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GRIEF AND LOSS – INTERVENTIONS WITH CHILDREN. SMH Intern Training October 17, 2012 Cyndy Lum , LCSW. Definition- Grief and Loss. Grief is an inevitable, never-ending temporary disruption in a routine, a separation, or a change in a relationship that may be beyond the person’s control. This - PowerPoint PPT Presentation




Grief is an inevitable, never-endingtemporary disruption in a routine, aseparation, or a change in a relationship thatmay be beyond the persons control. Thisdisruption, change, or separation causes painand discomfort and impacts the personsthoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Althoughloss is a universal experience, the causes andmanifestations of it are unique to eachindividual and may change over time.(Fiorini & Mullen, 2006, p. 10)Definition- Grief and LossDeath of parent or primary caregiverDeath of close friendDeath of family memberDeath of classmateSerious illness of parent or loved oneDivorce of parentsIncarceration/separation

Move to new homeChange of schoolsDeath of petIllness, loss of health for self or family memberLoss of peer friendshipBreakup of relationshipBirth of a siblingMilitary deployment of parent

Major Losses Other Losses

Grief Stats: Michelle A. Post, MA, LMFT , (310) 927-5611 , Email: michpost@ca.rr.comKenneth Doka, Editor of OMEGAJournal

1 in 5 children will experience the death of someone close by the age of 18

1 in 20 children will experience the death of a parent by the age of 18

Early Theoretical ModelsJohn Bowlby and Colin Parks, 1970Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, On Death and Dying, 19694 phases of young childs separation responseNumbnessYearning and protestDisorganization and despairReorganization

5 stages of grief


1. To Accept the Reality of the Death to accept that the deceased will not be a part of everyday life2. To Experience the Pain of the Death to experience the intense feelings of grief and work through them3. To Adjust to an Environment in which the Deceased is Missing to work through the struggles of practical everyday life where the deceased is no longer there4. To Relocate the Dead Person within Ones Life and Find Ways to Memorialize the Person to reinvest ones energies in life and integrate the memories of the deceased in a new relationship

William Wordens 4 Tasks of MourningExploring Your Own Grief

A C T I V I T YAnd Listen

Hes an undercover agent. You have to keep his secret.DVD available for purchase grahamtallman@yahoo.comCODENAME: SIMONMichelle A. Post, MA, LMFT , (310) 927-5611 , Email:

How do childrenperceive death?


Irritability and cryingChanges in sleeping and eating patternsBowel/bladder disturbancesReacts/responds to parental griefWAYS TO HELP

Have a consistent, nurturing caregiverConsistency in routines and affection

Normal Grief Responses and Reactions 0 to 2 yearsGrief ReactionsBelieves death is reversibleCan become withdrawn, depressedNightmares, agitated at nightMay ask questions over and overSeparation anxiety cant sleep alone, over clingingMay seem unaffected in their playWays to HelpSimple, honest words and phrasesEmphasize death is permanent and can be understoodExplain that the child did not cause the death and death is not a punishmentListen to the childs feelings, thoughts and concernsAges 2 to 5Grief ReactionsBeginning to understand that death is final but wont happen to themMagical thinking feels responsible for the deathLacks verbal ability to express strong feelings of griefMay act as though nothing happened (defense mech.)Death is represented by monsters and ghostsWays to HelpHelp children cope by giving simple, accurate info.Be aware there may be confused thinkingOffer physical outlets (punching bag, pillows)Include in funeral ritualsGive reassurance about the future and surviving parentEncourage regular routinesAges 6 to 9Grief ReactionsUnderstands death is finalDifficulties concentratingCuriosity about what happens when someone diesIdentifies with deceased imitates mannerismsHas the vocabulary to express grief but may choose not toBegins to search for their own philosophy of life and death

Ways to HelpNeeds encouragement in discussing their concernsOffer honest and direct answersAllow child to draw, use physical outletsDo not avoid questions the child may haveCreate opportunities to talk as a familyAges 9 to 12Grief ReactionsShock, denial, anxiety, distress, anger, depressionDifficulties concentratingDecline in school workMay complain of physical pains, fatigue, drowsinessBecome withdrawn, isolatedIncreased risk taking, drug or alcohol useDifficulties controlling moodWays to HelpMay feel vulnerable, allow them to talkReactions similar to adults but they have fewer coping skillsAsk who they are talking with about the death, encourage them to express themselvesInclude in funeral and memorial ritualsEncourage regular routinesAdolescentsGroup Activity: What Happened?Purpose: Have members do a drawing/writing activity to share memories of how the person died, how they were told, and their reactions to the deathMaterials: paper, markers, crayons, colored pencils

Include in the drawing or writing activity how the person died, who told you about the death, what did you remember feeling, seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, or touching. Were you in the hospital? Were you able to say goodbye? Did you see the body?What was the most surprising thing about the death? Add a title to the activityShare the project with your other group members

From: Week 3 Grief Curriculum by Michelle Post

Individual and family therapyGroup counseling or support groupsUse of art - drawing, collage BibliotherapyWriting poems, stories, memory bookMusic listening or composingDance movement therapyFaith based prayer, meditationCultural practices Being a caring adult who listens and cares

Interventions with Children who are GrievingBe present to them with loving compassionPermit teens to own their own pain. To empathize is one thing; to interfere is another.Listen with your heart. Allow their sorrow to surface so they can heal.Accept all expressions of griefPermit the teen to talk about the deceased. Talking is therapeutic.Be available to comfort during bouts of intense grief and loneliness.Encourage rest, nutrition and exercise.A simple thinking of you note promotes healingBe willing to listen again and again. Discussing the deceased is important to healing.Mention the deceased by name. It encourages communication.How to Comfort the Bereaved TeenCircle of Life, Phoenix, Arizona

Closing Ceremony: Releasing the Balloons

RESOURCESMichelle A. Post, Happenings: 8-9 Week Grief Group for Children and ParentsOur House, support groups for children, teens and surviving parents (310) 475-0299The Compassionate Friends, South Bay Chapter (310)368-6845For bereaved parents and siblingsSurvivors after Suicide contact Sam and Lois Bloom (310)377-8857New Hope Grief Support Community grief support and education groups for children and adults (562) 429-0075The Gathering Place support groups for loss of a child and support groups for children and teens. (310) 374-6323