Contraindica Tions

Due to the very serious and profoundly upsetting experience of spousal loss with its concomitant lifestyle change, this intervention would be contraindicated for individuals who are newly bereaved and still in the midst of intense mourning and hopelessness. The installation of hope, which may take time and patience, is a secondary intervention. The primary intervention is the acknowledgement of and the compassion toward the patient's loss. Jumping to the secondary intervention of trying to give hope is not only useless but indicates insensi-

tivity, impatience, and possible discomfort with loss in the group therapist.

Moving an individual from hopelessness to hope and the possibility of a future takes patience, sensitivity, and skill on the part of the group therapist. Its essence is like the phoenix rising out of the ashes. In words beautifully written by Dickinson, (1960) "hope is a thing with feathers that perches in the soul" (p. 68). Reaching what has become, for many, a dormant hope is the goal of the bereavement group therapist.


Cohen, M. (2000). Bereavement Groups with the Elderly. In S. Fehr (Ed.). Group Therapy in Independent Practice (pp. 33-41). Binghamton, NY: The Haworth Press.

Dickinson, E. (1960). Hope is a thing with feathers. In T. H. Johnson (Ed.). The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson. New York: Little, Brown and Company. Roy, P. & Sumpter, H. (1983). Group Support for the Recently Bereaved. Hecdth and Social Work, 8(3), 230-232.

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