Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


This qualitative study explores insights clinicians have gained about grief and loss through their work with clients in crisis, and their perceptions about the adequacy of their training to confront these clinical issues. Semi-structured interview questions focused on how participants work with someone in crisis, and how issues of grief and loss manifest and are facilitated in the clinical setting. Fourteen experienced mental health practitioners in Western Massachusetts were interviewed. Their narratives revealed a strong belief that grief and loss are often part of what prompts a client to seek counseling. Participants noted that many clients are not aware of the impact of loss, particularly losses suffered at an early age, and losses that have not been recognized and grieved. Most participating clinicians revealed that they had received no substantial training around grief and loss in their academic programs and had sought out post-graduate seminars in this area. Clinicians expressed that working with clients experiencing grief and loss has been deeply meaningful and has helped develop and enhance their clinical skills. Grief and loss are seen as central to much of the psychotherapeutic work in which these clinicians are engaged.


iii, 110 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2007. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 98-101).