′In a book that is replete with illustrative case studies, Linda Machin draws together the findings of a wide range of psychological and sociological theory and research in order to develop a way of thinking about grief and loss that is intelligible to ordinary mortals. Her Adult Attitude to Grief scale promises to be a useful tool by which problems can be identified and progress monitored′ - Colin Murray Parkes, Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist to St. Christopher′s Hospice
Loss is a universal human experience. Supporting those who are grieving a significant life loss is a key role for many professionals in health and social care settings and is the focus in many voluntary organisations. Although there is an extensive literature on loss and bereavement, practitioners often struggle to see how to put theory into practice.
Working with Loss and Grief provides a new model which makes clear connections between theory and practice. The ′Range of Response to Loss′ model provides a theoretical ′compass′ for recognising the wide variability in reaction to loss and the ′Adult Attitude to Grief′ scale is a tool for ′mapping′ individual grief and its change over time, providing an individual grief profile. Together these offer a framework for practitioners to:
" Listen to stories of grief told by clients
" Identify common patterns in grief;
" Recognize individual difference in grief response
" Assess the need for therapeutic intervention or support
" Prompt therapeutic dialogue
" Guide therapeutic focus
" Appraise clients
" Evaluate outcomes.
Case examples show that the experience of grief is highly individual, but also capable of being understood in terms of general concepts. As such it is a valuable resource not only for practitioners and trainees in counselling and social work, but also for psychologists, doctors, nurses, and for researchers studying loss and grief.
Dr Linda Machin is a Visiting Research Fellow of Keele University, having been a Lecturer in Social Work and Counselling at Keele. She established a counselling service for the bereaved in North Staffordshire and continues to work as a researcher, a hospice counsellor and a freelance trainer.