Gift of Tears: A Practical Approach to Loss and Bereavement in Counselling and Psychotherapy

Gift of Tears: A Practical Approach to Loss and Bereavement in Counselling and Psychotherapy

Gift of Tears: A Practical Approach to Loss and Bereavement in Counselling and Psychotherapy

Gift of Tears: A Practical Approach to Loss and Bereavement in Counselling and Psychotherapy

Synopsis

This thoroughly revised & updated edition includes new research & examples of recent events to help illustrate the effects of loss. 'Gift of Tears' is intended for counsellors, therapists, mental health professionals & others who find that they have to cope with the grief of clients & patients.

Excerpt

Many of those who work with people in a helping capacity or just as fellow humans come across loss in the course of these human interactions. For instance, we might notice tears in a friend's eyes as we chat over coffee about last night's television programme. In a more formal context, as a teacher for example, we might be puzzled by the behaviour of a child whose parents are divorcing; or as a social worker, be troubled by an elderly person's difficulties when faced with residential care; or as a doctor, feel anger when a patient talks of his redundancy notice; or as a nurse, feel anxious when talking to relatives of a dying patient; or as a father, feel helpless when a daughter cannot be reconciled to the loss of a pet; or we may be just confused when a neighbour cannot seem to get over her youngest leaving home. Of course, we may also have been, indeed we may also still be, or may soon be, that awkward child, that lonely old person, that redundant worker, that bereaved relative, that abandoned parent. There is a sense in which all of us have suffered and share in the suffering of every kind of loss.

When the two of us sat down to write this book we remembered how we had met, one of us a physiologist and the other a linguist, and had talked to one another of the very different losses we had each experienced. We remembered how frightened and alone we had each felt with our separate griefs and how often we had hidden our tears from other people. By the time we met we had each been enabled, through the presence of another person, to work through our separate griefs and to lay down some of the burdens we had been carrying. We had also worked, in different contexts, with many who had suffered loss. We decided to set up courses together to train those who were working with the grieving. We were aware of the fear of grief in society and yet we also knew, with Swinburne, that grief is an integral part of the time-span of human life and that tears are the natural response.

In thinking about the elements that had helped reduce our own fears, we realised what we valued in particular. At an emotional level, we remembered the invaluable presence of another in our grief work, and at a cognitive level, the knowledge we had received from training. Knowledge gained from studies of adult and child bereavement and from studies on the effectiveness of

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