READING THE GRIEF LETTER OUTLOUD • Step 4
4. READ THE LETTER TO A TRUSTED FRIEND OR THERAPIST
How to READ the letter out-loud to a trusted LISTENER:
Visualize the person in your center chest area toward where you FEEL. Locate them in your imaginary experience. It could be inside your body or outside and around your body. Locate that place. When you have that, read and FEEL toward them in that location, as if they are right there. Read the letter from your emotional heart toward where you have located them. Don’t rush the reading. Pause and FEEL whenever you need. This is YOUR time.
How to LISTEN to the letter:
Listen and witness with your emotional heart in your chest. Follow each word. Feel with the READER. You may rear up or also cry. This is no only OK but helps the process deepen. Don’t interrupt or make comments. You are just the WITNESS/LISTENER, the witness with compassion/unconditional acceptance. You are doing what the person needs to receive.
At the end, pause for a few moments, then ask the READER what they would like to express about the experience. Listen to their report. When they finish you can make supportive statements but NOT advice.
Notes to help maximize Your Grief Recovery Process:
• People are often surprised when they avoid doing this process. It helps to remember and be reminded is this is not wrong, but that it is simply much harder than you every expected. It is common. Bring compassion and kindness and courage. Remember it is step-by-step progress, not perfection, that brings sustainable change.
• The book, Grief Recovery Method, suggests only one reading and then that is it. I have found that when a letter is read out-loud to a trusted person as many as four and five times or more the reader receives a much deeper benefit. So in my version of therapeutic grief work, you read it out-loud to me first in a complete session. Then in several of the following sessions, you continue to do readings as we process more and more of what reamins in your brain and nervous system regarding the loss. People report the best results including a reading of the letter in sessions until you can read it and there is much less or no emotional upset. Some actually bring it back after working on other issues and read it again to see where there is no more reaction and where some reaction remains. The letter process becomes a healing companion for a while, until it's assistance is no longer needed. It can be seen as a compassionate friendly process, that has some of the more difficult things to face in order to be more present in your current life. And yes, it isprocess and each person has their own unique way.
• Of all the grief processes that I have used, this is the most helpful. Combined also with EMDR, Emotional Freedom Techniques, IFS-Internal Family Systems and methods, it can even deepen the healing of any traumatic event.. However, I have found this process works well as a stand alone treatment that can be applied to both deceased and living situations of relationships.
• In the Grief Process Reading of the Letter, the book instructs that theWitness/Listener not to speak at the conclusion of the process, stand and hug the Reader as the conclusion. That is something that needs discussion and decision at the beginning of the reading with the Reader. I don’t use hugs in my sessions, but if done with informed consent it also can be very healing if desired. However, the reading of the letter carries the healing.
• Keep your letter stored PRIVATELY. It is never to be shown, read or given to the actual person. This is a letter to what is INSIDE OF YOU, so that you can be free to experience the present moment in your life without the distraction of incomplete emotion from the past.
• It may take between 4 and 6 sessions to complete the process for one Letter. You will do the written work at home and brings it into each session. By working each session, no matter how much or little you have done, helps deepen the process, so don't worry if you avoid it all together between a session, the process takes what it takes, and the pace is determined by each person's own circumstances. When the timeline is complete, we will review it and discuss an discover what it has for you to know. If you have a partial letter, or just a little, reading that in a session helps bring more and more forward. This respects the tenderness of your inner world. Each of us need and deserve consistent encouragement and reminder that this is some of the hardest emotional work that a human can do.
• Once you personally complete this process yourself, you can see the power of what holds much of both grief and trauma reactions in place. You will be able to see how Grief and Trauma are really the same and they process in this manner no matter what the event or events or circumstances. As the research shows the NUMBER ONE PREDICTOR OF DIVORCE IS RESENTMENT, which is a from of CONTEMPT.
So, resentment that can heal by moving toward acceptance and then forgiveness, regrets moving toward apology, and expressing unexpressed emotional and gratitude, heals the deep emotional pain that happens with difficult events and circumstances.
• When someone asks me “How do I forgive Him/Her?” I reply, “working through the resentment, regrets, unexpressed emotions and unexpressed gratitude about the situation you are trying to complete from the past.” I don't know of any better and more efficient manner than than this. Quick fixes can provide relief, however, it tends to just relieve some of the pain and push down the rest. No worries though, as your internal world is always trying to complete the unprocessed pasts, so it will find infinite ways of reappearing in your daily life and your dreams. Our internal systems are by nature, designed to bring grief and trauma up in our awareness until we face and process them.
• Many people will say that they have forgiven, and then in the next sentence express resentment and regrets etc. Listen during the day, and once you are aware of this you can see the effects of unresolved grief trying to find a way out in the open to heal. This is an indication not of failure, but just more to go.
Forgiveness and grief is a process. No one letter or interaction is going to complete it fully. The letter process done in this way, however, can help in an informed way where the changes are felt, choices are opened, and the present moment feels brighter.
Each person's brain and nervous throughout the body are designed to HEAL and LIVE IN THE PRESENT.