Read Understanding Grief: Helping Yourself Heal by Alan D. Wolfelt Free Online
Book Title: Understanding Grief: Helping Yourself Heal|
The author of the book: Alan D. Wolfelt
Date of issue: July 1st 1992
Loaded: 2252 times
Reader ratings: 4.4
ISBN 13: 9781559590389
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 7.24 MB
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This was absolutely a gold standard when I was leading bereavement groups for hospice.
Beside hospice bereavement-group referrals, this is the book I recommend to adult clients & the material I most often draw from in individual sessions & choose to teach in agency group encounters.
This would also be my first recommendation for therapist narrative education as well.
I find it most effective for the forest/journey metaphor, as it is highly explanatory, therapeutic/comforting, well encompassing of the most common as well as more complex & abstract grief-related phenomena - also contained in the book - & as used in conjuction with simpler bereavement-milestone (outreach) materials & the more outdated "8-stages" literature. Therein, it is HIGHLY effective for clients' actual understanding & an impressive level of actual client self-implementation of the material.
Moreover, the forest/journey metaphor with accompanying information & skills training is hands down the most well received model for men I've used. Typically highly reticent, culturally, especially in rural groups in my experience, I have not had one male client who has not immediately taken to the material, as the forest concept is easily understood & received as a more culturally-acceptable (i.e., "manly") & "more usable" construct, given many men's actual physical experience with or imaginings of commensurate, symbolic outdoor activities: e.g., traveling in different weather & seasonal conditions, preparation, packing, time-scheduling, endurance, rest, uphill, downhill, water-crossing & preparation for "bedding down," longer/shorter trips, given intersectionalities in representative grief circumstances such as self-care & phone-list "survival skills" during high times right after death while funeral arrangements, etc are made & many other personal-relationship, milestone, & long-term grief situations (i.e., one-year milestones when outside support people begin to stop talking about the loved one just as client is beginning to experience first anniversary, birthday, etc dates in the loved one's absence). Particularly in group settings, where public displays or discussions of grief are often highly uncomfortable for men, no less in the company of women, men not only speak voluntarily & relatively enthusiastically - given their grief but surprise at the highly permissive vehicle for expression - but are also able to inroad into highly personal feelings via discussion of feelings of the helpless protector often leading to shame barriers that are VERY effectively addressed with this method. And the experience of men speaking so openly is often a very stabilizing factor for women & younger group members, as are women's responses often an additional comfort to the original speaking male often having just lost a wife. And I don't believe I've ever had a father of adult children not say that he was planning to recommend the actual COMMUNITY, mixed-sex group to his sons, currently, & male friends in the future, just as most men, with or without children, often say of they would recommend the group to other male friends later in general.
And finally, I have also used with parents of lost children, as base material in individual session, but am surprised by their high-level attendance in mixed community bereavement groups because the model can be utilized in both milieu. Although this is of course a more intensive off-time client group that very often necessitates intensive individual encounters as primary therapy with incrementally specialized &/or mixed-community groups as part of an overall treatment plan as determined by primary clinician. However, when parents do attend mixed groups they are very often preeminent in setting an on-time/off-time continuum that can be extremely helpful to on-time sufferers with skilled group leaders, as the intensity of such a mixed group can be accommodated with this material but only with skilled clinical leadership & NOT in should-be lower-intensity volunteer settings.
And although I've seen para-professionals & advanced volunteer leaders allowed to use the material in groups, I would not recommend without high levels of training following shadowing, delineation of therapeutic boundaries not to be crossed, passive clinical co-facilitation, & high levels of clinical debriefing if clinician is not in attendance. Generally speaking, I think simpler materials & lower intensity level groups are of course more suitable for para-professionals & advanced volunteer group leaders, as this material is highly elicitous of clinical-level grief processes, especially with high-intensity clients, although it isn't really interpretable for conversion to encounter format by para-professionals straight from the book anyway. So any clinician handing off a group they're capable of formatting the material to really shouldn't be handing off that group too easily anyway, lol :) .
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