Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type



School for Social Work


Grief therapy, Psychotherapists-Attitudes, Grief, Grief research, Contemporary, Grief counselors, Perceptions, Role


The experiences and perceptions of grief counselors regarding their work is an often ignored, though highly valuable topic. Previous literature suggests that practicing grief clinicians are largely utilizing outdated grief theories in their practices. This study seeks to elucidate the meaning of these findings, explore what grief clinicians are actually doing in the field, and learn from the insights and clinical innovations of these contemporary clinicians. In this study, 10 clinicians, who have all practiced grief counseling within the last five years, were interviewed using a semi-structure interview model. Their theoretical models, most commonly used interventions, and conceptualizations of grief are revealed in the findings of this study. Emerging from the data are findings demonstrating the endorsement of interventions such as witnessing the client, creating a space for the client to express and experience their emotions in relation to the grief, and the non-judgemental/non-pathologizing stance of the clinician towards the client. The findings in this study echo findings in prior studies, but suggest a movement towards greater utilization of contemporary research. Similarly, it demonstrates a greater integration of holistic approaches to treating grief, with the utilization of other contemporary theories and interventions such as trauma theories, spirituality, and wellness.




iii, 51 pages. M.S.W., Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Ma., 2016. Includes bibliographical references (pages 38-44)

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Social Work Commons