Dealing with Grief and Loss

The content on this page comes directly from the IOCDF’s Grief and Loss Town Hall, a talk featuring Dennis Tirch, PhD, Angelika Zollfrank MDiv, and Kimberley Quinlan, LMFT and moderated by IOCDF National Ambassador Ethan Smith. Watch the Town Hall.

Grief and Sadness

One usually associates grief with the loss of another living being (a pet, a stranger, a friend, a family member, etc.). However, humans can grieve any number of things, including a job, a circumstance, relationships, experiences, lifestyles, and more. Here are some tips to keep in mind when dealing with feelings of grief and loss.

Loss occurs every day, whether it be a tooth, a plant, your favorite cup, or a friend. The degree of grieving depends on how important the loss was. Some losses can be classified as existential losses, or an overwhelming feeling that one cannot survive without a person, while some losses are a temporary ouch.

We avoid suffering. As human beings, we try to avoid suffering as much as possible. Grieving in itself is hard, and sometimes in the process we try to find a replacement for what was lost instead of actually dealing with the grief, which only prolongs our suffering.

We suffer less in modern times. In our modern societies, there is a lack of suffering in general as well as a lack of normalization of death. We now have vaccines, we don’t get sick very much, and people die in the hospital instead of at home. When you have experience of watching someone die, it is much less terrifying to grieve. Being around more death normalizes it.

Grief is a process. There are no limits to how long one may grieve.

Grief and sadness: Humans are a cooperative, caring species that need one another for survival, and our brains are wired to protect how we relate to each other. Thus, experiencing sadness and depression after a loss is ultimately connected to our motive for survival as a species.

These emotions relate to whether we feel like doing something or not, and whether we feel emotionally safe. However, experiencing depression as one grieves is not only about being sad and losing interest in daily activities. It’s also recognizing that we are existentially threatened and it forces us to shut down.

All in all, encountering depression and sadness as one grieves is intimately connected to a foundational emotional experience that makes us human beings. This encounter can allow us to transform and grow in wisdom.

Grief and OCD
Healing from Grief


The content on this page comes directly from the IOCDF’s Grief and Loss Town Hall. The speakers were Dennis Tirch, PhD, Angelika Zollfrank MDiv, and Kimberley Quinlan, LMFT. This talk was moderated by the IOCDF national ambassador Ethan Smith. To view it at length please click here for Volume 1 and here for volume 2.

The IOCDF’s resource directory contains a listing of therapists, support groups, clinics, and organizations that are geared towards those with OCD and other related behaviors.

We also have a listing of teletherapists, virtual support groups, and hoarding task forces.

Give us a call at (617) 973-5801. We are open Monday-Friday, from 9am-5pm. You can also email us at

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