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Lessons In Loss
What Every Therapist Needs To Know.
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Ginny Pizzardi Blog

Lessons In Loss Book Launch

I’ve been a psychotherapist for more than twenty-six years. I have derived great satisfaction and fulfillment from my work, while learning more than I ever dreamed I could about the human heart and soul. More importantly, like you, I’ve lived a life rich with joy and heartache, success and failure, loving and letting go. Through it all I’ve discovered that virtually every life experience carries an element of loss. Some of those losses give us a chance to celebrate the end of an old chapter and the beginning of something new. At other times the losses tear our hearts to shreds. What we do with that pain determines the course of our lives for years to come, and our ability to embrace all that life has to offer.

To live is to lose. Our infinite stories of loss start early, persist through every change and passage, and define our endings. It starts the day we enter this world: Birth is actually the loss of the safest and most protected state we will ever experience, yet we tend to ignore or misunderstand this elemental fact. And so, we begin our journey on this planet with a loss we never name, acknowledge, or grieve. By the time we grow up, most of us have acquired years of cumulative loss that has never been acknowledged, let alone resolved. I’ve come to believe that this single lapse is at the root of much of the suffering we see around us—in individuals and in the world at large.

We live in a society that underestimates the impact our losses have on our emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual lives. Our cultural fear of raw emotions is so deeply ingrained that, from an early age, most of us have been taught to stop crying, get over it, quit being so self-involved. We learn to bury those feelings deep in our unconscious, where they become gatekeepers of a silent prison. We remain isolated and alone, unable to connect deeply with ourselves or others, incapable of experiencing the sorrow or joy that makes life worthwhile.

How might our relationships with each other—and the vitality of our society as a whole—be different, if we could be spontaneous and truthful about our losses and the emotions that attend them? If we can get in touch with our most closely held feelings, express ourselves to someone who cares, and embrace all that those emotions have to teach us, we can become free again to experience true connection with ourselves and with those around us.

That’s where you come in. You’re in the unique position of one who can help open the doors to freedom, and cast a light of understanding on the dark mystery of unresolved loss. As you walk side by side with each client on the difficult, often painful, but lifesaving journey to rediscover the losses that were never acknowledged, you’ll help her find the emotional freedom necessary to live the life she was meant to live.

Of course, psychotherapy is not only about resolving loss. It is a complicated process that involves helping people to understand themselves, to gain awareness of their conscious and unconscious wishes, and to recognize their many strengths, fears, challenges and limitations. However, I propose that loss is a part of every problem we—and our clients—face. Although we are all unique and each of us responds differently to similar life experiences, we all share common emotional reactions. A central focus of our work as therapists is to help each individual learn to identify and express her emotional life in ways that will facilitate her connection with herself and her connection to others. An understanding of the losses she has endured, and an ability to experience and release the emotions associated with those losses, is essential to her ability to connect in deep and lasting ways.

Nature has given us the capacity to withstand our losses, to grow larger and stronger through them—and even to transcend them. As therapists, we are but Nature’s teachers, with the opportunity to guide each client on her own journey of transcendence. As George Bernard Shaw has said,

“Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”

With this book, I pass my own torch of understanding on to you. May it help to light your path, and that of every client who is fortunate enough to have you as her guide.

March 24, 2011, 8:01 pm
Looking forward to the book
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