sisters and a brother, when I was a child and they were babies, my mother, at 85, my grandmothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, dear friends and colleagues, and more. I missed them and felt grief over their absence until I resolved it, one at a time. Now, when I think of them I feel happy, connected, peaceful and loving. I do not miss them because I experience them as with me. To me, they are not lost and gone and in the past. Each one is with me now, as present in my life as a loved one who has just stepped into the next room.
In May of 2012, in my class on the end of grief, the father of a recently deceased 10 year-old girl blessed everyone there by his desire to resolve his shock and grief. Seven of his family members were also present. They were there to express their profound sorrow and to support him in whatever way they could. He felt safe enough to feel his feelings and remain open to resolving them. He sincerely explored the content and structure of his thoughts, ideas, beliefs, and memories of his daughter. After following my instructions for about 30 minutes, he reported that he no longer felt shock and pain when he thought of the circumstances surrounding his daughter's death and burial. An hour later, he reported that he was enjoying feeling his daughter's presence in the same way he enjoys feeling the presence of his grandfather, who had passed away many years ago. Several hours later, over dinner, he described his continuing peace of mind as a miracle. His family members were equally amazed and relieved.
During that class, the grandfather of the little girl was present and witnessed his son's transformation. He called me two weeks after the class to report that his son continues to honor his daughter by thinking of her with happiness in his heart, and he, the girl's grandfather, feels completely resolved and at peace as well.
Objections to ending grief are not uncommon. Even though grief can be healthily resolved, not everyone wants to feel better. Some people regard the end of grief as a kind of betrayal of the loved one, thinking something like, "If I feel good when I think of (him or her), doesn't that mean that I didn't really love (him or her)?" Others want to keep grieving as a way to demonstrate family loyalty. But most people continue to grieve for two reasons: They have not received the gift of suffering, which is universally known to be compassion. And, not having access to anyone who knows how to help them, they simply don't believe it is possible to feel good again.
What happens when someone sincerely wants to resolve grief? Currently, that person is told that grief is lifelong. Ms. Bush, LCSW, tells us that when grief ends, love ends and the end of love means the end of life. Although well intended, hers is a prescription for a life of unnecessary suffering.
What is the nature of the human mind? How does it create emotions like grief? How specifically can we use our minds to healthily resolve grief? These questions were asked and answered thirty years ago.
If we, the therapeutic community, do not demand a complete understanding of the representational nature of the mind and its power to thoroughly heal wounded hearts, that is, if we do not insist on having a 21st Century skill set, our educational institutions will have no impetus to improve, and people will continue to suffer unnecessarily.