Disaster Planning: and how to deal with Grief & Loss


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Disaster Planning is a requirement for all employers, and community leaders. Learn the does and donts, and the intricacies of how to plan best with your staff, and how to deal with the unfortunate grief and loss.

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  • Adapted from: from Granger Westburg
  • Stages in the Process of Grief (From Wayne E. Oates, Anxiety in Christian Experience , (Waco, Word Books Inc., 1971) Shock - Unwelcome reality assaults a person in such an overpowering way that he or she cannot accept it. He or she may be stunned, angry, guilt-stricken, or may act temporarily as though nothing serious has taken place. Numbness - The person may “freeze” and feel nothing. Numbness is nature’s way of helping him or her accept reality as fast as he or she can assimilate the facts. He or she may feel that family, friends, and even God are distant and indifferent. He or she my be tempted to withdraw excessively. Alternating between fantasy and reality - The grief-stricken person struggles between reality and the fantasy that nothing has happened. If he or she “steels” him/herself against the unwelcome reality, he or she will experience an increase of such destructive emotions as anxiety, hostility, and guilt. Flooding of emotions and grief - The wall of fantasy breaks and a flood of grief rolls over the person. Depression, loss of meaning in life, bitterness, or hostility may accompany this stage. Selective memory and stabbing pain - After the out-pouring of severe grief, the process levels off to a more drawn-out and less intense day to day re-association of memories. Such memories usually bring brief stabbing pain. Grief-work continues through daytime fantasies or bereavement dreams which relieve anxiety. Guilt feelings may continue during this stage. The acceptance of loss and the reaffirmation of life - The grieved person by now has gone through a sort of death, burial, and resurrection. He or she experiences a reaffirmation of goals, values, meaning, and life itself. He or she is capable of establishing new, meaningful relationships and of re-entering old ones with new meaning.
  • Many people have used Dr. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross’ “Stages of Death & Dying” to describe the grief process as well. While this can be helpful to an extent, in research in later life, Dr. Kübler-Ross herself admitted that this model was not adequate to describe the process of grief. While the process of grieving will have some of the same elements as the process of emotionally adjusting to death & dying, it is also substantially different. It is similar, but different. The process of death & dying involves “letting go.” The process of grief involves both “letting go” and “embracing.”
  • Disaster Planning: and how to deal with Grief & Loss

    1. 1. The Nature of CrisisThe Nature of GriefThe Phases of Grief 1
    2. 2. • Definitions of Crisis – A turning point for better or for worse – A decisive or critical moment – Any event that changes the course or direction of one’s life• Examples of Crisis – Car wreck – New baby – Death of a loved one – Surgery – Flood 2
    3. 3. • Flood as an example of Crisis – Flood as a crisis itself – Moved from home – Freedom is restricted – Diet is restricted – Clothes taken away – Schedule controlled by someone else – Self-esteem and Dignity taken away • Routine gone • Privacy invaded 3
    4. 4. • Intensity of Crisis – Intensities of crises vary - some are more intense than others – What seems insignificant to one person may be earth shaking for another – Many times a person’s fears, anxiety, and hysteria are out of proportion to the reality of the situation – “Fear of the unknown” 4
    5. 5. • Definitions – Grief • Emotional suffering caused by loss of something important or held dear • A process of emotionally working through the adjustments necessary as a result of loss. – Bereavement • Suffering the loss of a loved on through death • A specific type of grief related to the death of a significant other – Sorrow • The various displays of grief 5 • The emotional outlet of grief or bereavement
    6. 6. • The Purposes of Grief* – To enable over a period of time to . . . • Adapt to what has happened • “Bring us back to life” • Renew all the purposes of our lives • Draw to a close that part of “their life” that was shared with us *Tony Lake, Living with Grief, (London: Sheldon Press, 1984) 6
    7. 7. • The Four Tasks of Grief – To accept the finality and reality of the loss – To do the emotional work of grief – To adapt to a world without that which was lost – To emotionally re-invest in someone or something else From: J. William Worden, Counseling and Grief Therapy, 1992. 7
    8. 8. • The “Stages of Grief” – Shock & Denial – Emotional Release – Depressed and Lonely – Physical Symptoms of Distress – Panic , Guilt – Anger & Resentment – Resisting Returning – Hope – Affirming of Reality 8
    9. 9. Acceptance and embracing Remembering Flooding emotions Alternating fantasy / reality Numbness (From RTS Bereavement Services)Shock 9
    10. 10. Kübler-Ross’Stages of Death& Dying Acceptance Depression Bargaining Anger Denial It is similar, but different. The process of death & dying involves “letting go.” The process of grief involves both “letting go” and “embracing.” 10
    11. 11. • Four Key Facts About Grief* – The way out of grief is through it. – The very worst kind of grief is yours. – Grief is hard work. – Effective grief work is not done alone.*Bob Deits, Life After Loss, (Tucson: Fisher Books, 1988) 11
    12. 12. • Four Phases of Bereavement* – 1. Shock & Numbness • Duration - Characteristics most intense during first 2 weeks • Characteristics - – Attention span is short – Concentration is difficult – Decision making impaired – Stunned, disbelief – Functioning impeded – Denial – Time Confusion – Failure to accept reality*Glen Davidson, Understanding Mourning, (1984) 12
    13. 13. 2. Searching & Yearning • Duration - Characteristics dominant 2nd week to 4th month –Sensitive to stimuli –Anger, guilt, dreams –Restless, impatient –Double meaning –Testing what is real –Irritability, resentment, bitterness –Weight gain or loss –Sleep difficulties –“Aching arms” (perinatal loss) 13 *Glen Davidson, Understanding Mourning, (1984)
    14. 14. 3. Disorientation Duration - Characteristics dominant 5th to 9th month • Think “I’m going crazy” – Social withdrawal – Disorganized – Forgetful – Awareness of reality – Depressed – Guilt – Insomnia – Anorexia – Weight gain or loss – Sense of failure – Sadness – Exhaustion – Difficulty in concentration – Feels ill 14 – Lack of energy*Glen Davidson, Understanding Mourning, (1984)
    15. 15. – 4. Reorganization/Resolution • Duration - Characteristics dominant 18th to 24th month • Characteristics - –Sense of release –Renewed energy –Able to make decisions easier –Eating and sleeping habits re- established –Able to laugh and smile again –Re-investing emotionally *Glen Davidson, Understanding Mourning, (1984) 15
    16. 16. Thank you 16