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Parents Dealing with the Death of a Child

Presentation for Sandy's Class

Macy Halladay

on 20 November 2012

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Transcript of Parents Dealing with the Death of a Child

Treatment Interventions: “The goal of psychotherapy for grieving families is to help them turn the ghost of the lost child into a memory, freeing the energies of parents and siblings for loving relationships, further development, and creative living” (Bernstein, 1989). Dealing with Death Statistics Why This Population Needs Counseling Goals of Therapy Death of an Infant Moss, M. S., Lesher, E. L., & Moss, S. Z. (1987). Impact of the death of an adult child on elderly parents: Some observations. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 17(3), 209-218. Death of child has devastating effects on individual, marital, and family functioning A study shows that the intervention provided in the early bereavement period is a significant predictor of PTSD. (Murphy, 2003). "When a parent dies, you lose your past; when a child dies, you lose your future." - Anonymous Parents Dealing with the Death of a Child The majority of parents do not experience longterm life disruption but this population is at risk for physical and psychological health risks and grieving does not come easy for some. Parents experience severe depressive symptoms, extreme loneliness, and suicide ideation, are at risk for psychiatric hospitalization, have higher mortality rates due to suicide or natural causes One study indicated that the divorce rates among bereaved parents are as much as eight times the norm (Lehman, Wortman, & Williams, 1987). 79% of parents who lost a child have experienced a depressive episode, 83% experienced this depressive episode within the first 3 years of the death Research suggests that spouses often do grieve the loss of a child differently Many bereaved parents experience feelings of paralyzing guilt and blame. Prepare parents to deal with any future or remaining children in emotionally healthy ways (Bernstein, 1989) Provide the individual with new resources to confront the pain Helping grieving families find meaning in life by facilitating an engagement in rewarding activities. Death of a Child Death of an Adolescent (Suicide) Death of an Adult Child There are about 33,000 suicides per year in the United States, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Treatment Interventions: Group therapy is a great intervention for bereaving a child due to suicide. There are even online groups, such as Parents of Suicide Coping with losing their child to suicide is different from losing a child to homicide because the parent cannot direct anger towards something external but often form internal blame and question their role in their child’s death. 10% of all elderly parents had a child die after the parent was over the age 60 yrs. Treatment Interventions: Allowing the elder time to tell his or her story Therapist must have a willingness to listen Using metaphors Among the benefits of short term counseling groups are increases in self esteem, mental health, and social functioning and reductions in general symptoms of grief and use of psychotropic medications (Ogrodniczuk, Piper, Joyce, et al., 2002; Toth, 1997). Cognitive Behavioral Group Counseling Intervention CBT is a structured approach that clearly outlines an agenda and activities for group settings (MacNairSemands, 2004; Sikkema, et al., 2006). Techniques involve encouraging group members to gain closure through writing, visiting a cemetery, and expressing and reliving painful memories until the distress is reduced The counselor and clients choose topics related to their loss for discussion and identify common themes. The goal is to detect automatic thoughts. Once clients’ become aware of automatic thoughts, they are able to realize the consequences related to them and diminish the power associated with them especially in dealing with thoughts ob guilt or blame. CBT grief reduction groups involve stress management and coping skills especially in helping parents deal with other children within the family. Theoretical Considerations to Population Psychodynamic Counseling Interpersonal Counseling Cognitive Behavioral Counseling Often parents have dreams of having that child as a caregiver in old age. Loss of an adult child is not an expected or anticipated loss of the elderly and therefore may be a more difficult loss to resolve. Experiencing grief is necessary to heal and grow emotionally. Research has suggested that normal grieving consists of detachment from the loved one and identification with the dead person in the period after the loss. Identification with the lost person decreases or lessens the experience of detachment, but since a newborn infant has not lived long enough as an individual, parents do not have much to identify with after the loss, leading them to struggle with feelings of detachment without being able to identify with the child. Based on the latest available government statistics, approximately 150,000 children and young adults can be expected to die in the United States this year. And these statistics do not include miscarriages, stillbirths, or the deaths of older adults (age 40+) whose parent or parents survive them. (Centers for Disease Control: Deaths, Final Data) Remembering the baby- gathering memories and mementos of the baby (ameliacenter.org). Psychoeducation- offering families information on medical aspects of infant death, preparing them for the process of mourning, and helping parents understand the effects that the death may have on other members (Murray, 2010). Support from trained grief workers (Murray, 2010). Plan rituals for meaning-making (ameliacenter.org) Treatment Interventions: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy- help minimize discrepant perceptions (Znoj, 2002). The pain of the loss is continually renewed as the future unfolds without the child. The loss means daily routines and caretaking roles change dramatically (Bernstein, 1989). References (Effects of a Child's Death of on a Marital Relationship) (Impact of the death of an adult child on elderly parents) Oliver , L. E. (1999). Effects of a child’s death on the marital relationship: a review*. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 39(3), 197-227. Elklit, A., & Gudmundsdottir, D. B. (2006). Assessment of guidelines for good psychosocial practice for parents who have lost an infant through perinatal or postnatal death. Nordic Psychology, 58(4), 315-330. Judith, A. M., Deborah, J. T., John, C. V., Battistutta, D., & Connolly, Y. (2000). Effects of a program of intervention on parental distress following infant death. Death Studies, 24(4), 275-305. Murphy, S. A., Clark Johnson, L., Chung, I., & Beaton, R. D. (2003). The prevalence of PTSD following the violent death of a child and predictors of change 5 years later. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 16(1), 17-25. Znoj, H. J., & Keller, D. (2002). Mourning parents: Considering safeguards and their relation to health. Death Studies, 26(7), 545-565. Floyd, F.J., Greenberg, J., Hong, J., Rogers, C.H. & Seltzer, M.M. (2008). Long-term Effects of the Death of a Child on Parents' Adjustment in Midlife. Journal of Family Psychology. 22(2), 203-211. Para, E.A. (2009). Group Counseling for Complicated Grief: A Literature Review. Graduate Journal of Counseling Psychology. 1(2), 10. Loder, W. (2006). When a Child Dies: A Survey of Bereaved Parents. Lehmen, D.R., Wortmon, C.B., & Williams, A.F. (1987). Long-Term Effects of Losing A Spouse or Child in a Motor Vehicle Crash. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology. 52, 218-231. (Floyd et al., 2008) (Loder, 2006) (Floyd et al., 2008) (Para, 2009) (Para, 2009) (Para, 2009)
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