Grief Counseling in High School

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Transcript of Grief Counseling in High School

Grief Counseling in the High School SettingDeanna AinsworthUniversity of West AlabamaSC540

Benefits of this videoBasic counselor roles are outlines.Sample Crisis plan is discussed.Tips are given to help staff address grief with their students.Sample group therapy is outlined.Ethical and legal considerations are outlined.

Effectively addressing griefAdolescents in high school may experience grief in many different ways.They may experience the loss of a parent, sibling, family member, friend, acquaintance, or teacher.By the time a child exits school, 40% will experience the loss of a peer and 20% will have witnessed a death ("Guidelines for responding to the death of a student or school staff," n.d.).

Counselors RoleOften counselors are the ones reporting the loss to administration and in turn activate the schools crisis plan when dealing with a traumatic loss. Counselors are also notified of a death in the family. The counselor would want to plan an initial meeting with the student and possibly consider group therapy.

Crisis PlanActivate the schools crisis team and coordinate with administrators, other schools that may be impacted, and any outside counseling resources.Verify the information.Determine what information should be released with respect to the familys wishes.Formulate a plan on informing staff and students.

Notifying Teachers & StaffThis can be done by administrators, school guidance counselors, or district office representatives.A staff meeting should be held before school to address what information is known, answer any questions from staff, and formulate a plan on how to address the students.

Notifying StudentsMany students may already know or have heard rumors of what has happened.Notification should be done face-to-face with a familiar teacher, counselor, or staff member ("Guidelines for responding to the death of a student or school staff," n.d.).Often it is advisable for a guidance counselor or administrator to draft a sample statement for teachers to read to their students. Some teachers may feel uncomfortable discussing the incident with their students.In the staff meeting, it should be clearly outlined what should and should not be discussed with the students.

Advice to offer Teachers/StaffSaying nothing tells students their teacher is: uncaring, insensitive, unapproving, and unconfident.Teachers should:Express concernBe genuineInvite conversationListen and observeLimit personal sharingOffer reassurance(Talking with children, n.d.)

Group TherapyIdentify students in need.Meet individually with students to outline group rules and establish consent from parents/guardians.Organize meeting place and times. 8 week program is suggested.("Grief support groups in the school setting: A guide for school counselors," n.d.)

Sample 8-week group outlineTelling the story.Signs and symptoms of grief.Physical symptoms of grief and the grief cycle.The value of memories.Exploring changes and regret.Finding comfort in grief.Personal growth.Continuing bonds.("Grief support groups in the school setting: A guide for school counselors," n.d.)

Legal and EthicsThere are certain circumstances in which parents may not want the cause of death disclosed.Parents wishes must be honored, however, the death itself must be addressed.Counselors should also be aware that the release of details may cause more harm to students.

Impact on StudentsDecline in school performance.Difficultly mastering new material.May become more irritable, withdrawn, depressed, or anxious.Partake in risky activities and behaviors. Stay focused on loss.("Guidelines for responding to the death of a student or school staff," n.d.)

Impact on Schools MissionLake Havasu High Schools Mission Statement: "...we are dedicated to challenging our students, to delivering a rigorous curriculum, to developing responsible citizens, and to forming positive relationships.Improperly counseled students cannot become productive and responsible citizens who are capable of forming positive relationships.Grief is capable of consuming all aspects of a students life; whether it is at home, at school, or amongst relationships.

ReferencesGrief support groups in the school setting: A guide for school counselors. (n.d.). Retrieved from,d.eXY

Guidelines for responding to the death of a student or school staff. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Helping children cope with death. (n.d.). Retrieved February 7, 2015, from

[Photograph of chairs]. Retrieved from,d.eXY&psig=AFQjCNH8MDuM5MUE50u5vWRVlAyaNz94sg&ust=1423417610844691

[Photograph of hands covering face]. Retrieved from,d.eXY&psig=AFQjCNGU1-5aJo_ejdKUDt3bZBp_pG4H7g&ust=1423417652391938

Talking with children. (n.d.). Retrieved February 7, 2015, from

Teachers dealing with trauma and grief [Video file]. (n.d.). Retrieved from