Loss and Grief – Consolidation and Ending
The aim of this essay is to demonstrate my view of the place of loss within the human experience, discussing what it means for a person to grieve a loss and how a person-centred counsellor may facilitate the process. I will consider some ways in how people may experience loss throughout the course of their life spans. I will go on to discuss and critically appraise a model of the grieving process hypothesised by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. I will then go on to examine the above in relation to the Pesron-Centred Approach. I will consider how the counsellor may facilitate the client’s grieving process, finally discussing personal issues that may impinge on the counselling process.
In order to consider ways in which a person may experience loss, it is first necessary to define its meaning. Loss is considered to be the: “losing of a person or thing or amount” (The Oxford Minidictionary, 1988, p.298). There is no clarity in how loss is defined as humans can experience many different types of loss, and of which can vary in magnitude. Due to the limit of this essay I feel that I can only give some examples of the ways in which loss is experienced. Humphrey and Zimpher state that: “Loss is an integral part of life. It is not something that happens to us as we live; rather, it is life itself” (Humphrey and Zimpher, 2008, p.3). This implies that there is inevitability about loss. That it is bound to happen, whether it is the losing a person through death, the loss of youth as a person growing into adulthood, or even the loss of an object.
A way in which to differentiate loss is to categorise it. Necessary or Development Loss can be seen as a loss that occurs as part of the natural process of development and maturing of a human being for example leaving the womb, being weaned, children leaving parents to go to school, young age adults leaving their family of origin. These leavings make up much of the loss that humans experience as part of the natural process of growing up, maturing, ageing and dying.
Another category of which loss falls into is: Circumstantial, which although is not necessarily an integral part of our developmental process it can relate to our own unique experiences and circumstances. Many of these losses can be traumatic as examples can include the death of a loved one, separation, divorce, disfigurement, serious illness or even the loss of a treasured object. These two categories are considered to be in conjunction with one another.
Loss is considered to be a fundamental aspect of the lives of all people from early childhood until death. It is experienced in different ways and people perceive loss to be in many types and magnitudes as mentioned above. Some losses are perceived as relatively minor (for example the loss of a hat) and others are perceived to be relatively major. Major loss can be conceptualised as: “The loss of something in a person’s life in which the person was emotionally invested. This loss can involve an important person or some other entity.” (Harvey, 2002, p.5) It is from this emotional investment that can lead to how major the loss is perceived. The more emotionally attached to something or someone the more the magnitude of the loss is if experienced. Other losses can be defined as Primary (initial) and Secondary Losses, of which a secondary loss is seen as a physical or psychosocial loss that coincides or develops as a consequence of the primary loss, highlighting the impact of effects associated with the experience of loss. There are past losses of which a new loss may bring up feelings about past losses therefore grieving over a major loss may bring about grief over our history of loss. Pileup of losses is the experience of a multiple of losses in a short period of time of which emotional distress may be at its highest during these periods of time.
As mentioned earlier I will now go onto critically appraise the model of the...
References: Harvey, J. H. (2002). Perspectives on Loss and Trauma Assaults on the Self
London: Sage Publications
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Humphrey, G.M. and Zimpfer, D.G. (2008). Counselling for Grief and Bereavement (2nd ed)
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Kubler-Ross, E. (2009). On Death and Dying What the Dying have to Teach Doctors, Nurses, Clergy and Their Own Families
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Littlewood, J. (1992). Aspects of Grief Bereavement in Adult Life
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