Coping strategies for the family system

Helping professionals must be willing to meet clients where they are.  The dual-process model of grief suggests that most people coping with the loss of a loved one will oscillate between a loss-focused stage and a restoration-focused stage (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015).  Each family member in the case study will move between these stages with different frequency.  The counselor might consider brief psychodynamic interventions for the siblings and cognitive behavioral therapy for Isabelle.  Research on family systems and grief suggest that conflict within the family constellation should also be considered (Welford, 2014).  According to Welford (2014), reinforcing healthy boundaries in the family system can lead to positive outcomes after a loss.  The counseling process may include a systems approach to understanding the roles and rules of the family prior to Victor’s untimely death.


There is no right way to grieve.  Coping with loss in an inevitable life event for all people.  Counselors that do grief work should consider cultural and developmental factors that influence the client’s needs.  For some individuals a cathartic period of reminiscing is helpful, and for others, minimizing negative emotions is beneficial (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015).  Counselors should be aware of how conflict among family members may influence bereavement.  Helping professionals should consider multidimensional approaches that consider developmental, cultural, and interpersonal factors.

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