Empowerment of Bereaved Parents after the Death of their Child: Implications for Mental Healthcare Professionals

The loss of a child is the most traumatic experience parents and siblings may encounter. Grieving and mourning are natural processes that allow all family members cope with their loss. These reactions may be assessed as normal or pathological, and on all levels of existence, i.e. personal and social, while being cognitive, emotional and behavioral. Within these processes, familial practices such as frequent supportive intercommunication among all members, as well as social ones such as funerals and other cultural traditions help the grieving family find their path to healing. On the other hand, the intensity of grieving is inextricably connected to the degree to which the loss is experienced as a trauma, often leading to pathological grieving. In turn, pathological grieving can lead all members to extreme behaviors such as social isolation or parents in particular to immature decisions such as having a “replacement child” without considering the consequences thus affecting the whole family negatively. Overall, research shows the necessity of psychological support and counseling to family members during these difficult stages of grieving. Specifically, the invaluable psychological accompaniment on the healing path of the bereaved family can help all members manage their loss, acknowledge the new identity of their family, find strength to go on wisely and purpose in building anew. It may support parents redefine their lost role and regain control of the family, and mostly help siblings find their rightful place within the family living on out of the shadow of their lost beloved. Overall, it promotes those practices essential for all grieving members to learn to embrace their new life integrating their loss.

Category: Volume 57, N 2
Hits: 558 Hits
Created Date: 15-06-2018
Authors: Maria N.K. Karanikola , Anna Koutroubas-Zaphiropoulou