What is ‘The Waiting Room’?
The Life Reentry Model begins with the individual stuck between two worlds, a place we call The Waiting Room—a psychological space one retreats to after great loss. It is a gap between lives—the life that has been forced into the past, and the new life that has yet to begin.
The Waiting Room is not a physical place, but rather a mindset. It is where the Survivor goes for protection. It’s a holding pattern—safe, comfortable, but inhibitory. It keeps one out of danger, and out of life.
For individuals to overcome loss and return to a fulfilling life, a series of changes in thought must occur. They must accept the circumstances of the loss and acknowledge that that event occurred in the past. It is no longer happening. This permits the raw emotions associated with the event to recede into the past. It doesn’t mean that there are no longer feelings of grief—only that they recognize that what they feel now is different from what they felt then. When they are grieving now, it is over an event that is no longer occurring. Clearing this mental and emotional space allows for a new vision—the feasible future—to form.
The brain is an amazing, self-preserving organ. When a person is in a state of stress, their amygdala—the part of the brain that regulates emotions— will give that stress priority over the logical thinking process and will favor self-preservation over logical decision-making or planning. While the metaphorical Waiting Room is meant to protect the personality, it leaves the individual trapped—no longer mourning, but not quite living, either. It creates a shadow existence.
Of course, it isn’t easy to step out of the safety of The Waiting Room, but it is necessary in order to move forward.