Traumatic Loss

All loss is traumatic.  However sudden, violent and instant death of a loved one is considered acute trauma. It can cause us to have nightmares, ruminating thoughts.  We often continue to replay the traumatic events in our head, reliving the trauma.  

Here are some resources from Virginia Mason's Traumatic grief and loss department. 

You can find the information below at 

Sudden, Traumatic Death Services

Traumatic death grief services are temporarily on hold, and we are not accepting new patients for individual or group therapy.

The death of a loved one is a devastating experience that often leaves people feeling completely alone. It can seem impossible to cope with the grief and the pain following an unnatural death. Feelings of shock and disbelief are normal. Some other reactions may include:

  • Disturbing memories/dreams
  • Guilt
  • Sense of helplessness
  • Isolation and loneliness
  • Anger
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety and fear
  • Inability to concentrate or complete routine tasks
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Deep sadness
  • Changes in eating patterns
  • Depression

Virginia Mason Grief Services offers individual and group services after sudden traumatic death (such as homicide, suicide, accident and overdose).

  • Short-term individual therapy (in-person and via telehealth)
  • Ten-week traumatic death support groups: no cost to join, and pre-registration is required (telehealth only at this time)
  • Information and referral
  • Community, regional and national trainings (in-person and via telehealth)
  • Community critical incident debriefings (in-person and via telehealth)

Grief Groups for Sudden, Traumatic Deaths

Virginia Mason offers free grief groups for individuals impacted by a sudden death. Each 10-week, two-hour group has approximately seven individuals.

Groups are held via telehealth at this time and will resume at the Virginia Mason Seattle campus or at one of the regional medical centers when it is safe to do so based on Washington state and CDC guidelines.

An in-person or telehealth assessment is required and is not a guarantee that interested participants will be placed in group. If placement in group is confirmed, attendance at all 10 sessions is required.

Each group is led by an experienced, caring therapist who guides conversations on topics including: how you’ve changed since the death, new family dynamics, changes in your social supports, and religious or spiritual beliefs. Supportive techniques are used to help move through the difficult emotions surrounding the death.

Upcoming grief groups for Sudden, Traumatic Death: 


Traumatic Death Resources

Adults – Groups/Meetings

Youth/Family Services and Resources




You can find this information at Virginia Mason Grief Services

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