Anger, oppression, withdrawal, acting out, noncompliance, frustration, and confusion are all typical grief responses (Metzger, 2002). The stages of grief that an adolescent goes through may be the same for adults. It is important to allow these teens to express their feelings for the loss of their loved ones and be heard by someone they trust. Adolescents also must receive help in developing coping skills when losses occur. It is important for the teen to not feel alone. Providing them with group counseling for grieving teens can give all of these things to help them get through such a traumatic event.
Literature Review Bereavement is to mourn or grieve a lost loved one. Many youth become bereaved due to the death of a family member or friend (Cord, Nab, & Cord, 2008). In order to understand how grieving youth respond to the loss of a loved one, it is important for counselors and others working with youth to understand how bereavement impacts adolescent development and how adolescent development impacts bereavement. Adolescent development occurs in three phases: early adolescence, middle adolescence, and later adolescence. This was an idea introduced by Peter Blobs in 1979.
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Early adolescence is considered to be approximately ages 10- 14, middle is 15- 17, ND late is 18-22 (Muss, 1996). These ages differ from case to case for all people and attaining the age of 22 years does not necessarily mark the end of adolescents. There are people that throughout their adult years remain indecisive about accepting responsibility. Bereaved adolescents face not only the uncertainty and confusion of their grief but also “ambivalence engendered by maturational phase conflicts” (Fleming & Adolph, 1986, p. 104). Adolescents can face grief in a multitude of ways.
The way adolescents Cope with tasks and conflicts may depend On their phase Of adolescent development (Balk, 201 1). No matter the stage of development there is often a pattern to the grieving process that most adolescents may experience. Cascara (2004) outlines the stages many adolescents may go through when dealing with grief. Cascara’s stages of grief are shock and denial, anger and resentment, despair and depression, and finally, acceptance and incorporation into their world. These stages follow an order that is interchangeable depending on the person.
For instance, according to Cascara, after a loved one is lost, the adolescent may first feel shock and is overcome by the mourning. They don’t want to believe it so may believe they will see heir loved one the next day, or later on. Anger and resentment follow. They may be mad at the lost one, a family member, or a higher power that they believe in for taking someone important in their life. Depression can result from self-blame or the sudden change of day to day life. When acceptance occurs, the adolescent can resume life by continuing with day to day activities and accepting their loss although many emotions may still arise.
Cascara’s stages of grief is one of many researchers who have looked into the topic of grief. Elisabeth Kibble-Ross (1969) is one of the major contributors to defining the takes of grief that someone endures when a loved one dies. Kibble-Rose’s stages include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. People do not necessarily experience every one of the stages and sometimes they may go back and forth between a stage or even skip a stage. The stages below all have different traits. Denial The first Stage that Kibble-Ross (1969) describes is the denial and isolation stage.
During the denial and isolation phase, a grieving person does not want to admit the loss has happened. For example, a common reaction might be this is not real or this is not happening to me. They may believe the person is still alive and they will be able to see or talk to them again in a short time. Anger The next stage in Kibble-Rose’s grieving process is anger. During this stage of grief the person and others experience anger over the loss of the loved one. The mourning person may ask the following question: “Why did this have to happen to me? How dare they leave me? Anger towards a higher power or even themselves might be present as well. Feelings of anger are natural and happen to many people who have lost someone they care about. Bargaining In the bargaining stage, people try to bargain with a higher power. They vow to be a better person if there “God” will allow their love one to live. The conversation that they have may sound something like the following: “I’ll be a better person if I can see again. ” At this stage a mourning person may still have hope, could be slightly in the denial stage still, and is desperate to see or talk to the person that they lost.
Depression Depression occurs when reality of the death sets in and the death has to be accepted. The person who is grieving feels overwhelmed and experiences hopelessness and defeat. They may say “I can’t bear this anymore,” or “I don’t are anymore! ” Suicidal thoughts may arise and the person may question his or her own life without that person they lost in it. They may feel like they cannot go on living and may look for a way out. Acceptance The final stage of grief is acceptance. During this stage, the person realizes that death is inevitable.
They accept that they and their loved ones are immortal. Their response maybe: “l am ready to take on life and whatever it brings. ” At this stage they may go back to work or school. They may also partake in a new hobby or find a new friend to talk to and relate with. The Emory of their loved one does not disappear, they just realize how to move on and live their own life in a healthy manner. Nobody that experiences such a significant loss is untouched by it. It is important that an adolescent has a support system and is provided with opportunities to voice their feelings and process the grief stages.
Provide adolescents with opportunities to share and discuss their feelings and concerns and encouraging them to resume normal roles and routines or develop new routines, are two effective ways to help deal with grief (Center for Mental Health in Schools, 2009). When a young person’s world is shattered with grief, security can be found in talking about their loved one or how they are feeling about the loss. Comfort for the grieving adolescent is found in predictable day-to-day activities, development of routines and less focus on the loss and negative event.
Adults such as family members or counselors can encourage adolescents to use positive strategies for coping with stress and face the hard times. Parents or families do not always have the resources to help their young ones. Opportunities can be given at school with one-on-one counseling or tit group counseling. Research shows that talking with other students who have been through similar situations can help adolescents accept and move on from losing a loved one. It is important that a school counselor finds proactive ways to give support to a grieving adolescent.
Early interventions support teens in their grieving process by providing a meaningful relationship with at least one caring adult or peer. Children with strong social support systems are less likely to attempt suicide from depression or make decisions that may detriment their future or growing process (Goldman, 2004). Group Rationale Since research shows that students suffering from the death of a loved one need to be heard, I will develop a group to address the needs of these students. My group will help students work through the grieving stages while getting the needed support of an adult as well as peers.
The students in this group will be allowed to experience the emotions they are having in a safe environment. The members of the group will work together through the group process in an effort to share and validate their feelings. Accurate information will be shared as we will spend time discussing death and dying s well as reading excerpts from books. Members will be allowed to gain insight and knowledge relating to their fears and concerns. Members will be assured that these sessions will be a place to come where they can express their fears and talk about how to deal with this loss in their life.
My group will be closed and include 8 boys and girls from ages 15-18. The members of my grief group will have experienced the death of a loved one within the past month to three years. My group members will be at different stages in the grieving process and can learn from others at each stage. The roof will meet 45 minutes once a week for eight weeks. The sessions Will begin at 3:30 p. M. And end at 4:15 p. M. Every Thursday in my office. If a school holiday should fall on a Thursday, then we will make the session up on the Tuesday before. The regular school day ends at 0 so students may take care of any needs before attending group.
Students interested in group will be given a parent consent form to complete (Appendix D). Group Objectives 1 . To provide group members a safe place to express their feelings related to their loss as well as to work through the stages of grief. 2. To help students understand their reactions to change is normal. 3. To provide education on issues related to death, dying, and loss as they apply to adolescents during their current developmental stage. 4. To develop tools and skills that will allow group members to effectively cope with the grief and the loss that they are experiencing. . To build a peer support network with peer who are experiencing similar issues. 6. To help restore self-confidence and self- esteem Session 1 Getting to Know Each Other Goals: 1. To set ground rules and expectations 2. To begin the process of building trust within the group 3. To discover that they are not alone in their hurting and find common grounds 4. To assess their own states of mind and willingness to be in group Materials: 1 . Get to know you activity/questions (Appendix A) 2. Chart paper 3. Markers 4. Poster Board Process: Welcome the group members.
Explain how they all have some things in common and they are all there to learn some ways to begin to heal from their hurt. Tell the group they will be meeting for the eight week period each Thursday at 3:30. Activity 1 Get to know you activity/questions (Appendix A) Draw and answer questions Discussion Questions: What have you learned or discovered about the group? What have you learned or discovered about yourself? What similarities and differences do you see? Activity 2 Ask the group the following questions and brainstorm ideas on chart paper. 1.
What do you think would be useful to make this group feel like a safe and warm place where you could feel comfortable to share? 2. What would it take to make you want to come back each week? 3. How should we behave? Review the list together and circle the rules that the group agrees are most important. Write the final list on a poster board to have available for each session. Follow up with the following discussion questions: 1. Why will it be important for each of us to follow the rules? 2. What might happen if group members choose to ignore the rule?
Closing: Close the session by reminding members of the confidentiality rules and ask each member to share something that stood out for them during the session. Session 2 Goal Setting 1. To understand a long-range plan for the group 2. To be introduced to the importance of goal setting 3. TO set individual goals for the group and record them on a goals sheet 1 . Getting Serious about Goals (Appendix B) 2. What got me here? (Appendix C) Activity 1 – What got me here? I will introduce this activity to start session 2. It will last 20-30 minutes. I will allow time to discuss the emotions experienced during the activity.
Activity 2 – Getting Serious about Goals Give a brief overview of the long-range plan for the group. Ask the question Can anyone think of reasons why setting goals for the group might be a good idea? FOCUS on the importance of setting individual goals in order to profit fully from the group experience by committing to the group process, to other members of the group and to personal growth. Discussion Questions: What is a goal? Why do we need them? In what way will they help me? Closing: Pass out the “Getting Serious about Goals” sheet and have the members complete and bring back to next session.
Session 3 Why Me? 1. To help members understand their feelings as a result of their loss. 2. To help members understand that support is available and that they are not alone. 3. To help members understand the fears and anxieties that they will face. 4. To help members understand that death is natural and part of life. 1. Share Some Statistics (Appendix E) 2. A hat or bucket 3. A pretend microphone (a hairbrush can be substituted for this if necessary) 4. Journals Activity: Share Some Statistics from the Hat Cut apart the statistics from Appendix E and put them in a hat or bucket.
Have group members take turns pulling out a slip of paper from the hat or bucket and reading it aloud to the group using the “microphone”. After all of the statistics have been shared, discuss whether or not members had heard any of them or experienced any of them before. Process: Group members participate in the Share Some Statistics from the Hat Activity and discuss what they got out of it. Discuss the fact that sometimes we think that we are alone, but then we listen to what someone else has to say, and we realize that we are not alone.
If there are others who are going through similar experiences, then there must be things that we can do to assist them through their grief. Closing: Members are to think of at least two people who are support to them this week. They then will write about their experiences with these people in their journal and come to the next session ready to share. Remind members of date and time of next session. Session 4 Learning the Stages of Grief 1. To understand the stages of grief . To understand that everyone goes through the stages at different times 3.
To understand where each individual is in the grief cycle and how to progress 1. Kibble-Ross Handout (Appendix F) 1 copy per member and 1 large copy on poster board 2. Chart paper, markers, tape 3. Personal Journals Open with discussion of Journals from last week. How have these individuals been there to help you? Have they lost a loved one or the same loved one as you? How do they handle this? Discuss the Kibble-Ross Handout with the members. Identify each stage and discuss the vocabulary. Have members select a word phrase that best fits heir feelings about the loss and place it on the chart paper.
Follow up with the following discussion questions: 1 . Where would you have placed the word phrase two months ago? 2. Where would you have placed the word phrase at the time of the loss? 3. Where would you like to see the word phrase? 4. What do you think helped you move to the present stage? Members will make a journal entry describing the stage where they are at the present time. Session 5 Remembering Our Loved Ones 1. To encourage students to remember his/her loved one as realistically as possible. 2. Provide the opportunity to share special memories. 3.
Help students understand that it is important to remember our loved one and that our memories can help us through our grieving process. Materials: 1. Handout (Appendix H) 2. Journals 3. Markers and crayons Activities Ask students to share any journal entries from the previous session’s discussion about grief. Ask them if they thought of any questions since the last meeting. Do a quick round and ask them how they are feeling about the group in a sentence or two. Process: 1. Take about 10-15 minutes and have the students work on the handout about their memories. 2. Have students share their memories of their loved one. 3.
Open a discussion about how sharing our memories can help with feeling better and that it is important to remember the person we lost. 4. Discuss ways that you can help remember your loved one (i. E. Make a memory box, make a scrapbook, make a collage, other ideas from students). Closing Discuss with the students: How did it feel to talk about your loved one being gone and finding ways to remember them by? Invite the students to do some work in their journal about memories they have and write them down. Also, invite the students to talk to their family about special memories they have with the person who died. Session 6
Relating to Grieving Others 1. To help members understand that others feel similar to them when they experience a loss. 2. To encourage members to respond emphatically when helping others through grief. 3. To give members the opportunity to practice this skill in group. Materials: 1. Draw a Picture Activity (Appendix J) 2. Pencil Draw a Picture Activity Students are given a copy of Appendix J and they follow the directions at the top. They draw a picture of something that represents grief to them and then they include 2-3 sentences about their picture. When they are done, they share their picture with one other person in group.
Process: Members participate in the activity and then share one thing that they got from drawing their picture in addition to one thing that they got from sharing their picture. Closing: Members are given a homework assignment to look through their journals and evaluate their experience of the group. After they have done this, they are to write a page about how they are feeling knowing that the group will soon be coming to an end. What do they think that they will take with them when they leave the group? What is something that they learned about themselves by participating in the group? Session 7 Building Self-Confidence .
To build self-confidence in the ability to heal 2. To be able to recognize the signs of letting go in a positive manner 1. Chart paper and markers 2. Grief Affirmation Cards (Appendix l) Activity 1 – Write the following on chart paper – “l know I am getting better and stronger when… “. Have members work in pairs to finish the sentence with as many statements as possible. I will then ask each member to share one sentence that stood out for them as well as one sentence from their partner that stood out. Activity 2 – Grief Affirmation Cards Each member will get a list of affirmation statements that have been put on art stock.
Members will choose three of the statements that best suits them. Members will take turns as each one reads their statements. The following discussion questions will be asked: What made you choose the statements? What sorts of feelings did you have when you read the statements? What fears do you have about following through with the statements? How is leaving the support Of the group going to affect your affirmations? Closing: Ask members to make a journal entry describing the fears of leaving the group. Session 8 Closure and Evaluations Closure and Evaluation 1.
To gather feedback of Group from each member . To give each member the opportunity to have written closure 3. To create a safe space for feelings generated by closure 1. Evaluation handout (Appendix G) 2. Candle and matches or lighter Ask members to fill out the evaluation form. Go around the circle and ask each member to tell something they learned from being in the group and one way they contributed to the group. Activity Candle Ask members to stand in a circle. Will begin by holding the lighted candle and ask each member to say one word that describes how they are feeling about leaving the group.
When the candle has passed through the entire roof, I will pass it around one more time and ask each member to state the name of their loved one who died and then follow it with one of their grief affirmation statements. Closing: Each member will have refreshments to celebrate the life of their loved one and the progress each member made during the group process. Appendix A Getting to know one another Breaking the Ice This exercise will help each group member to learn more about one another. If we are strangers at this moment, we won’t be unfamiliar with one another after we participate in this activity.
If we do happen to know members of our roof now, we just might find out something new about one another. Questions will be asked. Member can answer the questions one at a time around a circle. (Remember: members may choose to pass on a question at any time; if they would like more time to think about the question or if they would simply like to pass) It is important for all participants to listen to each other’s response. We are all essential pieces of this group and let us keep in mind that each of us is unique and a vital element of our puzzle.