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Lecture 11

Thanatology 2200 Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: Grief Counseling, Thanatology, Grammatical Person

Course Code
THAN 2200
Eunice Gorman

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Thanatology Week 1: Notes & Ch. 10
Notes: Interventions
while helping the bereaved, our knowledge allows us to choose the appropriate
intervention that will help that specific person in their given circumstances.
* not everyone who helps the bereaved will be a counselor so some knowledge
about counseling principles can be very helpful
General Aspects of Counseling the Bereaved & Dying
1. There is a difference b/w counseling and therapy: counseling is more short-term,
supportive work that solves present problems. Therapy is more long-term and
depth-oritented looking at deeper issues with the person
2. Counseling is usually good for individuals who are grieving to help them find
support and facilitate their growth via the grief process
* Therapy? Used for complicated grief, chronic grief, exaggerated grief, delayed grief
or masked grief = more complex issues
Goals of Counseling for Bereaved & Dying
all goals are based on the idea that the client is in charge of the process and
decides what goals are important to them
We want to…
1. encourage, support and normalize the mourning process
2. help clients accept the ready and affirm the legitimacy of their feelings
3. help identify and express their full range of feelings in an appropriate way within
a safe environment
4. complete unfinished business w/ the deceased in a symbolic manner
Principles of Counseling
1. based upon respect for differences and unique aspects of individuals
2. client is the one who sets the page and determines content of discussion while we
give support, encouragement, information and challenge
3. counselors must avoid behaviors known to hinder the helping process ex) advice,
criticizing, false reassurance etc.
4. Goals to be achieved are those of the client, not the helper
5. There is a limited relationship b/w the client and counselor that focuses solely on
the needs of the client = not reciprocal relation
Two main issues w/ client-counselor relationship:
1. counselor shows detachment, objectifies the client and ignores their personhood
. counselor fuses w/ the clients feelings and have exaggerated compassion
* can use boundaries and self-care to prevent being too invested
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Foundations of Counseling
1. Psychodynamic Theory: looks at how the past influences the present, previous
losses and how these have been handled in the family in the past = better
2. Cognitive-Behavioural Theory: looks at how thoughts and feelings shape
behavior. Uses these to introduce potential interventions in how the person thinks,
feels or behaves.
3. Existential-Humanistic (Person-centered) Theory: looks at respect for uniqueness
of individuals, belief in the person’s drive to reach their full potential, integration of
the person as a whole and the need for people to find meaning in their life.
* want to provide a warm environment where the person can do their work w/o
Core Conditions for Counseling
1. Genuineness be a real person
2. Empathy ability to enter the other person’s world
3. Positive regard respect each person as an individual and believe in their
potential to grow
Communication Techniques
1. Attending shows we are paying careful attention to what the client is
* involves body language that is open and receptive
2. Listening skills ask questions, support them verbally and nonverbally, asking
for clarification, reflecting on the meaning of what they’re saying, drawing
conclusions, summarize what has been said
3. Influencing skills help the client move towards the direction they desire, may
involve reframing or reinterpreting the client’s world, making suggestions, feedback
and confrontation
Group Support
Support Group vs. Therapy Group
support groups are usually run by a non-professional where as therapy groups
are run by trainer professionals who lead the group and direct the process.
Open vs. Closed Groups
open group has no beginning or end and members can come and go. Closed
groups have a distinct start and finish and members are the same. Like a registered
Facilitator vs. Leader
facilitators attempt to give support to the members so the members feel like they
can contribute and utilize each other. Leaders on the other hand direct groups
depending on some type of agenda or schedule.
find more resources at
find more resources at
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