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Loss and grief in family settings

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Product Description

By Cynthia L Schultz

Published: 1998
Pages: 117 (PDF version)


Loss is inevitable in life, yet those who are grieving a loss often find themselves lacking proper support and resources. When not properly addressed, loss and grief can destroy individuals and families. Yet, when given a voice, the pain can begin to transform and ultimately lead to healing.

Loss and Grief in Family Settings explores the complexities of loss and the grieving process on individuals and families, and offers suggestions for coping with pain and striving for restoration. Highlights include:

  • Importance of discussing death despite the discomfort
  • Demystification of masculine grief
  • Complicated grieving in families affected by dementia
  • Multidimensionality of bereavement
  • Grief resulting from permanent alteration by tragedy

Few of us would have difficulty recognising death as the most salient form of loss. The introductory feature in this Issue is a parable written by Richard A Kalish (1985) in his book Death, Grief, and Caring Relationships and reproduced by kind permission of his offsprings: Rachel Kalish, Daniel Kalish, and Leah Kalish McGarrigle. The author used dramatic and unforgettable imagery to remind those who have chosen to work in the helping and health care professions that they do not have the luxury of ignoring 'the horse on the dining-room table', namely, death, and that there is a way by which death can be rendered less powerful. This occurs when grief, the universal response to loss, is given voice and the healing process begins.

The contributions to this Special Issue represent one way of giving voice to the grief associated with loss in its many forms. As Schneider (1984) wrote, 'losses include internal events, systems of belief, and the process of growth and aging as well as the easily recognized losses, such as death and divorce'. Through the written word, research and practice is in the position to pave the way for a deeper understanding and wider acknowledgment of the dynamics of grief.

Although death is one of its most prominent forms, loss has many causes: illness, divorce, permanent disability, forced separation from family, among others. Bull discusses individuals and families coping with dementia and the paucity of adequate support services. Doka & Martin examine masculine grief as a widely misunderstood, yet entirely valid, style of grieving. Baker & McMurray look at ongoing bereavement with the loss of lifestyle, role and involvement for post-divorce (non-custodial) fathers.

Two of the contributed papers focus in particular on masculine responses to loss. Kenneth Doka and Terry Martin present a pattern of masculine grief and appropriate counselling interventions, while Ronald Baker and Anna McMurray report on a study of noncustodial fathers, with particular reference to loss of involvement in their children's schooling. From The Netherlands comes a review of the literature on the impact a child's death has on parents; Iris Dijkstra and Margaret Stroebe highlight the urgent need for a methodologically sound research base, which will in turn open the way for enquiry of direct relevance to 'highly vulnerable subgroups of bereaved parents'. An examination of losses in families affected by dementia is the topic of Michael Bull's study. Courtesy of the publishers, Paul H Brookes, comes an excerpt from the forthcoming book by Elizabeth Bruce and Cynthia Schultz, Grieving Nonfinite Loss: A Therapeutic Approach.

This Special Issue will be of considerable interest to readers, particularly given the surge of recognition in more recent times of the impact that loss and grief has on individuals and families. It represents important reading for researchers, lecturers and students of family studies, as well as counsellors and professionals specializing in loss or bereavement.

Table of Contents

Editorial (1)
Cynthia L Schultz

Editorial (2)
Cliff Picton, Peter E Foreman, Carl L Parsons

The horse on the dining-room table: Being an excerpt from the book 'Death, Grief, and Caring Relationships'
Richard A Kalish

Masculine responses to loss: Clinical implications
Kenneth J Doka, Terry Martin

The impact of a child's death on parents: A myth (not yet) disproved?
Iris C Dijkstra, Margaret S Stroebe

Losses in families affected by dementia: Coping strategies and service issues
Michael A Bull

Contact fathers' loss of school involvement
Ronald J Baker, Anne M McMurray

Griefing nonfinite loss: Being an excerpt from the forthcoming book 'Grieving Nonfinite Loss: A Therapeutic Approach'
Elizabeth J Bruce, Cynthia L Schultz

Practice Notes

Lost or not found: A place to be me
Lloyd Owen

A picture in mind: A reflection on a cartoon as a metaphor for relationship counselling
Kerry Bergin

Working transculturally with bereaved clients and families
Meg Renfrey

Road trauma: Dealing with loss and grief
Margaret Haywood

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