A family-focused approach for the treatment of grief and loss, group and family therapy

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Croll, Linda R. McFadyen
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The purpose of this practicum was to develop a comprehensive family focused program to support children and their caregivers in dealing with the death of a loved one. This practicum involved three treatment modalities: a psycho-educational support group for parents, multiple family group work, and family therapy follow-up. A corresponding practicum offered by Ms. Judy Tozeland included a children's play therapy group. Ms. Tozeland was also the co-therapist in the multiple family group. Four families, including eight children ages 8 to 12 years and six adult caregivers, participated in an eight week group program. Two families participated in family therapy follow-up. The practicum was conducted from January, 1997 to November, 1997. The practicum used a combination of systemic and developmental perspectives of family grieving. Some emergent treatment themes related to the primary issue of loss included: attachment issues, secondary losses, grieving tasks, developmental issues, family functioning patterns andparental readiness for treatment. The four families who participated in this practicum were actively involved during the duration of treatment and a strong sense of cohesion developed between the participants and therapists. All four families indicated that the program assisted in their process of accommodating to their losses.