ERIC Number: EJ791922
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Apr
Reference Count: 45
Spiritual Evolution of Bereavement Counselors: An Exploratory Qualitative Study
Puterbaugh, Dolores T.
Counseling and Values, v52 n3 p198 Apr 2008
This article draws from a phenomenological study on the experience of being a bereavement counselor. Ten bereavement counselors shared their experiences in bereavement counseling. Spiritual and emotional aspects of bereavement counseling with grieving and dying persons are discussed as well as the spiritual effects on and growth processes of the bereavement counselors. Participants also describe their self-care strategies pertaining to their bereavement counseling work. For the purpose of this article, bereavement counseling comprises provision of support and psychotherapy to those who have experienced the death of a loved one as well as those who are preparing to die. The preponderance of literature indicates providing bereavement counseling carries a risk for personal suffering. Kassan (1996) interviewed 60 therapists and found that his participants cited death as one of the most difficult topics to discuss with clients, noting the clinicians' memories and experiences seemed to interfere with the therapy. Because of the lack of information about positive experiences of bereavement counselors in the literature, the basic research question in the current study was "What are the lived experiences of bereavement counselors?" The overall topic of experience was broken down into subsidiary questions focused on the thoughts, emotions, physical feelings, memories, behaviors, effect on the counselor's life, and any other aspect of bereavement counseling the participants chose to share.
Descriptors: Grief, Death, Psychotherapy, Spiritual Development, Phenomenology, Counselors, Counselor Attitudes, Interviews, Memory, Counselor Client Relationship
American Counseling Association. 5999 Stevenson Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22304. Tel: 800-422-2648; Tel: 800-347-6647; Fax: 800-473-2329; Web site: http://www.counseling.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A