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Overcoming Loss through Radical Acceptance

Loss is an inevitable part of life that can lead to significant grief and pain. The death of a loved one, a breakup, job loss or any unwanted change to one’s circumstances can feel devastating.

Loss comes in many forms that can lead to grief, including:

  • The death of a loved one - losing a family member, friend or pet can bring profound sorrow.

  • Romantic breakups and divorces - the end of a committed relationship can deeply shake someone's world.

  • Job loss - being laid off, downsized or fired can create enormous stress and uncertainty.

  • Loss of health/abilities due to illness or injury - grief over losing one's physical capabilities.

  • Financial losses from economic downturns - losing financial stability can be extremely distressing and disruptive.

  • Loss of identity after major life changes - grief over losing sense of self when becoming a parent, retiring etc.

  • Loss of safety/security from trauma or disaster - grief from having security shattered.

  • Loss of career or life purpose from change - grief when transitioning careers or after big events.

  • Losing one's home from move or inability to pay rent - grief over losing stability of home.

  • Losing touch with an important person - grief when a close friend moves or you drift apart.

While grieving these losses is necessary, getting stuck in denial, depression, anger or bargaining can impede moving forward. This is where radical acceptance can help process loss in a healthier way.

As a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist, I often help clients who are struggling with loss and change. Whether it’s the death of a parent, the end of a marriage or loss of their pre-parent self, I help them work through the stages of grief while also leaning into radical acceptance.


What is Radical Acceptance?

Radical acceptance stems from Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). DBT is a type of cognitive behavioural therapy that focuses on distress tolerance, emotional regulation, interpersonal effectiveness and mindfulness. It’s often used to treat borderline personality disorder but has been found effective for anxiety, depression, PTSD and more.

A core component of DBT is radical acceptance. This encourages individuals to accept reality as it is in the present moment, without judging it or wishing it was different. Acceptance does not mean approval of the situation, but rather acknowledging it without fighting against it.

Here are some examples of using radical acceptance to deal with loss:

When a client is grieving the end of a relationship, radical acceptance can help. Instead of bargaining or begging to revive the relationship, radical acceptance means acknowledging it has ended. The client consciously surrenders the wish to control the situation and accepts this new reality. There is freedom in releasing the struggle to resist what is or make it different. Radical acceptance allows the client to process the loss while moving forward.

Similarly, if a client is grieving the loss of a job, radical acceptance means accepting that the job is over rather than expending energy in anger or bitterness towards a former employer. The client can release attachment to what was, and redirect their focus towards taking the next step, such as looking for a new job.

In another case, if a client is grieving the loss of their health or physical abilities due to illness or injury, radical acceptance involves acknowledging their current limited mobility or capabilities. Rather than struggling against their present state, wishing it was different, clients learn to adjust to their bodies in the present moment. This frees them from resentment about their condition so they can move forward.

Radical acceptance allows one to process difficult emotions, while also not getting mired in them. It provides the psychological space to feel sadness, anger or frustration about a loss without being dominated by those feelings. There is an emotional freedom that comes with embracing reality as it stands.

As you can see, radical acceptance allows us to release the struggle against reality so we can move forward. While the grief remains, we don’t get stuck in denial or become overwhelmed by frustration over what we cannot change.

If you are having a hard time processing loss or change, I encourage you to explore radical acceptance. This approach can help you find peace during difficult transitions. You still honour the emotion, but are not chained to it.

Contact me to explore radical acceptance further and transform your relationship with loss.

Love & light,


Hypnotherapist and counsellor

Founder of Holistic Transformative Therapy

Leeds, Harrogate, London

Get in touch with me!

mobile: 07849 580021

Instagram: @holistictransformativetherapy

Facebook: Holistic Transformative Therapy


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