Grief and Bereavement Research and Interventions Interest Group Proposed

Article excerpt

The pain of losing a close family member, such as a parent, is one that almost all people will endure at some point in their lives. The majority of the population going through this type of grief is adults, but what happens when a child loses a parent to death? The complex factors surrounding a child's specific age and stage of development, coupled with the nature of the loss, complicate this matter and leave many mental health professionals conflicted as to the most effective ways to intervene during this sensitive time. As a result, school psychologists must be prepared to provide counseling and interventions for bereaved students that target the unique characteristics surrounding each child's individualized loss and bereavement period. Grief is not a linear process as many have proposed through stage theories (e.g., Kubler-Ross, 1969). In developing children and adolescents, the experience is often different with respect to time and completion of the stages suggested by Kubler-Ross. "Although there is no sequential order to these stages for either adults or children, it is much more difficult and prolonged for children to complete Kubler-Ross's stages of death than for adults" (Jenkins, Dunham, & Contrera-Bloomdahl, 2011, p. 2). Thus, training school psychologists to address grief and bereavement is of paramount importance.

Consequently, we propose a call to initiate a NASP interest group focusing on school psychology grief and bereavement research and interventions. Given that this area is grossly understudied, particularly with respect to helping marginalized, underprivileged, and minority students, a group that centers on collaborating to discuss, generate, and follow through with grief and bereavement-related research and implementation of evidence-based practices within school settings is needed.

It is hoped that this interest group will significantly impact not only individual students and families who have suffered loss, but the field of school psychology as a whole. …

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