The holidays can be a time when people may experience sadness or depression. People may miss past holiday celebrations that involved the whole family, experience grief over loved ones who have died, experience difficult memories from past traumas, or experience sadness due to feelings of isolation.
When working with a client who experiences sadness, anger, or other feelings during the holiday season, I assist the client to acknowledge and identify the painful emotions and help them process any feelings of grief. This process may take several weeks as I help the client process his or her feelings, such as sadness and anger, over a loss that occurred during the holidays. Then, I attempt to help the client recognize that though the holidays may not be exactly what s/he hopes for, it does not mean s/he has to remain angry, or whatever their specific emotion may be. If a client is sad because of a previous loss, I remind the client s/he may always experience sadness around this time of year, but it does not mean that s/he can both honor their loved ones memory and remain positive and make new memories with people they know today. When working with a client who has experienced a trauma, I assist the client to develop a plan to identify triggers, helping him or her to feel safe, and I also assist the client to identify ways s/he can still enjoy the holidays. If a client experiences isolation, I assist the client to recognize that it is not his or her fault that they feel isolated. I encourage the client to find and participate in events and social activities that s/he can complete during the holidays to increase their mood. While none of these solutions will cure the holiday blues, they may help you to enjoy and manage the holidays a little bit better. Many people experience sadness or depression during the holidays, and you are not alone if you experience these feelings, too. I am available to listen and together we can identify ways to manage these feelings and create a good holiday.
James Ogle, LCSW
ABOUT JAMES OGLE
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