Continuing Bonds Theory in Counselling: Tending Relationships to the Dead

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Coldwell, Emily
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Grief and loss are universal experiences that each person will endure over the course of their lifetime. Despite this universality grief can be a difficult topic for many people to work with, and social stigma can lead to individuals feeling that their grief is unwelcome or that there is something wrong with them for experiencing grief. Continuing bonds theory is a way of working with grief which invites individuals to form connections with their lost loved-ones. This theory acknowledges that death does not mean the cessation of love or connection, and seeks to build ways for individuals to connect with people they have lost. This paper speaks to some of the ways that this theory works with grief and how we as counsellors can work to de-pathologize grief in our practice and help individuals to form healthy connections. This paper shares some potential avenues for further exploration with regards to how counsellors can support individuals with grief that is not only attached to death-related loss and makes recommendations for further research with regards to cultural applications and using continuing bonds with complicated grief.
grief , continuing bonds , shadowloss , loss , disenfranchised grief
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States , openAccess