Counselling » BEREAVEMENT
Bereavement is a normal response for us to be sad when we lose someone. Bereavement is the period of sadness and loneliness that we experience when we lose a loved one. When we experience bereavement, we are trying to adjust to the loss. We typically associate the feelings of loss during bereavement with the death of a loved one. However, the loss can be due to other factors. For example, it is possible for someone to experience bereavement as a result of losing a spouse in a divorce. It is also possible for children to experience bereavement when their best friend moves away to another state. (Education Portal)
KUBLER-ROSS AND STAGES OF GRIEF
Dr Elisabeth Kübler-Ross pioneered methods in the support and counselling of personal trauma, grief and grieving, associated with death and dying. She also dramatically improved the understanding and practices in relation to bereavement and hospice care. Her ideas, notably the five stages of grief model(denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance), are transferable to varying degrees and in different ways, to personal change and emotional upset resulting from factors other than death and dying.
IS THERE A NORMAL LENGTH OF TIME TO GRIEVE?
Mourning the loss of a loved one is one of the hardest experiences in life. We each mourn differently, for different lengths of time and while experiencing different degrees of loss. However, in some cases, the depth and length of the mourning period may signal that a person needs counseling.(Linda Foster, MA)
It’s terribly difficult to sum up how to support a child or teenager without being overly general because, just like big wrinkly humans, they are complicated individuals who think, feel, act, and react to life in their own unique ways.
An adolescent’s grief can be impacted by any number of things including but not limited to, their unique relationship with the individual, how the individual died, their support system, past experiences with death, and their own unique strengths and weaknesses when it comes to dealing with stress, adversity, and high emotion. Grownups seeking to support an adolescent should try to remember that a wide range of responses are considered ‘normal’ and there’s no one formula for providing support.
Fortunately conventional wisdom says the best way to support a grieving adolescent is to ‘companion’ them, which is just a fancy way of saying be there for them and you (hopefully) already know how to do. You can ‘companion’ a teen by supporting them, talking openly and honestly, listening, allowing them to grieve how they want, and allowing them to decide how they will cope (with the exception of self-destructive behaviors). (What's your grief, 2013-2014)
When a family member dies, children react differently from adults. Preschool children usually see death as temporary and reversible, a belief reinforced by cartoon characters who die and come to life again. Children between five and nine begin to think more like adults about death, yet they still believe it will never happen to them or anyone they know.
Adding to a child's shock and confusion at the death of a brother, sister, or parent is the unavailability of other family members, who may be so shaken by grief that they are not able to cope with the normal responsibility of childcare.
Parents should be aware of normal childhood responses to a death in the family, as well as signs when a child is having difficulty coping with grief. It is normal during the weeks following the death for some children to feel immediate grief or persist in the belief that the family member is still alive. However, long-term denial of the death or avoidance of grief can be emotionally unhealthy and can later lead to more severe problems. (American Acadamey of child and adolescent psychiatry, www.aacap.org)