In my clinical experience, most people who ask for psychotherapy have a history of personal loss or they struggle with working through a recent loss. While the death of a loved one is the main motivation to look for help, there are other losses that also produce grief, such as an unexpected divorce, loss of a valued job, or the onset of physical disability, to name a few. Grief work in psychotherapy attempts to address and treat an effect from one or several particular causes. The effect is grief, but is the loss really the cause of a profound, intractable grief. The basic relationship is below:
In the natural world, cause and effect is readily observed. It serves as the foundation of our understanding of the natural world, and the formula our brain constructs its programming. Cause and effect is easily understood, but not easily accepted. For example, in a game of billiards, cause and effect is showcased among the balls on the table. The game relies on a cue stick, propelled by a player that makes contact with a cue ball, launching the cue ball toward a bunched set of multicolored balls with a force to separate the balls across the table, with the hope to create a condition where a ball will drop in a corner pocket to allow for continued play. In this case, the purpose of the force is to make a ball drop into one of six pockets. If there is a cause, then certainly there will be an effect. The assumption about grief is that death or loss is the cause of grief. This, I argue, is an inaccurate assumption.
In the game of billiards, as in many other games, the player's mind is the initial cause. The billiard ball only launches when the person THINKS of moving the cue stick, and DECIDES on the direction the stick needs to move. The ball launching is actually the effect, which then acts as an initial cause. As an initial cause, it meets the bunched group of balls with force that produce the effect of separation, launching the balls across the table, with a possible series of cause and effects that end with a ball in a pocket, which creates a different set of conditions for another initial cause. The mind is the container for the initial cause, and the ideas built in the mind act as the formula for an initial cause. Prior to striking the cue ball, the person requires an evaluation of the balls on the table before a decision is made to aim the cue ball. Hence, the mind serves as the primary cause and the initial condition to help effect an overall goal.
PART 2 on Friday, 11/15/2019