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Amanda Seyderhelm is an experienced play therapist and enables children to make sense of their feelings to find a comfortable way to express themselves and their worries through play. Using her years of experience, this event will cover what she’s learnt about the best way to talk to children going through loss.

It can be hard to know how to bring up a loss with children, or how much to talk about someone you’ve lost to the children in your life. Amanda will give her top tips on how to go about this, and there will be time for a Q&A at the end.

The Speaker:

Amanda is a recognised expert in her field of innovative creative play therapy for children. Her area of specialism is in treating children (and their families) who are suffering with mild to moderate emotional or psychological problems. Amanda is also a published author, and hosts a podcast, Helping Children Smile Again after Loss and Change.

In her previous role as a Great Ormond Street Hospital Ambassador, she gave talks to charities and corporate businesses about the work and research GOSH do, and she assisted GOSH in the early days of setting up their Craft Station.

Since 2016, Amanda has trained social workers and family support workers in numerous local authorities on how to use therapeutic play within their work with children. She works with councils and schools to embed the approach into how they work with and support families and children experiencing loss or change.

This event with Dr Lizzie Paddock will explore the psychology behind grief. Grief is a normal and natural reaction to reaction to a significant loss, at Untangle we believe the goal is not about conquering loss and ‘getting back to normal’, but instead growing around your grief. Dr Lizzie will take us through the impact of loss and the psychology behind our feelings. With this knowledge, we hope you can allow yourself the time and space to process your loss.

This event will last for an hour, and there will be time at the end for a Q&A with Lizzie.

The Speaker:

Dr Elizabeth Paddock is a HCPC Registered Practitioner Psychologist specialising in working with children, young people and their families. She contributes to research and practice supervision for the Doctorate in Forensic Psychology.

Outline:

This event comprises of 1 hour over video call. Participants have the option to have their cameras on or off.

This is a video support group to talk about your experiences with other people who can relate. The session lasts for 1 hour and will be hosted by a member of the Untangle team.

What to expect:
It’s normal to feel nervous before coming to your first group, so feel free to message Emily for more information.

You are probably aware of the theory that after experiencing bereavement, we go through stages of grief. The well-known theory describes five stages, while others describe six, or seven stages.

But, what if this widely accepted theory is wrong and there is no set grieving process at all? What if everyone grieves in their own way?

Here at Untangle, we believe that the long-standing stages of grief theory is misleading and unhelpful and fails to accurately represent how most people experience grief.

The Five Stages of Grief Theory

The 5 stages of grief model was developed by psychiatrist Kübler-Ross in 1969. Although grief models had been discussed before this time, it was Kübler-Ross’s theory that gained traction and made it into the public psyche.
The 5 stages of grief described in the model are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Over time, people came to think of the 5 stages of grief as the ‘correct’ way to grieve, believing that mourners must pass through each stage to complete the grieving process. In the years since its first publication, the theory has been debunked by many professionals. In fact, it’s reported that before her death, Kübler-Ross herself expressed regret at how her model was viewed. She said that it was never intended to suggest a linear progression through grief, but rather to explore the various reactions we might have after loss.

David Kessler: The Sixth Stage of Grief

Kessler is a death and grief expert who co-wrote two books with Kübler-Ross, as well as many  of his own books. One of his theories builds upon the 5 stages of grief to add a sixth stage: finding meaning. Kessler argues that after we pass through the grieving process, we can transform grief into peace and hope by finding meaning in our life.

Seven Stages of Grief

At various times over the years, others stages have been added to Kübler-Ross’s model, too. You might have heard of the 7 stages of grief, which adds ‘shock and disbelief’ as stage one, and ‘reconstruction’ before the final stage of ‘acceptance’. Just as with the 5-stage and 6-stage grief theories, this presents a rather linear process that we don’t think is true to life.

Other Theories

In more recent years, many counselling and bereavement experts have looked for other ways to describe our experience of grief. Most acknowledge that grief isn’t a linear process and that people experience it in different ways.

1. Tonkin’s model: Growing around Grief

Lois Tonkin is a grief counsellor who coined the term ‘growing around grief’ after counselling clients who had experienced loss. She describes that rather than grief disappearing over time, it stays roughly the same, and the life of a bereaved person grows around it as they have new experiences and begin to look forward. At times, that grief can feel just as painful as it did at the beginning, and at other times, it’s in the background.

2. Worden’s theory: Tasks of Mourning

William Worden, a psychology academic and child-bereavement expert, identified four ‘tasks’ that he says are an active part of grieving. He stresses that the tasks are not completed in a linear fashion and that people often return to each of the tasks at different times of their lives.

The fours tasks are:

3. Stroebe and Schut: The Dual Process Model of Coping

Stroebe and Schut’s Dual Process Model breaks down grief into loss orientation and restoration orientation. Loss involves recognising and accepting that the person has died and how that affects other areas of life such as friendships and finances. Restoration focuses on the moments we can put grief aside to rebuild a life without the person who died. People frequently move between the two as they grieve.

Why it matters

The stages of grief model has become so widely accepted that it influences our cultural beliefs and attitude towards supporting people who have experienced loss. These misconceptions not only impact our ability to offer good bereavement support, but also give the impression that if you’re not moving through the stages of grief then you’re not grieving properly.

A 2010 study found that the majority of undergraduate psychiatric nursing textbooks contain myths about the grieving process:

None of these statements is backed with evidence, but they are presented to psychiatric nursing students as fact. That means that  even our healthcare professionals are not taught how to handle grief effectively.

Part of our passion at Untangle comes from recognising these gaps in the current bereavement support provision. We want to provide wellbeing support and practical help for our community of people who are rebuilding their lives after loss.