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Clinical Issues in Grief Work with Young Adults
Bet MacArthur, LICSW, and Maxine Sushelsky, LMHC
The November and January issues of Clinical Practice Today are paired as a tribute and a contemplation as we approach the first anniversary (December 14, 2012) of the Sandy Hook [CT] School massacre of twenty children and six adults.
January’s focus will be on clinical and community issues in the prevention of one-on-one and group violence. For this month’s topic, our consultant is Arlington’s Maxine Sushelsky, LMHC, whose clinical work focuses on grief and other life transitions. She offers groups for young adults, and writes a blog about pathways of grief.
CPT: Does Edith Kubler Ross’ theory about stages of grief still prevail in the field of thanatology (the description or study of death and dying and their related psychology)?
Sushelsky: Kubler Ross’s ideas do underlie more recent theories concerning what grief is and how it affects people. Today, grief is considered an individual experience, unique for each person. It is viewed as an ongoing process that never ends – a natural process that honors the person who died, along with our feelings about the deceased and the loss...
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- What age group do you consider to be “young adults?” And what about this group is distinct in relation to grief?
- What have you found to be helpful in working with grieving young adults?
- What’s helpful for clinicians to be thinking about when a young adult is grieving over a traumatic death – one caused by suicide, homicide or, perhaps, a car accident?
- Can you suggest additional resources for clinicians?