Bereavement counselling for children and teenagers

I am a therapist, I work with individuals, teenagers and families. One of my specialisms is providing bereavement counselling for children and teenagers. Young people experience bereavement in one form or another when faced with loss. This loss might be their parents’ marriage or when someone close to them dies. Just because someone is young, it does not mean that they hurt any less than an adult, in fact, because they are young it probably means they need more support to get though.

I once met with a young person who had lost a parent in sudden and traumatic circumstances.

She told me how hard it was for her and her family to come to terms with the shock of their loss when it first happened. I remember she told me how she withdrew into her room and how the rest of the family contextualised this as, “typical teenager, disappearing off into her room” and how this apparently “normal” behaviour gave her family hope that even though they had all been through so much, she, my client, was still able to be a “normal” teenager.

We quickly saw that her withdrawal was far from normal and that when she disappeared into her bedroom she was in fact grieving the loss of her parent and grieving the loss of her family life style. Further, her withdrawal had more to do with her understanding that everyone close to her was too upset to help and that she had to do her grieving on her own so as not to bring any more upset to her family.

We saw that for the first four or five months life happened in a blur. Then, gradually, her shock shifted and she began to “see” her loss. A few months later and she had healed somewhat but she had reached a plateau in her recovery and felt stuck. It was then, nearly eight months after her loss, that her mother realised that she might need some help managing her loss.

Today she is stronger than ever. She speaks about feeling more mature than she did when she first heard about her parent’s death. She says that somehow she feels more adult than her companions. I can understand this.

In our sessions, however, we will always honour that part of her that took her though those first few traumatic months. That part of her, unprepared and unready as it was, that took her to her bedroom and stood watch as she cried alone for the loss of someone who was beyond important in her life.

If you have found that this blog is useful and you are looking for bereavement counselling for children and teenagers then why not get in touch with me and we can talk through your options.