Grief and Loss

Grief can be triggered by many events in life. People often associate grief with the death of a loved one, but grief can occur whenever something important is lost. Divorce, the loss of a job, or having to give up a life-long dream can all affect us dramatically. Even smaller events can trigger less intense feelings of grief. Grief is a healthy part of coping with loss, and most people move through the grieving process and achieve resolution naturally.

In some cases, however, the grieving process is interrupted. This can occur for a number of reasons. Sometimes, people do not have the freedom to grieve due to family, personal or professional demands. For example, someone dealing with the loss of a parent may be forced to focus more on practical matters such as arranging care for the other parent or wrapping up other end-of-life issues. Grieving gets put on the back burner while more immediate needs are met.

Woman looking out of window
Yoga meditation

In other cases, a traumatic loss may cause the person to put off grieving because it is too painful to address at the time. While this may be a solution in the short term, eventually the person will need to confront the pain. Other times, the person may not have the emotional skills necessary to move through the process on her own.

Grief and Loss Therapy is an important part of addiction treatment at Avery Lane because unresolved feelings of loss can lead to substance misuse. When dealing with emotional pain, women may turn to drugs and alcohol to dull the pain. When the feelings persist, such self-medication can result in ongoing substance misuse and subsequent addiction.

At Avery Lane, Grief and Loss Therapy is a way of helping our women whose grieving process has stalled or remains incomplete for any number of reasons. It is also useful in cases where the triggering event for our women participants was trauma in any of its forms. Grief and Loss Therapy help women in treatment at Avery Lane work through the phases of grief when it first occurs so that it does not become a recurring problem later. However, in cases where the grief event is long past, the therapy can help women confront feelings that they had avoided at the time. In either case, our goal is to provide a chance for healthy grieving and resolution of painful feelings.

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Summer Lan Franco
MA, MFT-t, Primary Therapist

Summer Lan Franco loves working with people to facilitate recovery from substance use disorders, disordered eating, mental health issues and complex trauma. She earned her BS in Nutrition and Food Science from California State University Chico and MS in Counseling Psychology from Dominican University of California. She has worked in community-based and private practice settings. Her approach is personable and sincere. Summer believes in helping people rediscover their true selves by uncovering barriers that stand in the way. Her warmth and earnest interest in others’ wellbeing are always present in the work she does with people seeking help. She has experience with trauma recovery, substance abuse recovery, codependency, family issues, disordered eating, treatment for anxiety and depression, and working with personality disorders.

Alaina Dunér
Office Manager, Sound Healing Group Facilitator, Reiki Master

Alaina Dunér is a Sonoma County native. She studied sociology and outdoor adventure programming for two years at Loyola University of New Orleans and Warren Wilson College. In 2016 Alaina was on a recreational skydive and had a crash landing that resulted in her fracturing multiple vertebrae in her spine. Since her accident, Alaina has emersed herself in understanding the nuances and complexities of health and spirituality. She is passionate about supporting clients through Reiki and Sound. Since taking a pause from university, Alaina has become a certified Reiki Master Teacher in the Tibetan Usui system, an Ayurvedic yoga instructor, a health coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, and a trauma informed sound facilitator. At the end of 2022 Alaina will attend Southern Utah University to complete her bachelor’s in aerospace and aviation with an emphasis on rotary flight.