Emotional Rehabilitation: Recovery from Loss

emotional rehabilitation: recovery from lossPhysical illness has an emotional reaction such as anger, shock, denial or acceptance.

In most cases, the onset of a medical problem or condition has a range of underlying emotions. Illness imposes an impact on the person, moving from a place of freedom to a loss of control or to a type of confinement.

Rehabilitation is a course of therapy, a journey, to recover and return a person to her prior level of functioning, to the best of her abilities following an illness, surgery or injury. Unlike physical rehabilitation, where you are subjected to the manipulation of physical, occupational, respiratory or speech and language therapists; emotional rehabilitation is the strengthening of one’s emotional ability to cope with a loss or change in their lives.

Working Through Loss

Emotional rehabilitation is a method of steps to work through the pain of loss and to return to a stable and healthy place.

A person must use the emotional muscles inside her heart and mind to help her get there and utilize resources to help move forward. As the individual builds her emotional core, she will also return to a stronger self– filled with determination, confidence and competence.

Emotional muscles are typically invisible. Other people have a spectrum of emotional use from poor to capable, with varying skills reflecting the different degrees of emotions, how they are processed and expressed.

In order to do emotional rehabilitation, one must be prepared and ready to process the pain and associated thoughts, typically ambivalent feelings. Some people have never had an opportunity to use these specific muscles because of their own past history and need to be taught how to identify their feelings and thoughts about themselves.

The 4 “S”s in Muscle:

Stretch: Let yourself loosen up the feelings, give yourself permission to cry and get rid of the tension building up in your body. In essence your facial, neck, head, stomach and lung muscles get a work-out.

Slowly: One must not move too quickly or else will not really own the emotion, acknowledge and process the pain. One can’t skip the process as the pain may return when one least expects.

Strengthen: Using various methods to improve one’s emotional response to the loss is necessary in order to adjust one’s thinking, feeling and insight. This approach takes practice, exercises and support to move forward.

Stronger: At the end of emotional rehabilitation, one’s skills and abilities to cope will be improved. The outcome is improved positive self-regard and confidence. The emotions, attitude and behavior will be healthy and functional.

The process of rehabilitation takes into account the grief and mourning process. Grieving varies per person and stage per Kubler-Ross. The amount of time is dependent upon one’s ability to process the intense uncomfortable feelings, bear them and then let go of the pain.

Mourning Well

Many people may be told to keep as busy as possible, yet that very action actually prolongs the grief process, as you will be repressing your feelings. In order to mourn well, one must consciously take the time to feel the pain and let it out in order to move forward.

Factors which impact the length of each Stage:
1. Age
2. Sex
3. The meaning of the relationship for the individual. How one defines the level of importance and significance for the one who is lost.
4. Length of time in the relationship.
5. The causes of the end in the relationship.
6. Past ability to cope with loss and change.
7. Resources and supports available.
8. Self-awareness or cognitive awareness of where one is the continuum of grief.

Emotional Rehabilitation: Recovery from Loss

Jane Rosenblum, LCSW, CCM

Jane Rosenblum, LCSW, CCM is a licensed therapist currently working as a certified case manager. She has extensive experience working with children and geriatric individuals and her 25-year plus career spans settings including medical, psychiatric, substance abuse, home care and schools. Rosenblum is compiling a platform of articles and newsletters that will be found at her site .


APA Reference
Rosenblum, J. (2016). Emotional Rehabilitation: Recovery from Loss. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 18, 2020, from


Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 28 Jan 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 28 Jan 2016
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