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TEEN GRIEF: A VIEW THROUGH THEIR EYES. LEARNING OBJECTIVES At the completion of this discussion, participants will have the ability to recognize 3 normal.

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Presentation on theme: "TEEN GRIEF: A VIEW THROUGH THEIR EYES. LEARNING OBJECTIVES At the completion of this discussion, participants will have the ability to recognize 3 normal."— Presentation transcript:

1 TEEN GRIEF: A VIEW THROUGH THEIR EYES

2 LEARNING OBJECTIVES At the completion of this discussion, participants will have the ability to recognize 3 normal teenage responses to grief. recognize the difference between healthy teen grief and unhealthy teen grief. be able to demonstrate 3 effective techniques for grief support groups that can be accurately applied to grieving teenagers.

3 BEING A TEENAGER IN TODAY’S WORLD IDENTITY VERSUS ROLE CONFUSION Search for Identity -“Who am I and where do I fit in?”. “Just being a teenager is a painful and uncertain time of life”. TRANSITION FROM CHILDHOOD INTO ADULTHOOD Trying to make good decisions regardless of peer pressure and surrounding temptations. “Hormones are raging and expectations are high”. Teen Grief Relief: Parenting with understanding, support and guidance by Dr’s. Gloria & Heidi Horsley

4 BEING A GRIEVING TEENAGER IN TODAY’S WORLD “WHO AM I AND WHERE DO I FIT IN?” Feelings of isolation due to their experience. Mood swings can be more frequent or intense. TRANSITION FROM CHILDHOOD INTO ADULTHOOD Can be expedited depending on who died. Many teens find that they have to grow up quicker and take on adult roles after a caregiver dies.

5 WHAT’S NORMAL?

6 NORMAL SYMPTOMS OF TEEN GRIEF Anger Shame Guilt and Regret “Regrets are wishes. Guilt, on the other hand, implies action of some sort. It stems from something that you did or something hurtful you said.” Feeling the need to tell and retell their story Intense mood swings Change in eating or sleeping patterns Desire to connect with the person who died (specific places, items of clothing, objects they owned, etc.) *The Grieving Teen: A guide for teenagers and their friends by Helen Fitzgerald

7 NORMAL SYMPTOMS OF TEEN GRIEF Feelings of isolation “No one understands what I’m going through” Inability to verbalize or express feelings Inability to concentrate Poor grades Lack of interest in social life and activities for a short period of time Worrying about health issues or death of themselves or family Idealizing person who died Talking about funeral *The Grieving Teen: A guide for teenagers and their friends by Helen Fitzgerald

8 WHAT’S CAUSE FOR CONCERN Overly preoccupied with death and dying Bullying or becoming class clown Completely stopping social life or activities for an extended amount of time Giving possessions away Acting out behaviors (drugs, alcohol, promiscuity) Inability to function on a daily basis Suicidal ideations Self harm

9 CASE STUDIES Female, 17 years old, father died by suicide when she was 13. Struggles with feelings of self worth. Hard time accepting that people value her friendship. Feels no one understands her. Feels neglected/abandoned by mom. Borderline Personality Disorder. Techniques – Acceptance, Staying present, Validating. Show that I am a constant while also creating boundaries.

10 CASE STUDIES Female, 14 yr old whose father died of cancer. Client went into a depression where she stopped eating. Had to quit dance and school due to the weight loss. Techniques Allowed her time to tell and retell her story. Validated and Normalized. Used grief as motivation to succeed instead of an excuse to fail. Built on her faith.

11 CASE STUDIES 18 year old teen girl, her mom died from cancer when she was 17. She struggles with feeling like a burden to others when she voices her feelings. She struggles with guilt/regret related to her mom’s death. Techniques I do a lot of normalizing and validating her feelings. We work on helping her feel more comfortable with asking for help when she needs it. We work on her learning the difference between guilt and regret and how to deal with each of those feelings.

12 CASE STUDIES 16 year old teen girl. Her dad died from cancer after battling it for 6 years. She is very quiet and has a difficult time opening up. She was very close to her dad and feels like no one understands what she is going through. Techniques I help her develop healthy coping skills. I help her learn ways of communicating her feelings to her mom.

13 TEEN GRIEF SURVEY

14 TEEN SURVEY RESULTS 6 Male/ 6 Female Ages Who died? Mom, dad, stepdad, grandfather, grandmother How long ago did the death occur? 4 months-7 years What has been the hardest part for you? Opening up to someone about my feelings. Accomplishing things and him not being here to see, being forced to live with my mom.

15 TEEN SURVEY RESULTS What has been the hardest part for you? (cont…) When my little brother gets in the way and mom’s not there to help. Dealing with them not being around, not getting to visit with granddad or make pie with him. Living without her being in my life and not seeing her on a daily basis. Not having her here, being able to talk to her and tell her stuff, not coming/being at soft ball games, her being at the house cooking dinner, etc. Focusing at school. Going to their home and them not being there.

16 TEEN SURVEY RESULTS What has been the most helpful thing another person has done for you, or said to you? Having them listen and comfort me (close friend). Just listened when I needed them to. A friend’s letter that they gave to me. That they’ll be there for me- and proving it (best friend). Counselor giving me tips and guides on how to deal with my death. Receiving signs through friends that my mom is watching over me. Doing something to help me get what happened off my mind. Thinking about my loved one.

17 TEEN SURVEY RESULTS What do you suggest well meaning people avoid doing or saying to a grieving teen? Telling them to “toughen up” or “you’ve got to grow up”. Saying “it’s okay” because at the time it is isn’t okay. Saying “it will be okay one day” would make me feel better. Don’t say “I know how you feel” unless you’ve had a similar thing happen like a parent die. “I know how you feel” or putting themselves in the same place as the one who’s experienced the loss. Saying “you have to forget about it and move on”.

18 TEEN SURVEY RESULTS What do you suggest well meaning people avoid doing or saying to a grieving teen? (cont…) Try to get them to talk about it. “She is in a better place”, “It wasn’t your fault” (or family’s fault), “She is still with you”, “Everything is going to be ok”.

19 TEEN SURVEY RESULTS What has been your most helpful coping tool? Exercise Talking Talking to close friends Running Reading Art Writing Crying Playing softball for me and my mom Being with family Playing sports to get out the grief and anger

20 TEEN SURVEY RESULTS What advice can you give to other grieving teens? Don’t bottle it up. Find a person who is close and trustworthy to talk about how you feel. Be positive, patient, and persistent. Keep going and have your friends around to help you out. Don’t try to cope alone. It’s okay to cry and think about that person. Continue to keep doing and accomplishing the goal you set before that person died. Know you’re not the only one. It’s hard to go through and God is still with you and loves you.

21 TEEN SURVEY RESULTS What advice can you give to other grieving teens? (cont…) Find a hobby to get things off your mind. Talk to a counselor. It’s hard but keep your eyes open and someone special will enter your life.

22 VIDEO A teen client shares her grief story

23 INDIVIDUAL SESSION TECHNIQUES Rapport building Let the teen tell (and retell) their story Validate their feelings and normalize their grief Remain present Introduce healthy coping skills (writing, talking, crying, exercise, hobbies, art, poetry, music) Active listening skills No judgment – (They already have parents/guardians, they don’t need another person passing judgment) Poker face

24 INDIVIDUAL SESSION Benefits: Allows self-disclosure in a more private setting. Groups are not for everyone. Provides an unbiased outlook on their grief journey. Allows for intentional therapy on specific/current issues. There is no set timeline of counseling (a person can come as long as it is beneficial to them). There is no set curriculum.

25 ACTIVITIES: MEMORY STONE

26 ACTIVITIES: GRIEF CAVE

27 ACTIVITIES: JOURNAL, MEMORY BOX, PICTURE BOX

28 ACTIVITIES: GOODBYE GAME

29 GROUP SESSIONS Name, who it was that died, how long ago. Rapport building within the group by allowing each teen to tell their story. Benefits: Newfound identity through connecting with others who have faced similar experiences. No longer feel isolated. Finally feel understood. New support system.

30 GROUP SESSION TECHNIQUES Active listening Reflecting Clarification Open-ended Questioning Provide direction but encourage group to discuss among each other (ex: leader’s eye contact) Linking others by pulling from one members experience and relating it to another members experience If members interrupt each other, interject and politely refocus (ex: hand stop)

31 TEEN FACTS 40% of teens report that the most helpful person in dealing with their loss was a peer. 76% of teens involved in support groups reported feeling that they felt understood by their peers after their loss. * Responding to Teen Grief by Linda Goldman

32 TEEN GROUP ACTIVITIES Past/Present/ Future Self activity- write down what member was like right after the death, write down who they are now, write down who they want to be in the future (-Shocked, -Scared/ Unsure, -Sad/ Happy, - Hopeful) Garbage Thoughts activity – thoughts that haunt them that they throw away after discussing (“I could have done more”, “if only”) Legacy activity – write down lasting legacies from the loved one (kindness, laughter, sharing, love for education, desire to help others) * Johnson, S. (2000). Teen Grief Groups: An eight-week curriculum.

33 TEEN GROUP ACTIVITIES Letter to the deceased, Letter from the deceased Future Fears – (Who will walk me down the isle? Will I ever want to go fishing again?) -group members suggest ways to help their peers experiences be less painful. Question Basket – basket full of questions for each member to draw from. (Before the death my biggest responsibility was____, now it’s ____. Before the death I was most afraid of_____, now I’m most afraid of_______.) * Johnson, S. (2000). Teen Grief Groups: An eight-week curriculum.

34 TEEN GROUP ACTIVITIES Variation of Question Basket- Group members write on an index card “I used to be _______. Now I’m______”. Go around the room and share. Draw a favorite memory and a more difficult memory. Scrapbook activity- supply items for scrapbooking such as paper, magazines, stickers, markers, etc. Group members choose items that remind them of their loved one and create a scrapbook page. Members can also bring pictures of their loved one to this group to include in their activity. * Johnson, S. (2000). Teen Grief Groups: An eight-week curriculum.

35 WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP Listen

36 WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP Be present Avoid passing judgment Avoid telling the teen “you should” do or say anything Provide examples of healthy coping skills (talking, writing, exercising, etc.) Be encouraging

37 TEEN GRIEF RESOURCES: WEBSITES Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors Information providing common signs of teen grief and how to support grieving teens. Hospice of the Valley Various articles directed at teens and adult who are helping teens. The Dougy Center teen/ Teen grief information adapted from the book Helping Teens Cope with Death, Written by The Dougy Center Comfort Zone Camp Information about teen grief, but also allows teens to submit questions to be answered by peers or professional counselors.

38 TEEN GRIEF RESOURCES: BOOKS Fitzgerald, H. (2000). The Grieving Teen: A guide for teenagers and their friends. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. Grollman, E.A. (1993). Straight Talk About Death for Teenagers: How to cope with losing someone you love. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. Horsley, G. & Horsley, H. (2007). Teen Grief Relief: Parenting with understanding, support and guidance. Highland City, FL: Rainbow Books, Inc. Wheeler, J.L. (2010). Weird is Normal When Teenagers Grieve. Naples, FL: Quality of Life Publishing Co.

39 REFERENCES Fitzgerald, H. (2000). The Grieving Teen: A guide for teenagers and their friends. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. Goldman, L. (2012). Responding to Teen Grief. Taps Magazine, 17,3. Retrieved October 25, 2012, Grollman, E.A. (1993). Straight Talk About Death for Teenagers: How to cope with losing someone you love. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. Horsley, G. & Horsley, H. (2007). Teen Grief Relief: Parenting with understanding, support and guidance. Highland City, FL: Rainbow Books, Inc. Johnson, S. (2000). Teen Grief Groups: An eight-week curriculum.


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