What lessons from trauma therapy can teach us about grief

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Jessica DuLong

Published December 29, 2023

Back-to-back celebrations with family and friends this December and into January — typically considered “the most wonderful time of the year,” as the classic song goes — can bring acute reminders of who’s missing from our holiday tables.

As a trauma therapist in Washington, DC, specializing in grief and loss, Meghan Riordan Jarvis counsels clients on how to get through what can be a trying time full of painful triggers. She brings to her work not only decades of training and clinical experience but also personal perspective from her own struggles with complex post-traumatic stress disorder following her mother’s sudden death.

In her new book, “End of the Hour: A Therapist’s Memoir,” which she calls “a love-letter to my clients,” Jarvis tells the story of checking herself into the same inpatient treatment center where she’d previously referred clients, sharing insights and practices gleaned from her own embodied grief experience along with interventions that have helped people she treats. In this conversation, Jarvis explains how paying attention to your body’s responses provides critical insights for helping you recover from loss — during the holidays and beyond.