When Loss Strikes: What is Normal and When to Seek Help

For better or worse, loss is a part of life. Not only is it inevitable, it is necessary—if nobody ever died, we would simply run out of room for new life to be born. However, this does not make the process any easier, especially when the loss is someone whom you love dearly. When does grief become something else, and when should you seek help? Read on to find out!

Immediate reaction

One of the best ways to think of immediate loss is of devastation. Whether you have lost a loved one unexpectedly or after months of declining health, the final realization that they are gone can be rough. It is normal to cry, feel sad, or even feel angry—at the person who is gone, at yourself, and at the whole world. Your emotions may feel overwhelming, and that’s okay. Allow yourself time to feel these emotions and seek the support of others in your life.

Signs you need help

While loss is difficult to bear, there are some signs that you should seek professional help. If you consider harming yourself or others, you should always call 9-1-1 or visit your nearest emergency room.


For a few weeks or months following the loss, you can expect to still feel pain quite vividly. You may notice that your pain subsides somewhat, or that it “rears its head” with vengeance every now and again. Reminders of the person you have lost, such as their clothing, favorite TV show, or perfume may bring back vivid and unsettling memories. However, at this stage, you should be able to start recovering and moving on. Try thinking of the positive memories you have of this person and what they would want for you—chances are, they would encourage you to keep living your life!

Signs you need help

Immediately after a loss, it is perfectly normal to “shut down” for a few days. However, if weeks or months have passed and you still find yourself unable to go to work, maintain hygiene, or feel happiness or enjoyment, you should seek the help of a grief counselor in Littleton. Loss can take a huge toll on relationships as well. Your partner might not understand your grief, or why you’re so sad, and attending Littleton couples therapy sessions might help you to see eye to eye.


After a few months, you may feel guilty that you do not think of your lost loved one that often. Don’t despair—this is a normal part of moving on. In addition, you may find yourself doing great most days, but receiving an occasional “blow” when something reminds you of your lost loved one. This, again, is perfectly normal. Holidays and anniversaries tend to be the hardest, but you can turn these moments of sadness into moments of celebration by honoring the lost person’s favorite activities and sharing them with others. The person you lost will always be a part of you.

Signs you need help

If you still feel the same intense pain as you did when you first realized your loved one was gone on a daily basis, or if you still feel limited in your work, social life, or personal life because of the loss, you may benefit from working with a therapist. While there is no “time limit” on grief, it is important to differentiate grief and loss from depression. In addition, working with a trained professional can help you to clarify your feelings and values and develop effective coping skills to keep yourself going.

While your loved one may be gone, you know he or she would never want you to get “stuck” as a result. Live your life to the fullest and give Dr. Lazarus a call if you’re feeling stuck!

How to Build Social Skills

One of the most common things that parents call a Littleton child behavior psychologist about is helping their child to develop and strengthen their social skills. While social skill development can be a challenge for any child, these skills can be particularly challenging for kids with ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, or communication disorders. No matter what challenges your child may or may not face, building strong social skills can help him to succeed throughout his life. Read on to find out some starter tips for social skills development.

What are social skills?

Social skills are the processes that we use to socialize and communicate with others. This can include meeting and greeting, building friendships, communicating effectively, being assertive, resisting peer pressure, and handling conflict, among many other skills. Social skills often develop naturally, but some kids (and adults!) have a harder time with them than others.

How do I promote social skills?

A great way to help your child build social skills is to expose her to a variety of social situations throughout her life. This can involve meeting with friends, family, or neighbors, engaging in group activities, or joining clubs. Think about it: if you spent your life staying inside your house, only engaging with mom and dad or a few siblings, you might not learn the flexibility and communication that will help you in the wider world. It’s never too early—start bringing your child out as an infant to expose her to all sorts of different cultures and people.

Why do some children have a hard time with social skills?

A large number of factors play a role in social skill development. A child must have a good grasp of language, both verbal and nonverbal, the ability to control his or her behaviors, and the ability to take the perspective of another child. In some cases, these core processes are unsettled by things like distractibility or hyperactivity with ADHD, difficulty reading nonverbal language such as with Autism spectrum disorders, or inhibited by anxiety or depression. Some kids don’t have a diagnosis, but just aren’t as strong in social skills—though they might do great in other areas of intelligence and functioning. Some kids just don’t have a lot of social exposure.

My child isn’t getting it!

If you’ve taken plenty of steps to promote social skills development in your child and they just don’t seem to be working, it can help to work with a professional. In an individual or group setting, a psychologist in Littleton can help your child to understand how to engage in a “give and take” relationship with others, communicate feelings and needs clearly and respectfully, engage assertively with others, and build strong friendships. Dr. Steve Lazarus has helped many children to develop the social skills needed for success in life, and regularly runs groups that can help build these skills as well.