Laurie Sloane   Licensed Clinical Social Worker

psychotherapist-nyc-college-children-young-adults-veterans-counseling-1Over the past 30 years, a combination of diverse professional experiences and extensive training have made me the therapist I am today. In addition to a Master’s Degree in Social Work, I have participated in continuing education courses and seminars to ensure that I am incorporating the latest in psychoanalysis into treatment plans.

I joined the faculty of the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Study Center (PPSC), a post-graduate training institute, and served as the Executive Director for 10 years. During my tenure, I taught and supervised candidates, developed an internship program for graduate students, and worked to establish guidelines for training and licensure in New York.  My expertise is broad and far-reaching.


Current Areas of Specialty

Therapy for Young Adults

Of late, more attention has been focused on the well-being of anxious, depressed and suicidal students on college campuses. I have worked with many students trying to adjust to life away from home. The social and academic pressures of college can bring about the emergence of major mental illness and addiction that needs to be addressed with the proper treatment. In addition to individual sessions, I also offer group treatment to college students and young adults.

Therapy for Women of All Ages

I have extensive experience in counseling women of all ages who suffer from eating disorders. Today, there are a variety of treatments available; I’m able to help navigate through the options and figure out which will work best on a case by case basis.

As baby boomers are aging, they are learning that menopause no longer spells the end. Life after 65 continues to be an important, yet often overlooked part of adult development. I’m able to offer support in either individual or group therapy sessions for women navigating midlife and beyond.

Therapy for Veterans

I am affiliated with Here to Help Military and Families, a Long Island group that offers free counseling to returning veterans and their families. I offer a holistic approach to treatment; for both veterans returning from combat, suffering from the effects of trauma and PTSD, as well as their families, who are struggling to understand how difficult reentry into civilian life can be.

What Can You Gain from Therapy?

Connection to others

Over the past 30 years, I’ve learned a lot about relationships and the value in sharing our thoughts and feelings with friends and partners. Knowing we are being listened to, valued and understood is crucial to emotional wellbeing.

Hope for the future

Therapy is a process. Though there is often no simple, quick solution, it provides a safe space to explore emotions, thoughts, and actions in an in-depth and meaningful way, to eventually bring about change.

Growth and change

Through continued treatment, therapy can be an incredibly powerful tool in helping to significantly improve your quality of life and outlook.

Call me today at 212-413-7088 for a free 15 minute phone consultation.

Support Group for Midlife Women 50-70 Forming Now

I will be conducting a weekly midlife support group for women 50-70 now and throughout the winter. We will be meeting virtually in the afternoon or evenings depending on everyone’s schedules.

Life changes as women head towards menopause and beyond. These changes are reflected in body and mood fluctuations as well as accompanying shifts in lifestyles and goals for the future. In a safe and supportive atmosphere, women will be able to share their emotional and physical upheaval and develop their unique plan for midlife and beyond.

If you’d like to discuss this further, please feel to reach out to me.

Laurie Sloane

Potential Challenges for Women in Midlife and How to Approach Them

Challenges in Midlife: Do You Find Yourself Asking these Questions?

Wait, what happened to my body? I don’t recognize myself. Why am I so hot? Why do I have wrinkles suddenly? Why is my stomach bigger?

Wait, what happened to myself? Why am I so moody? Why I am so weepy?

Why am I thinking about when I was in high school and college? Why do I have these regrets?

Am I depressed?

I feel old. Am I getting old? How do I handle all this stress: my career, my marriage, my kids, my finances, my parent’s health, and retirement?

groups-midlife-women-menopause-counseling-NYC-2024.jpgThese are some of the questions I hear as women describe perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause. Let’s roughly agree that midlife for women is from 50 to 70 years old. Let’s consider some of the challenges of this period in our lives. As women, we are constantly getting societal messages to look and act young, youthful, thin, to be healthy and fit. We feel pressure to be successful in our careers, as mothers, as partners in romantic relationships, to be daughters to our mothers.

Challenges for Women in Midlife: Redefining the Experience

Can we be perfect and if not, are we failing? Why are we ashamed of our bodies and the changes that are happening to us?

Let’s redefine Midlife. Let’s embrace it! After all, it’s a necessary phase of development, as important as puberty and it’s guaranteed to happen to all of us. I am not trying to look at it through rose-colored glasses, that would be naive and too simplistic! I am not trying to put a positive spin on mind and body experiences that are very complex and often very difficult to understand and accept.


Women deserve to be respected and admired. We are resilient. Menopause is no different! We need to embrace our changing and yes, aging bodies along with our more compassionate sense of self, a more positive and accepting self. There is no shame in our bodies, it is our minds that tell us something different. What if we need to think in terms of healthy habits? What would this look like? Nutrition for the body and mind. Exercise for general wellbeing and for the mind and soul.

Acknowledge the Journey & Consider Options

What if we begin to consider our goals for midlife and how to achieve them. What if we acknowledge where we are and where we’ve come from. To frame our next chapter, we need to recognize our history and how it informs our present lives. These questions have led me to offer groups to midlife women. Connection to others is one of the most powerful tools we can offer each other in searching for answers.

Feel free to contact me if you’re interested in exploring a virtual group or discussing individual treatment.

Wishing you all the best in 2024,


Tel: 212-413-7088

Laurie Sloane Quoted in Article About Dating & Sex for Women over 50

Best therapist NYC Laurie Sloane was recently quoted in an article in Prevention magazine about sex and dating for women over 50.  In the article titled “What it’s like to date after 50, According to real women”, Laurie offers interesting commentary based on her many years of therapy with women in this age group.

Click the link below to read the article:

Contact Laurie

If you are seeking group or individual therapy sessions with Laurie, contact her by phone or email to schedule a consultation or online session.

Laurie Sloane

Midlife and Menopause Group

I will be conducting a weekly midlife and menopause group meeting virtually. Afternoon or evenings depending on everyone’s schedules.

Life changes as women head towards menopause and beyond. These changes are reflected in body and mood fluctuations as well as accompanying shifts in lifestyles and goals for the future. In a safe and supportive atmosphere, women will be able to share their emotional and physical upheaval and develop their unique plan for midlife and beyond.

If you’d like to join the group, please feel to reach out to me.

Laurie Sloane

Press: COVID-19 & The Culture of Touching

Laurie Sloane was quoted in the following article written on InPlace, a project by a group of NYU graduate students. Their mission is to record and comment upon the changes and challenges brought on by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

What Will COVID-19 Change About Our Culture of Touching?

In Ancient Greece, you would expose your hand when you greeted someone to show you didn’t have a weapon. And to really make sure the other person wasn’t hiding a weapon anyway, you would shake their hand to see if anything fell out from up their sleeve. With that simple ritual to prove we were weaponless; the cultural norm of shaking hands was born.

Flash forward some two-thousand years, and the handshake is probably one of the greatest weapons of all. If you asked me last year, I would have shaken a stranger’s hand, no problem. If you asked me back in February of this year, I would have shaken a stranger’s hand and then applied a generous dollop of Purell. In early March, I had my first forearm bump, palms safely tucked in a fist. Now, the thought of touching someone’s hand feels like putting it directly into fire.

As the coronavirus spread to the US, two things I noticed were that I touched my face a lot, and more surprisingly, that we touch each other a lot too.

Anthony Fauci was quoted recently on a podcast saying, “I don’t think we should ever shake hands ever again, to be honest with you.” He believes the death of this societal mannerism would reduce the spread of other diseases aside from coronavirus, including the flu.  In India, people have started returning to simply performing the Namaste gesture instead of shaking hands.  In February, UAE citizens were encouraged not to rub noses while greeting each other. French leadership urged citizens to avoid kissing each other on the cheeks.

Touch is everywhere. It’s in the firm, “please-hire-me” handshake at the start of a job interview. It’s the “peace be with you” ritual at the end of Catholic Mass. It’s the high-five in sports and between friends. It’s the flailing, screaming, teenage girl hug. It’s the palm reader’s source of income.

It’s strange to think that a simple, two-thousand-year-old tradition would be gone in an instant.  Of all the abrupt changes and sacrifices being made, this one seems like something we can accept. But if it feels oddly empty to greet a stranger, a friend, or a coworker without showing some kind of physical interaction, it might be an opportunity to brainstorm a new societal mannerism.  It’s like choosing a new school mascot after hundreds of years of being the “Bears” or “Jaguars”—maybe it’s time to get creative.

Suggestions for alternatives are already floating around on the internet.  A pat on the back, foot taps, the elbow bump. There is a compulsivity about it—that we have to have something to replace the physical ways we acknowledge each other. Instead of just greeting each other verbally, there’s a need to have some kind of touch in place for it to feel okay.

Laurie Sloane, a New York-based therapist of over 30 years, can validate that: “As humans, we’re so driven by contact with each other. Touch is the basis of attachment when we’re born.”

Sloane describes that trauma in itself is “the lack of attachment.” She highlights one of the most blunt and painful ways the lack of contact is affecting society.

“What’s so terrible about this pandemic is that people are dying alone,” she said. “It’s terrible for the person who is dying, and it’s in some ways, even worse for the people who survive, because they can’t have this moment of closure together. They can’t touch, they can’t even communicate.”

Though she notes that there have been instances where healthcare workers have helped patients connect with their loved ones via FaceTime to say goodbye, it’s not enough, and it’s not the same.

Sloane has two therapy practices, one in Manhattan and one in Long Island, where she is currently quarantined with family. As expected, she is now seeing her clients over Zoom. While the technology makes these virtual sessions possible, Sloane can feel the lack of physical presence in her work. In person, Sloane says, she is able to “mirror a person—by mirror, I mean their facial cues, their gestures…matching them to some extent,” she said. “You just don’t have those cues over Zoom. As a therapist I have to work so much harder.” Sloane finds herself nodding and smiling to show that she is engaged with her clients, in ways that wouldn’t be necessary in person. These extra non-verbal cues through Zoom interactions, if anything, are preparing us for a bigger shift in how we interact.

“I think people are going to become much more reserved,” she said. “I think it’s going to take quite a while when this is truly over as a pandemic, for people to rebuild that sense of trust, body to body, and feel comfortable with each other.”

Sloane predicts that while the handshake and other forms of physical greeting won’t disappear entirely, people will have to adapt and strengthen their communication.

“I think they’re going to have to learn by necessity how to convey their point of view, what they’re thinking and feeling in ways that don’t incorporate touch,” she said. “Learning how to mirror people over technology, how to be more consciously impactful, and use words and facial expressions to communicate that.”

COVID-19 has changed our lives so drastically, but one thing we have proven is that no amount of distance will change our need to connect with each other. The real hurdle will be deciding if we can trust each other enough to get within 6 feet of a stranger.

by Sami Roberts

Full Article link:

Couples Therapist

Why do Couples Seek Therapy?

Below are just some of the reasons couples call me for an appointment seeking a couples therapist. Once they come in, many couples discover they are ambivalent about continuing in the marriage or realize they want to work on problem areas and stay together.

Some Reasons Couples Seek out a Therapist:

  • Adjustment to living together
  • Conflicts over in-laws,
  • Money habits of saving and spending
  • Frequency of sex, decreased interest in sex
  • Infidelity
  • Ups and downs of love and longevity in marriage
  • Decision to Divorce or Stay together
  • Uncoupling (transitioning to separation and divorce)
  • Co-parenting after divorce

Sometimes, one partner has been having an affair and needs a safe pla

ce to disclose it.  I’ve worked with couples that decide to stay together after infidelity developing healthier relationships. Of course, lots of couples do not remain in the marriage and work towards divorce.  If enough trust and safety is created in the therapeutic relationship, the couple learns how to communicate their needs and wants more effectively. This often leads to a deeper connection and greater emotional and physical intimacy.

Examples From My Couples Therapy Sessions

Let me give you an example of how showing more vulnerability helped develop more trust in the relationship. Just to be clear, this example is a composite of my experiences, not an actual couple in therapy with me.

Sally and John sat down on the couch next to each with some room between them.

Sally begin by saying they had been married a little over a year, and were fighting constantly but not sure why.  John agreed and added that they were less intimate in and out of bed.

During one of our early sessions, I asked each of them to say what attracted them to one another, in hopes of reminding them of the positive aspects of their connection.

By asking them to simply say what they each felt and listen carefully to one another, this freed them up to be less angry and more trusting in the relationship.

As they learned more about each other’s backgrounds, they developed a more in depth understanding of some their patterns. These including overspending money because of early deprivation resulting in an insecure attachment to the mother, and multiple hospitalizations for a chronic childhood illness, which led to feelings of uncertainty and anxiety in adulthood.

Overtime, they developed more empathy for each and stopped fighting. Instead they listened better to each other and became more respectful and admiring. That’s not to say they didn’t have conflicts, but they learned to how to communicate better when they did have them.

Claims of Favoritism During the Therapy Process

Sometimes one person in the couple will complain the therapist is partial to the other person. It is important to raise this question with the therapist and not be concerned about his or her reaction.  The Therapist is trained to reflect on his or her own experience. It’s called countertransference, which focused on the internal feelings of the therapist.  Sometimes, by bringing this up, a therapist will recognize what is leading to the question and adjust the way they are working, and use it as an opportunity to explore what’s leading to that feeling.

If for example, if a person struggles with sibling rivalry, it might get triggered in the treatment. In reflecting on experiences growing up, it also allows their partner to better understand them.

These are just a few examples of what comes up for couples and therapists in Couples Therapy. As I’ve suggested, it is a very rich and effective way to improve communication and connection.

If you are having relationship issues and think you could benefit from counseling, give me a call today and let’s discuss if you could benefit from couples therapy.

Laurie Sloane, LCSW
211 West 56th Street, Apt 10K
New York, NY 10019

For more information, visit my website:


Midlife for Women in the Modern Day

What is midlife?  Medicine says it’s the period of time when our bodies prepare and enter peri-menopause and then menopause.

Midlife Can be Challenging

During this complex phase of female adult development our perceptions of ourselves change.  We may no longer feel young, we may feel a sense of loss about leaving our first 45 years behind, which includes changes in our physical appearance, our energy levels, our health and our connections to a more youthful robust part our lives.

You may be thinking speak for yourself: in our youth oriented culture we often feel pressure to keep up our youthful appearances. At the same time, we try hard to keep up our health and physical stamina.  Many women report the beginnings of chronic health problems including skin rashes, insomnia, diabetes, chronic fatigue, and heart disease.  These conditions can be debilitating emotionally and physically during these middle years.

They signal to us that we can’t take our health for granted, we are not invincible as we thought we were at 21 or 39.

Before you get completely depressed or stop reading, please keep in mind our resiliency, our hope in the face of adversity and our strength as women in the middle of life. We benefit from the knowledge we have accumulated; we have better coping skills, support systems including friends, family and colleagues. Recently i read that spending a weekend with an old friend can be rejuvenating.

When we don’t have an adequate support system, we seek out connection to others by affiliating with schools, religious organizations, alumni groups, colleagues, book groups, and support groups.

Pondering the Past & Considering the Future

While we think about what we have left behind, we contemplate a richer life in the future.  We may be busy with what life puts in our path, such as elderly parents with health problems or adolescent or adult children with special needs. We are often called the sandwich generation because of all the pulls on our time and emotions. Putting feelings, thoughts and situations in perspective is important to our well being.

Knowing a crisis will pass, a situation with our family is temporary, helps us to endure.

A Therapist Can Help with Midlife Transition

Sometimes we need professional help to address the storm that we find ourselves facing.  Individual therapy and group therapy can be very helpful to address conflicts that reoccur from the past, difficulty coping with relationships and work, and worries about the future. Sometimes we need to think out loud in presence of another person who is trained to listen and help us understand our needs.  Group support and connection can be a very powerful tool during this journey as well.

In contemporary life, the age range of midlife has changed.

In the not to distant past, 35-40 was the start of midlife and by 60; we were considered old and life often ended by 72. Today, with many women in better health, physically and emotionally, and cognitively, we are working longer in the home and in our careers.  We could argue that midlife ranges roughly from 50 to 75.

What do you think? Do you Feel Like You’re in Your Middle Years?

As we age, and move into our late 60’s and 70’s, many women are thinking about the future. Do we want to retire, do we have the finances for it, where do we want to move, what will our health be like in the future, do we want to live near our adult children and grandchildren?

As these questions come into focus and occupy more of your time and thoughts, you are probably moving into the middle years and thinking about your next chapter.

If you are entering midlife and having challenges or anxiety, call me today and let’s schedule an appointment. I have many years of experience counseling other women about life changes and midlife.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Call me today at 212-413-7088 for a free 15 minute phone consultation.

Laurie Sloane, LCSW

Healing from the Past: Working with a Psychotherapist for Trauma and PTSD

Do I need a psychotherapist for trauma and PTSD? Unfortunately, life can present people with difficult circumstances. Sometimes, people face challenges that can even be terrifying and life threatening. You might consider events such as car accidents, muggings, terrorist attacks, and being at war as most obviously fitting within these categories. Being subjected to abuse or neglect as a child might also match. Such events can lead to trauma reactions and even PTSD. To resolve the trauma response, most people will want to see a trained counselor:

Adjustment Disorders

In the face of some life circumstances, some individuals may struggle to adjust. Such circumstance can include many different types of life changes. It could be moving to a new setting, dealing with a new role, or even experiencing a break up. People may notice reactions in themselves as they struggle to adjust. However, those reactions are not necessarily trauma related or diagnosable as PTSD.

A major difference is the circumstances, which in this case are not necessarily terrifying and certainly not life threatening. The reaction is also different. Difficulty with adjustment may result in some anxiety and depression, but not necessarily the same traumatic responses that might be expected to occur following a more serious event. Nonetheless, it can be valuable to seek therapeutic support.

Acute Stress Disorder

Other times, people do face more significant events that lead to more troubling symptoms. If a life-threatening or particularly terrifying event occurs, followed by severe symptoms, then a diagnosis of acute stress disorder might be considered. This diagnosis can be made between 1 week and 30 days after the event. After 30 days, a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder should be considered.

The symptoms that characterize acute stress disorder include intrusive thoughts or memories about the event. This might occur through flashbacks. Such intrusive thoughts and memories can also occur during sleep through nightmares. People may also find themselves becoming hypervigilant—always aware of their environment and the challenges they may face. They may want to avoid certain situations that seem to remind them of the trauma event they occurred. In time, this can be reinforced such that it becomes increasingly difficult for the person to engage in their general daily activities.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

If treated early, acute stress disorder may be resolved and then it will not develop into PTSD. Other times, PTSD does develop as a result of the circumstances faced, the symptoms, and their timeframe. Notably, PTSD symptoms can also emerge some time after the event, in what is called delayed onset.

PTSD can be really difficult to manage. It can affect a person’s daily functioning, their relationships with others, and even their ability to work. Most people who develop PTSD need the support of a therapist to work through the trauma events that are causing this severe reaction. With counseling, they can process what happened, learn to cope with it, and improve their overall well-being. However, it can be a difficult process, so most people would want a therapist who they feel very comfortable with.

Closing Thoughts

Trauma experiences and trauma reactions can be significant problems that alter a person’s mental health and ability to function. If you need help coping with a trauma event, consider seeking the support of a counselor.

Contact Licensed Clinical Social Worker Laurie Sloan today at 212-413-7088 to schedule an appointment for counseling. Laurie can help you heal the pain of your past and improve your life.

Strengthening the Bonds: When to Use a Psychotherapist for Relationship Issues

Do I need a psychotherapist for relationship issues? There is some outdated notion that if a relationship is meant to be, it will easily fall into place. That is not entirely true. Of course, too much struggle is a sign of a problematic relationship that should perhaps not be maintained. However, healthy relationships do require a balance of ease alongside purposeful work intended to build, strengthen, and maintain the relationship over time. Oftentimes, couples elect to use relationship counseling to support the longevity of their relationship.

Counseling for Pre-Marital Preparation

One good time to attend relationship counseling is before you commit into marriage. Shifting from dating to fiancés to a married couple can be a big change. As your relationship status changes and your life shifts accordingly, it can be helpful to talk over all the details in pre-marital counseling.

A relationship counselor can assist an engaged couple in establishing healthy communication patterns, figuring out what their married life will look like, and equip them to deal with anything unexpected that may occur during their lives together. This is a good investment of time to plan for a marriage not just a wedding. Most couples counselors can provide pre-marital counseling if you just request it.

Counseling a Distressed Relationship

Often couples seek out counseling when they are facing some distress in their relationship that may seem to threaten the health or longevity of it. There are many different circumstances that can cause distress in a couples’ relationship. Each couple may experience their own compilation of challenges.

Some couples find they grow apart over time and need assistance growing back together. Some couples face unique difficulties such as a miscarriage or the loss of a child. Others may face difficulties in communication and emotional withdrawal from one another. Still others may face trust issues they need to resolve. It can sometimes be difficult to know how to repair such matters without outside help.

Strengthening Any Committed Relationship

Even still, the choice to attend couples counseling does not necessarily require a big change in the relationship or a significant problem. Many couples choose to attend relationship counseling simply to strengthen their relationship and perhaps to avoid any major relationship problems in the future.

Attending relationship counseling can give a couple the chance to discuss their similarities and differences, their communication styles, and the way those factors could affect their interactions with one another. Couples can learn how to communicate most effectively with each other, how to have healthy disagreements, and how to work through difficult times together rather than drawing apart.

Closing Thoughts

Relationships are not always easy and sometimes a couple needs the assistance of another perspective to help them build a solid foundation, strengthen it over time, and work through any challenges they may face.

If you want to pursue relationship counseling, consider contacting Licensed Clinical Social Worker Laurie Sloan at 212-413-7088 today, to schedule an appointment. With over 30 years of experience in the field, Laurie has helped many couples strengthen their bonds. She can help you too.


Repairing the Rupture: Working with a Psychotherapist for Infidelity

When a relationship has been hit with infidelity, it can rupture the trust between partners, and entirely change their dynamic from that point forward. Many couples may find themselves entirely uncertain about how to repair the situation, and seek the help of a psychotherapist for infidelity issues. Further, each partner may also be struggling with their own reactions. After an affair, especially if a couple wants to repair the relationship, they may find it helpful to work with a psychotherapist. Learn more about the repercussions of infidelity and how a therapist can help:

Working with a Psychotherapist for Infidelity

Effects of Infidelity for the Betrayed

When you think about the repercussions of infidelity, whether it may be a one-night stand or a long-term affair, you might most often think about the effects it would have on the betrayed partner. Indeed, that is the person in the union that most people would feel most sympathetic towards.

Similarly, the betrayed partner will have many reactions including feeling deceived or lied to and a sense that trust was betrayed. These reactions could also cause anxiety and sadness. In some cases, the betrayed may even feel a sense of low self-esteem or low self-worth in the wake of an affair. This partner may find counseling helpful to help them cope with what happened and the resulting reactions.

Effects of Infidelity for the Unfaithful

Although most people might initially feel most sympathetic towards the betrayed partner in a union, the unfaithful partner (that is the one who committed infidelity) might also be dealing with many different reactions. They may be feeling guilt or shame and they may experience their own self-deprecating thoughts regarding their actions. Depending on the prospects of resolution, they may also be depressed.

Further, the unfaithful partner may have already been dealing with something that led to their affair. It could have been that they were feeling unfulfilled in the relationship or alienated in some way. This is not to excuse their behavior; however, it is another component that may need to be addressed to resolve the situation. Therapy can help with both the pre-existing problems and the resulting reactions.

Effects of Infidelity for the Relationship

Of course, not only each partner will be affected by infidelity, but the relationship as a whole will also be altered. It is for this reason that many couples find it necessary to seek couples counseling after an affair has occurred. Relationship counseling can help a couple to work through what has happened and help them to identify what steps they want to take next for their relationship.

In some cases, partners may want to repair the rupture that occurred and certainly couples counseling can help with that. In other cases, the partners may find it impossible or prefer not to repair the relationship. A couples therapist can also assist partners in reaching an amicable end to the relationship.

Closing Thoughts

Infidelity can have a big impact on a relationship and the partners involved. It is not easy for couples to repair the rupture, especially without outside help. If your relationship has been affected by infidelity consider working with a counselor.

Contact experienced relationship therapist and Licensed Clinical Social Worker Laurie Sloan at 212-413-7088 to schedule an appointment for relationship counseling.

For more information please visit my main website :

The Sadness of Saying Goodbye: When to See a Psychotherapist for Grief

Do you need to see a psychotherapist for grief? Loss is an inevitable and difficult part of life. It can occur in many forms. Most commonly it occurs through the death of a loved one. Other times it can be the loss of a pet, a place, or part of one’s self. The resulting reaction is typically called grief and it can be complicated. Today’s world may say that you should be able to work through that grief and move on in a matter of weeks. However, that is not always possible. Sometimes, you may need help through therapy to cope with a loss. Learn more:

Typical Grief Response

An incidence of grief usually starts after learning of some loss. You may have heard that people typically go through certain responses during the grief process. Some research says that people go through stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

  • Denial encapsulates the initial response of wanting to believe the loss is not true.
  • Once the denial dissipates, people may feel anger at the perceived cause of the loss.
  • Bargaining includes attempts to resolve the situation (such as asking a higher power for help).
  • Depression often occurs when the person loses any hope of resolution.
  • Acceptance happens once the person comes to terms with the situation.

While this sounds like a difficult process, it is also conveyed as simply a series of stages you must get through before the grief will resolve. However, grief is more complex than that and many people do not simply follow these stages. They may cycle back to previous stages or never reach acceptance.

Further, grief can contain many more emotions than anger and depression. Depending on the situation, you might experience several complex emotions simultaneously. For example, perhaps you lost someone, but they were suffering and in pain, so you feel sad but relieved.

There is a lot that can occur in a “normal” or “typical” grief response. Many people find it helpful to seek support in processing through their grief. It can be nice to have a counselor available who will listen and guide you through the process no matter what stage you are in or what specific reaction you have.

Unexpected Grief Reactions

Historically, grief was typically given more time and tradition. People were in mourning for an extended period. They wore black so that the world around them knew they were grieving. This was not to mark them in a negative way, instead it honored the gravity of their loss.

In today’s culture, there is not a lot of time or tradition given to grieving. Sure, there will be a funeral if you lose a person. But many workplaces expect people to return to work in a matter of weeks. The loss of a pet may garner too little sympathy. If you lose something more ambiguous such as a home to a fire or a career path you had planned, then you might be grieving without others recognizing.

In any of these cases, people can experience grief that may be more difficult to resolve. Sometimes there may be intense anxiety (such as being afraid of separation from loved ones for fear they may die too) or intense depression that does not resolve (and instead starts to impair daily functioning.

In these situations, counseling can become imperative. Counselors are trained to assist people with complicated bereavement processes. Therapists can also help you to resolve any anxiety and depression that may have grown out of your grief reaction.

Closing Thoughts

Grief can be complex and sometimes people require additional support to work through it. If you find that you need support to process your grief and return to the business of living, consider seeking the support of a counselor.

Contact Licensed Clinical Social Worker Laurie Sloan today at 212-413-7088 to schedule an appointment, she can help guide you through the bereavement process.

For more information, please visit my main website at:

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