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Grief and Bereavement


Don't feel sorry for yourself. Constructive Suggestions for Helpers ... Creation of a safe and caring environment. Altruism: as you move on, you can help others. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Grief and Bereavement

Grief and Bereavement
  • What is it and how to help

  • Bereavement
  • State of being deprived of something. Doesnt
    have to refer to death but usually does.
  • Grief the reaction to bereavement. Many
    dimensions. A normal and healthy reaction.
  • Feelings
  • Cognitions (preoccupation, disbelief)
  • Physical sensations
  • Behaviors (sleep, eating disturbances)
  • Social difficulties
  • Increased risk of illness?
  • Spiritual searching

Variables that influence Grief
  • Nature of prior attachment/perceived value of
  • Way in which the loss occurred e.g., shocking,
    gradual, young.
  • Coping strategies of the bereaved.
  • Age of bereaved.
  • Social support available.

  • Process of coping with loss and grief
  • Bowlby and Parkes 4 Phase Model
  • Shock and numbness usually the initial reaction
    to loss. Difficulty in taking care of basic
  • Yearning and searching effort to return to
    things as they once were.
  • Disorganization unable to concentrate on
    challenges. Death has interfered with life.
  • Reorganization begin to reshape a new life
  • Similar critiques as with Kubler-Ross model.
  • Makes mourning a passive process.

Tasks of the Mourning Process
  • William Worden makes mourning an active process.
  • Accept the reality of the loss includes funeral
    process, social validation, sharing of memories,
    talking about the death, maintaining security and
  • Experience the pain of the loss permit grief,
    allow to express feelings, permit respite from
    grief. Problem occur when grief is hidden by
    drug use and denial.

Wordens Grief Tasks
  • Adjust to the environment with the deceased.
  • Use of social support network.
  • Help in dealing with problems.
  • Be aware of unasked questions and concerns.
  • Problems sense of helplessness and dependency.
  • Moving on
  • Commemoration
  • Enhance old relationships and form new ones
  • Challenge unrealistic beliefs
  • Reconstruction of a new identity
  • New activities and traditions

Disenfranchised Grief
  • Grief that persons experience when they incur a
    loss that can not be openly acknowledged or is
    not socially supported.
  • Relationship is not recognized non-traditional
    relationships, non-essential relationships.
  • Loss is not recognized miscarriage, abortion,
    loss of limb.
  • Griever is not recognized young, old, persons
    with mental disabilities.

Complicated Grief Reactions
  • Although grief is normal and appropriate, like
    everything else it can become unhealthy.
  • Excessive
  • Distorted
  • Unproductive

How Can You Help?
  • Five fundamental needs
  • Social support main variable in determining high
    vs. low grief.
  • Nutrition
  • Hydration
  • Exercise
  • Rest

Tasks in Mourning
  • Cognitive need for information. Often helps to
    make it real.
  • Affective a need to express emotions.
  • Behavioral need to mark or take notice of the
    death through an external event or action (e.g.,
    tree, funeral, scrapbook).
  • Valuational make sense of the loss, find meaning.

Unhelpful Messages
  • Dont try to minimize the loss e.g., you can get
    married again.
  • Suggestions that strong grief reactions are
    inappropriate e.g., be strong, youll be fine.
  • Suggestions to get back to living and disturb
    others with your grief.

Constructive Suggestions for Bereaved
  • Dont blame self.
  • Dont try to be brave and strong.
  • Dont try to run away.
  • Dont feel you owe it to deceased to stay where
    they lived.
  • Dont feel sorry for yourself.

Constructive Suggestions for Helpers
  • Do something specific to help.
  • Respect preferences to be alone.
  • Do not avoid contact with bereaved.
  • Act normally and naturally in referring to the
  • Allow bereaved to determine when they want to
    talk about the deceased.
  • Dont force your beliefs on the grieving.
  • Dont say I know how you feel.

Societal Programs
  • One on one intervention peer counseling.
  • Hospice follow-up transitional. Usually lasts
    12-18 months.
  • Support groups help from others who have had
    similar experience.
  • Some are practical groups, some provide social
    support (of course, some do both!).

Support Groups
  • Helping Factors
  • Degree of universality you realize that
    reactions are not unique or bizarre.
  • Allows catharsis.
  • Provides guidance through example.
  • Instillation of hope.
  • Creation of a safe and caring environment.
  • Altruism as you move on, you can help others.