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Grief Recovery

 

What is Grief?
What is Grief Recovery?
General Description of a Grief Recovery Workshop
Workshop Leaders
Upcoming Workshops
Awards/Testimonials
Articles
Contact Us

 

What is Grief?

Our society tends to define "grief" narrowly. The word is mentioned most often in relation to the death of a loved one or a friend. It is also acceptable to grieve after a divorce or the loss of a relationship. These are big events that cause much pain, and everyone understands the impact that they have. But what about the less acknowledged losses that are personal to us, that no one else may even know about? What about the hurts inflicted (either once or over the course of time) by school yard bullies, an emotionally absent parent or a friend that no longer talks to us? What about a dream that was taken away by a misguided parent, a move to another state or the death of a pet when we were young? We all have experienced many hurts and losses throughout our life, and our society's message is to just move on. Moving on can't occur until the stored grief is addressed and resolved and/or completed, thereby changing our "relationship to" it.

Grief is a normal and natural human reaction to a change in circumstances or expectations that deny the heart's longing in a specific way. Grief is wanting something to be different, better, or more. It is processed in the heart, not in the head.

Because our society tends to sweep grief under the carpet, we store a lifetime of losses in our bodies and our psyches. When we then experience a loss sanctioned by society (a death or divorce), the emotion from all of the other unresolved griefs can come spilling out. We experience intense feelings from both the immediate loss and our past losses……….. and we still don't know what to do with it.

 

What is Grief Recovery?

Grief recovery is not the same as grief counseling. Grief counseling, while it provides some help, is talk-based and can be long-term. Its focus is the expression of feelings. Grief recovery focuses on the resolution of relationships and events that have caused us pain. It provides specific processes and tools that can be used to resolve any past, present and future losses. It leads to completion and transformation. It requires honesty and a willingness on our part to work with the relationships and events in our past that hold us back and keep us from living our lives fully in the present.

When we look at all of the losses in our lifetime, we are able to identify patterns that repeat themselves and have become the major issues with which we struggle. When a similar event triggers a memory of a past unresolved grief, we react automatically based on our unconscious feelings about the original event. Sometimes, we even overreact to the current trigger because there is so much stored emotion of which we are unaware. Grief recovery can teach us to recognize when and why we are reacting and to choose to respond in a more appropriate way, instead.

Despite what we are taught by society, time alone does not remove the griefs that we all hold. Instead, what is needed is a way to transform grief by changing our relationship to the people and events that still cause pain. Grief is not transformed until we realize what we ourselves can do. The Grief Recovery Workshop provides tools to assist in this process - tools that can help heal both past and future griefs. We cannot change the events of the past or eliminate the sadness associated with those events, but we can work with them, so that they are no longer debilitating or informing our behaviors and thoughts in a way that does not serve us.

 

General Description of a Grief Recovery Workshop

The Grief Recovery Workshop consists of several elements, all interwoven over the course of the three days. There are periods of lecture, much discussion and sharing, personal exercises to identify past griefs and to illustrate the tools taught for grief recovery, and finally, a symbolic piece of work that takes the healing to a deeper level.

Participants need to commit to all three days and to doing some homework each evening. The personal homework is then used the following day to move through the teaching and healing process. The workshop follows a planned progression over the three days, and each participant receives not only specialized attention over the course of the workshop, but also the tools necessary to continue working with past and future griefs.

The workshops are deep, personal and healing for all involved. Participants often experience a new level of understanding and compassion -- for themselves, for others and for humankind.

 


Workshop Leaders:
Terry and Rose Stout

Terry and Rose Stout live in Durango, Colorado and offer the Grief Recovery Workshop as a couple. They met in 1984, when Rose's mother had cancer. Terry was a facilitator of a support group for people with life-threatening illnesses, and Rose's mother was in his group. After her mother's death, Rose volunteered for the same organization. Friends for 18 years before they were married in 2002, they bring the uniqueness of their individual and combined spirits to this work.

Terry has a Doctorate of Metaphysical Science in Psychology, two master's degrees, and licenses/certifications as a Clinical Hypnotherapist, Marriage and Family Therapist, Pastoral Psychologist, Grief Recovery Specialist and EMDR Practitioner. He has been in private practice as a Psychotherapist for over thirty-five years. As part of his internship for his master's degree, he worked with people who had life-threatening illnesses and continued working with them for over twelve years. Working with the dying and their families brought him in direct contact with the realities beyond physical experience. Those with life-threatening illnesses he calls his greatest teachers. The experience of his daughter's death took him beyond grief counseling to Grief Recovery, for which he has developed a passion. He has learned in private practice that unresolved grief is something we all carry. In recent years, he served for two years as a Hospice chaplain.

Rose trained as a Massage Therapist and Healing Therapy practitioner and is certified in both modalities. In the 1980's, she co-facilitated support groups for the families and friends of people with life-threatening illnesses and also co-facilitated quarterly Loss and Grief Workshops.

Terry and Rose not only present the Grief Recovery Workshop, they also participate. They bring to these workshops their professional knowledge, their previous experience in working with the dying and their families, their first-hand personal knowledge of the grief process, and their kind and gentle spirits. Together, they create a loving space for those who want to do the personal work necessary to move on in their lives.

 

Upcoming Workshops       

Durango, Colorado
February 19 - February 21, 2022
Venue: Hokseda Office
Wildcat Canyon Rd. (Durango) - Directions upon Registration
Times: 10 am - 6 pm (each day)
Cost: $300 per person (or $450 per couple or 2 family members)
         (includes two lunches; installments accepted)

Durango, Colorado
April 9 - April 11, 2022
Venue: Hokseda Office
Wildcat Canyon Rd. (Durango) - Directions upon Registration
Times: 10 am - 6 pm (each day)
Cost: $300 per person (or $450 per couple or 2 family members)
         (includes two lunches; installments accepted)

Durango, Colorado
August 27 - August 29, 2022
Venue: Hokseda Office
Wildcat Canyon Rd. (Durango) - Directions upon Registration
Times: 10 am - 6 pm (each day)
Cost: $300 per person (or $450 per couple or 2 family members)
         (includes two lunches; installments accepted)

Durango, Colorado
November 12 - November 14, 2022
Venue: Hokseda Office
Wildcat Canyon Rd. (Durango) - Directions upon Registration
Times: 10 am - 6 pm (each day)
Cost: $300 per person (or $450 per couple or 2 family members)
        (includes two lunches; installments accepted)

Deposit and Refund Policy: A deposit of $100 per person is required to hold space in the workshop. A full refund will be given if cancellation notice is received within 7 days of the workshop. If notice is less than 7 days, the deposit will be forfeited. Payments may be made by Venmo, check, money order, credit card or cash.

To register: stout@durango.net
or call (970) 946-1438

 

Awards/Testimonials

"Hokseda has been selected seven years in a row (2014-2020) for the Best of Durango Awards for Marriage & Family Counseling and qualifies for the Durango Business Hall of Fame."

Durango Award Program
October 2020

 

"Accelerate my grief process! Live joyfully again! Sign me up! Terry and Rose’s workshop did just that. I had done individual counseling, support groups, read books, yoga, mindfulness meditation, which were all helpful and moved me along in my process. I still had trouble looking forward to holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. The “Living Joyfully Again” workshop provided me with the tools and experiences, gaining the  necessary insights, allowing me to live joyfully again. My smile is no longer a mask but a reflection of what I am feeling inside. I highly recommend this workshop to those who want to be free to experience joy!"

Anita A.

 

"The workshop was a tipping point for me in the best way! I have been noticing a natural new found ability to live from my heart more. My communications with family, friends, and co-workers are more loving, honest, grounded, and compassionate. I feel at home and at peace in myself in a way I have longed for. And, I feel lighter, more open - yet protected - and more courageous."

EJS

 

"Terry and Rose bring a lifetime of study, experience, heart and soul to their workshops. Workshops are well thought out, experiential, loving, safe journeys of healing. Through laughter, tears, and fears, we all arrived at a better place from where we started. I highly recommend!"

Judy A.

 

"After many years of loss from illness, death, divorce and life situations, I attended a Grief Recovery Workshop. I don't think I was ready for what happened that weekend. So many years of counseling and working on my life and never really getting ahead. In one weekend, through the gentle guidance of Rose and Terry, I was able to expose my life story to myself, take my pain in my hand and gently look at it and put it away. It is very difficult to describe what transpired in those brief days, but for myself, I have never had such a healing and life changing experience. I cannot say my pain from my life has disappeared, but it is in a different place and so am I. Thanks Rose and Terry!"

Janna S.

 

"In........the Grief Recovery workshop Terry and his very capable wife, Rose, facilitated, I opened the many locked doors of my interior, facing aspects of my life that I had not fully felt and hence been able to release. In the safety of such care as the Stouts provide, I faced many unresolved losses, pains and griefs, and in doing so, was able to claim more of my essence and live more fully in the present. Thank you Terry and Rose."

Mindy I.

 

"Since 2006 I have been working with Terry & Rose Stout. I call them my light workers. Terrys gifted inside sight and tools of self-empowerment solidify ones body, mind and soul for a greater act of ones consciousness. Roses luminous spirit moves with grace and strength to pulling one forward out of darkness. Thank you both for your love and self-empowerment."

Michelle G.

 

"This workshop helped me tremendously! Terry and Rose facilitated an essential process in my journey to let go and live fully and happily with joy. Terry teaches us to transform our relationship to grief, something we all have experienced at some point in our life. By identifying and changing our associations with past stories, we can heal and move forward. I found the workshop invaluable. Thank you Terry and Rose!"

Jessica G.

 

"The Grief Recovery workshop has produced a profound impact in my life. Through the workshop, I came to understand why I felt that I had 'lost the joy' in my life. After a lifetime of losses as a child, mother, nurse and divorcee, I was finally taught the TOOLS that I needed to assist me to grieve these losses and recover in a way that has brought a new found happiness and contentment in my life. Highly recommended for anyone who has had their heart broken and wants to 'find their joy' again."

Paula S.

Articles

"COVID: Complexities of Virus-Induced Depression
(published in E.P.I.C. magazine; Durango, CO edition; September/October 2020)

How are you doing these days? And, how are you feeling -- emotionally, mentally, spiritually? At this moment in time, the world seems in disarray; almost everyone's lives have been turned upside down; and there is much anxiety around getting back to "life as we knew it". Much of this is absolutely real and in our face. People have lost jobs, businesses and income; children are out of school; many people have either faced months of isolation or have been forced to be cooped up with family or spouses and have passed their limit for patience. On top of this is the fear of catching the virus and fear of the future. No one knows when or how it will end. And then there's the heartache of losing loved ones (or even hundreds of thousands of fellow human beings that we do not even know). We could go on and on! Have we ever -- individually or collectively -- faced such an abrupt, all-encompassing and life-changing turn of events?

How do we cope? Some of us carry a vision that this tremendous upheaval will be a positive turning point that will create a more caring and equitable society going forward. But for most people, right now, there is so much turmoil and fear of the unknown that it is difficult to stay centered or positive. Indeed, many people are falling into a depressed state (understandably!) and do not know what to do about it. Our society can be quick to assign these people the diagnosis of "depression", and the answer is too often treating it with anti-depressants. But, this state, especially under the new circumstances, is not a physiological condition that can be changed with pharmaceuticals. At best, the drugs can mask symptoms, and at worst, they can lead to suicidal ideation.

In our experience, what is typically called "depression" is usually unresolved grief. Our society does not teach us how to move through grief; rather it teaches us to stuff our feelings and just move on. We learn this at an early age, and it has lifelong negative consequences. All of us experience woundings -- big and small -- throughout our lifetime. If left unacknowledged and unresolved, they stay with us, and they color the way we see the world. As they build up, they can lead to "symptoms" that are associated with depression -- lethargy, inability to concentrate, anxiety, emptiness and loss of meaning. They can also lead to other emotions and actions that can be dysfunctional in our lives -- anger, jealousy, vengeance, etc. What is necessary and beneficial for all of us is to explore and come to terms with our own woundings and how they still affect us.

Grief is a natural and inescapable reaction to the current Covid crisis. The Grief Recovery Institute defines grief as "the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior" 1. That certainly describes where most of us are at this point! And through this open door can come all of the unresolved griefs of a lifetime. Everything is in the mix, and it is complicated! And while it may seem overwhelming right now to identify and address past woundings, just the awareness that they exist and still affect us is the first small step in healing.

All grief is complex, as we are all unique individuals with unique stories. Put the effects of Covid on top off this, and there is a good chance that we will be negatively triggered by certain events and people in our lives. Our reactions can range all the way from "this doesn't feel very good" to feeling completely justified in lashing out (physically or emotionally) at a spouse or child for some small transgression. This happens even without Covid, but it is intensified by the current pressures.

Again, what to do? We have a tendency to want to do something to "fix" a situation. This one is quite a bit out of our control. However, we do need to formulate plans for dealing with our finances, our children and our life situation. In addition, whatever brings us periods of peace -- whether it is exercise, being outdoors in nature, meditating, doing something creative, breathing -- is helpful. That is a good "doing". But, we are not used to just "being" -- allowing and being present with our feelings. With increased social isolation, people have had more time to be with themselves, and this is unsettling for many people. We, as a society, are so outer-referenced, that we are always looking to others or activities or distractions to fill our waking moments. Instead, what is beneficial now is to start to develop a strong inner core -- to look within for our guidance, our strength and our own inner authority. Our definition of strength is "the ability to be with what is".

Much healing can happen in the present moment, but we are usually in past and future thinking. And, that is what gets us in trouble -- our thinking mind. Our minds are usually working overtime. There is a constant striving to figure out what to do, to look for who to blame or to run the same story over and over again. Our mind is like a dog chasing its tail. Often, our thoughts can lead to physiological feelings in our bodies that are not pleasant -- anxiety, muscle tension, rapid heart rate, etc. We live with these physical reactions throughout each day, often unaware that it is even happening. But, there is another type of feeling that we are also unaware of, mainly because our society has taught us to always be in our heads.

This is the feeling that comes directly from the heart. The heart knows how to heal. The heart knows how to experience pain and joy, even in the same moment. The heart is a powerful, intelligent organ. It is useful to start to pay attention to the type of feeling that you are experiencing. If your body feels constricted, it is probably because your mind is at work. If, on the other hand, the feeling that you are experiencing is soft, it is probably a feeling from the heart.

How does this play into our current situation? It is a healing practice to start to look inward, pay attention and assess where your "feelings" are coming from. If constricted by mind stuff, let the heart take over, even if only for that moment. Become familiar with your heart. Trust your heart. Start to feel the deeper, love-based feelings of sorrow (vs. sadness), empathy (vs. sympathy), longing (vs. wanting), joy (vs. happiness). These may be fine distinctions, but the heart is what will lead us to a life of more inner peace. The heart is wise and knows what to do with our pain. Give it a bigger role!

1 "The Grief Recovery Handbook" by John W. James and Russell Friedman

 

"Grief Recovery"
(Published in Natural Awakenings magazine; New Mexico edition; Oct 2009)

Politics aside, the recent events of rites and ceremonies following the passing of Senator Edward M. Kennedy bring to light vitally important aspects of the human psyche that are often overlooked.

The extent and depth of public participation, both outwardly and inwardly, to honor his life and mourn his death could be considered extraordinary given the vast number of people affected deeply who never had a direct personal experience of the man.

This same phenomenon was exhibited with the death of his two brothers, and to an even greater global extent with the death of Princess Diana. Yet grief (or emotional expression in some other form) can also be triggered by a very small everyday event in our life; hearing a song or seeing someone who reminds us of some unresolved pain. Whether it occurs on such a grand scale or on one much more "close to home", the process is the same.

People react to the departure of someone who has touched their lives in some way, even if intangibly, for a variety of reasons. However there are two basic ones that are common to everyone.

The first comes from the fact that many of the griefs we experience throughout the course of our lives (loss of a job, a miscarriage, etc.) are not considered by our culture's societal standards to be of significant enough importance to warrant much attention.

Consequently, we learn to "stuff" our feelings in a way that actually gets stored on a cellular level. When we then encounter an event that is defined by the culture assignificant enough to warrant an emotional expression, what gets unleashed are all the stored griefs of a lifetime funneled through one outlet.

The second arises from a basic longing within each of us to have things manifest in our lives according to our conception of what is the most ideal.

In short, underlying most emotional expression is an unresolved grief. And underlying all grief is some form of longing.

So when someone like Edward Kennedy, or Princess Diana, or another like them dies, we grieve their loss because their actions have in some way resonated with us on a soul level to remind us of our longing for the ideal, and the loss of their presence in a material form resonates with us on a cellular memory level to reactivate unresolved grief.

Longing tends to propel us forward. Unresolved grief tends to hold us back.

Grief Recovery is a process that goes beyond grief counseling. It helps us identify the losses (big and small) in our lives and gives us tools to be able to change our relationship to the people and events that we hold pain around. When this happens, we are no longer subconsciously and automatically reacting to current triggers in a way that continues to cause us pain. We still feel some emotion, but it has a different quality and effect in the moment. Resolving the griefs of a lifetime provides us with a new freedom from which we can then create things anew.

 

Contact Us

Terry and Rose Stout
stout@durango.net

PO Box 3262
Durango, CO 81302
(970) 946-1438

 

 


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