Family Focused Grief Therapy: A Model of Family-Centered Care during Palliative Care and Bereavement

Family Focused Grief Therapy: A Model of Family-Centered Care during Palliative Care and Bereavement

Family Focused Grief Therapy: A Model of Family-Centered Care during Palliative Care and Bereavement

Family Focused Grief Therapy: A Model of Family-Centered Care during Palliative Care and Bereavement


"To those of us who have been aware of the innovative service to families facing death and bereavement that has been developed by David W. Kissane and Sidney Bloch this book has been eagerly awaited. Their work is a logical development in the field of Palliative Care in which it has long been recognized that, when life is threatened, it is the family (which includes the patient) which is, or ought to be, the unit of care.
The work also has great relevance for the wider field of bereavement care...all who work to help families at times of death and bereavement will find much to learn from this book which represents a useful addition to our understanding of the losses which, sooner or later, we all have to face."
- Colin Murray Parkes Family members are often intimately involved in the care of dying people and themselves require support through both their experience of palliative care and bereavement. This innovative book describes a comprehensive model of family care and how to go about it - Family Focused Grief Therapy is an approach which is new, preventive, cost effective and with proven benefits to bereaved people. It describes a highly original and creative approach to bereavement care, one likely to revolutionize psychosocial care in oncology, hospice or palliative care and grief work.

The book has been designed rather like a therapy manual, providing a step-by-step approach to assessment and intervention. Its rich illustration through many clinical examples brings the process of therapy alive for the reader, anticipating the common challenges that arise and describing how the therapist might respond. Families are recognised throughout as the central social unit, pivotal to the success of palliative care.

Family Focused Grief Therapy will be of use to doctors, nurses, psychologists, social workers, pastoral care workers, psychiatrists and other allied health professionals who work in caring for the dying and for their bereaved relatives. Based soundly on a decade of internationally regarded research, this book will alter the direction of future medical practice and is destined to become a classic in its field.


I first met David Kissane, one of the authors of this book, in Sheffield in 1996. During his short visit he gave a lecture at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital on work with Sidney Bloch (his co-author here) in formulating, providing and evaluating a remarkable palliative care service for families in Melbourne, Australia. Here indeed was a team which took seriously the idea that in palliative care it is the entire family which should be supported. Their work appeared to offer a new model of grief therapy, which began whilst the person called the 'patient' was still alive and continued with the bereaved family members in the period after death. the project was being developed with remarkable energy and rigour and I had no hesitation in inviting those concerned to write a book about it for the Facing Death series. David Kissane and Sidney Bloch have done this in a work which both has something new to say and does so in the most lucid manner. I commend it to all palliative care workers (and not only those specialized in bereavement) as well as to those responsible for palliative care service development and evaluation.

Family Focused Grief Therapy by David Kissane and Sidney Bloch is the tenth volume to appear in the Facing Death series. So it marks a useful point at which to reconsider the aims of the series and to reflect on progress to date. From modest beginnings we now have a rich and expanding array of titles and a growing reputation for high quality writing and clarity of presentation. Our tenth volume is therefore cause for a modest sense of achievement and for celebration.

It was the interest attracted by my first book for Open University Press, The Future for Palliative Care: Issues of Policy and Practice (Clark (ed.) 1993) which led to initial discussions with Jacinta Evans about a series which might further develop this area of interest. That was in 1995. As the . . .

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