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The Symbiotic Relationship between Grief & Trauma


Day 4: The Symbiotic Relationship of Grief and Trauma


There are a myriad of opinions about whether grief and trauma are separate entities, or innately tied to one another. For me, the main questions are can trauma exist without grief? And, can grief exist without trauma?


If we define trauma as a necessary adaptation in order for survival and grief as the necessary biological healing mechanism for something that is unfixable and irreversible in our lives, then I believe the answer to the questions above are no. Grief and trauma come as a package. The extent of the grief and the trauma response (adaptation) will look different in every person’s experience, yet I believe that when something irreversible happens to us, an adaptation (or traumatic response) occurs for a period of time--—perhaps for seconds, perhaps decades. And in order for this traumatic response to heal, we need grief.



Welcome to my second, 100-day project. I hope to provide a daily offering on something grief and/or trauma related. I am a grief and trauma therapist and educator working with people in Oregon, Washington, DC, Maryland, and Maine. This feed is in honor of each person who has trusted me with their stories and wisdom during their grief journey. I hope that others may benefit from simple and straightforward talk about a topic that can be difficult.

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