There are various models of grief counselling that are familiar to bereavement counsellors, these include Kubler-Ross’s ‘five-stage model’ and Tonkin’s ‘growing around grief’ as well as other complicated grief theories and models.
At St Michael’s Hospice, the Bereavement Support team have been exploring the value of ‘My Grief Story’ as a changing model of grief and recently invited a guest speaker to present their own ‘Grief Story’. Using puppets, stage scenery and props, the presenter told their own story of grief and loss by beautifully articulating and reflecting on their experience, demonstrating the transformative effect of storytelling.
This model may, for the storyteller, explore life and relationship before the event, at the time the loss occurred, and how through the creative process they find that they are able to adapt and process their loss into something that transforms into something new.
Being able to tell our story helps us to make sense of the experiences we have been through. Counsellors give clients their full attention in a way that may otherwise be absent. It is the gift of listening and the witnessing of the ‘Grief Story’ when it is most needed.