Childhood Bereavement: What School Psychologists Need to Know

  • Ayyash-Abdo H
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Abstract

Reviews the literature on children's developmental conceptions and reactions to death, which indicates that bereaved children make up a vulnerable population; they are at risk of developing psychological and behavioural dysfunctions as well as social difficulties. Just like adults, bereaved children need to relieve their painful thoughts by expressing their feelings and talking about the deceased with their family, friends and/or psychologist. However, children are often overlooked during such a crisis and their needs may be ignored because adult family members are preoccupied with their own grieving. These factors point to the need for intervention; the school psychologist, during this painful period, can be an important source of education, guidance and support for the child and the family. Responding appropriately to children's needs, however, requires an understanding of how they view and react to death. In addition to the literature review, this article makes suggestions as to provide appropriate intervention strategies that can be used by psychologists, such as individual counselling, play therapy, bibliotherapy, family counselling, and group counselling. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).

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