Psychological Management of Bereavement among Adolescents: A Case Series
The death of a loved one in adolescence is the most painful experience and is associated with number of emotional, behavioral and psychological problems in adolescents. Adolescence is a period of rapid physical and psychological transition from childhood to adulthood. During this challenging stage of development, if they face trauma of losing a loved one especially a sibling is a great loss for them. Like adults, they also experience negative emotions such as anger, guilt, rejection however they find themselves as incapable of handling those negative feelings. They may manifest their distress in the form of physical symptoms (stomachache, headache), anger outburst, irritability and social isolation. The main aim of this paper is to present a description ofthree adolescent cases (two males and one female, aged 12 to 15 years) who presented with low mood, ghabrahat (tension/anxiety), headache, irritability, anger outburst, decreased social interaction, guilt feelings and difficulty in sleep subsequent to the death of their sibling. Adolescents with trauma often present with reluctance to open that poses a real challenge for the therapist. This paper elaborates the use of basic counseling skills such as empathy, active listening, unconditional positive regard and acceptance within the therapeutic process to overcome resistance and promote the healing process. The use of various psychological techniques (psycho education, normalization, activity scheduling, exposure, role play, letter writing & cognitive restructuring) to manage grief in adolescents is discussed in the paper.