Is There a Right Way to Heal? An Interview with Dr. Phyllis Kosminsky

At the annual ADEC (Association of Death Education and Counseling) conference, I spoke with Dr. Phyllis Kosminsky about healing after loss and what is the right way to heal.

Phyllis has written a book called Getting Back To Life When Grief Won’t Heal. She wrote the book because a lot of people were asking her if they were grieving in the right way.

There’s a lot of talk about moving through the stages of grief. This leads some people to question whether or not they’re doing something wrong, because they might have gone through the grieving process and ended up right where they started from.

Phyllis discusses the grieving process in more detail in the video below.

Here are some key takeaways from the video:

  • The second year of grief is often harder than the first, but there are cases when it does not get better after the second year and individuals find their grief is getting worse.
  • The sadness will never go away, but there are certain aspects of acute grief that subside for most people. When they don’t subside, it’s usually because there’s some kind of obstacle.
  • What Phyllis tries to capture in her book is a deeper understanding of what those obstacles are and what gets in the way of people moving through them.
  • One obstacle that can get in the way of moving past acute grief is the difficulty accepting some truth about the death or the individual who died.
  • Some people refuse to accept that the death happened at all, and Phyllis says those people live in a state of perpetual refusal. By not accepting what’s true it’s difficult to then accept the changes that occur in life as a result of the person’s death.
  • There’s a way you can accept the truth by strengthening the resources that you need to be able to confront that truth. The point is not beat someone over the head with the truth until they accept it. The point is to understand where the fear of accepting the truth is coming from.

For more video interviews, please see the Open To Hope YouTube channel.

Gloria Horsley

More Articles Written by Gloria

Dr. Gloria Horsley is an internationally known grief expert, psychotherapist, and bereaved parent. She started "Open to Hope" to help the millions in the world with grief. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Clinical Nurse Specialist, and has worked in the field of family therapy for over 20 years. Dr. Horsley hosts the syndicated internet radio show, The Grief Blog which is one of the top ranked shows on Health Voice America. She serves the Compassionate Friends in a number of roles including as a Board of Directors, chapter leader, workshop facilitator, and frequently serves as media spokesperson. Dr. Horsley is often called on to present seminars throughout the country. She has made appearances on numerous television and radio programs including "The Today Show," "Montel Williams," and "Sallie Jessie Raphael." In addition, she has authored a number of articles and written several books including Teen Grief Relief with Dr. Heidi Horlsey, and The In-Law Survival Guide.

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