How is grief handled in boys and girls?

The loss of a loved one is an inherent part of life and people are naturally able to respond to it through a process as complex as bereavement, which has been accompanied by a set of emotional, psychological and also behavioral that develop when a loved one is lost.

The younger a person is, normally the more complex the grieving process is and, therefore, for the treatment of bereavement in boys and girls, we can find several types of psychological therapies: cognitive-behavioral psychological therapies, prevention programs and support during the grieving process or intervention at the family level, among others.

In this article we will try to explain in more detail What is the treatment for bereavement in children?; First, we will make a brief introduction to such a complex, yet natural, process as dueling.

What is the duel in psychology?

According to the Dictionary of the Real Spanish Academy (RAE), the word “duel” has 3 definitions:

  • Pity, affliction, pain or feeling.
  • Demonstrations that we do to express the feeling we have when faced with someone’s death.
  • Reunion of family or relatives, friends and/or guests, who attend the morgue or the funeral.

In this article, we intend to refer more to the first two definitions, when we talk about dueling as such. reaction, manifestation or feeling expressed by a person at the death of a loved one. Therefore, we speak of mourning as that set of phenomena that occur in human beings at different levels: psychological, social and biological after the death of a close and loved person, mourning consists of a process that develops step by step in the being of the adaptation processes of the human being.

It should be noted that in some of the reference manuals we can find a classification on dueling, where dueling can be divided into two different categories: the normative duel and the complicated duel. In general, the physical, psychological, and behavioral manifestations of complicated grief are the same as those that usually occur in normative grief, except that in complicated grief they all tend to interfere more significantly with mental health and different areas of the lives of those affected.

Types of bereavement treatment for boys and girls

If we search through the main reference manuals on the treatment of bereavement in children, we will probably not find the psychotherapy treatments that are offered as first choice treatments based on empirical evidence, because today more is needed. studies based on the effectiveness of bereavement treatment in childhood and adolescence.

Despite this, some systematic reviews and also meta-analyses have been performed where the usefulness of certain psychological interventions or therapies (eg family therapy, cognitive behavioral psychotherapy, play therapy, etc.) has been collected. ). Next, we will explain in more detail what these psychological treatments usually used to support and treat bereavement in children consist of.

1. Prevention and support programs

For the treatment of bereavement in boys and girls, there are prevention programs but also accompaniment which consist of programs with several components which include psychoeducational components, accompaniment sessions for help parents or loved ones and, of course, children to understand bereavementwho can feel free to address complex and delicate subjects such as suicide and also to encourage the expression of emotions.

On the other hand, in these psychological programs, it is also a question of detecting possible psychopathological reactions or certain associated risk factors, as well as helping to promote the good social and emotional functioning of the bereaved child.

It should be noted that this type of psychotherapeutic programs are based on a series of principles related to counseling and generally focus mainly on psychological support for children who are going through grief due to the loss of a parent or other close relative. and also to support when a relative suffers from a serious illness that could become terminal.

However, although these programs are used quite often, there is not enough evidence as to their effectiveness in coping with childhood bereavement, although any help that might be given in this type of situation will never do. of badness.

2. Family intervention

The intervention would be bereavement treatment for boys and girls, with the family bereavement program to be highlighted here, which consists of a psychological intervention program focused on promoting and developing resilience in children who have suffered the loss of one or both parents and, more specifically, it addresses the factors involved in the soil process in these children.

This family psychological intervention is made up of 12 sessions in a group format, with sessions focusing exclusively on psychological support for children and another on helping caregivers or guardians of children, although joint sessions are also held. In these, skills are trained and then tasks are assigned for children to practice between sessions so they can consolidate what they have learned in session. Among the techniques used, it should be noted role play, group feedback or modelingamong others.

In the studies on the effectiveness of this type of therapy, we can find very favorable results in the short term, since it has been possible to observe a decrease in the symptoms of depression and also fewer behavioral problems on the part of children. and they may also contribute to increased children’s warmth with caregivers and greater satisfaction with social support.

3. Cognitive-behavioral psychological therapy

Another bereavement treatment for boys and girls that we can find is cognitive-behavioral psychological therapy, which in these cases would be the one that focuses on the trauma, has been developed with the aim of provide psychological support to children over 6 years old before bereavement for the death of a loved one due to potentially traumatic circumstances.

This psychological treatment consists of approximately 17 sessions, carrying out a separate but simultaneous therapy with the affected child and his parents, with a joint session at the end.

This treatment is focused on helping to understand one’s own reactions to the trauma suffered and also on developing a series of skills that could be used to cope with the circumstances that occur and the event suffered.

On the other hand, some of the techniques used will be oriented towards the development of a narrative of the trauma that could allow desensitization to traumatic memories and will also seek to make a restructuring of those maladaptive thoughts associated with the trauma and others of another type that could cause significant discomfort. Also, in this therapy other techniques are included such as psychoeducation, relaxation, emotional imagination, etc.

In this case, there are studies that have shown evidence of this therapy for the reduction of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress and also other behavioral and emotional problems associated with the event suffered, it may therefore be a recommended option in case of bereavement complications in childhood and adolescence.

4. Narrative Therapy

Narrative therapy is a treatment for bereavement in boys and girls. It is mainly based on telling a series of stories that can help to verbalize it and also to process it with children who are grieving due to the death of a child. loved one, such as a relative In these stories, the narrator is responsible for tell a story, telling the beginning and middle, incorporating a range of elements associated with the loss of a loved one después it would be the child who would take care of counting it end

The professionals responsible for developing this type of therapy to help cope with bereavement have concluded that in their research it has been possible to observe that children, although initially sad, are fearful and shy, as the sessions progress, they feel less and a little more comforted and they show themselves more able to express their loss and their pain through stories.

5. Play therapy

We can also find play therapy as a treatment for bereavement in boys and girls, which was developed in order to establish a safe environment for them to express their pain, since children usually have certain difficulties in expressing their feelings. what you feel That’s why play therapy encourages children to express their emotions, thoughts, worries and fears without fear.

In play therapy, various materials are used such as paints, building blocks and all types of toys (eg dolls, children’s medical kits, toy cars, etc.). The goal of using this type of material is for children to be able to portray their own version of their fears, worries, and also the death scene.

6. Art therapy and music therapy

Finally, when talking about bereavement management for boys and girls, art therapy and music therapy should also be highlighted. The first of them is used with the aim of helping children who are going through a grieving process to express their pain through drawing when they cannot find the words because it is likely that it will be easier for them and c that’s how he can help them deal with the traumatic and painful event they have suffered.

On the other hand, music therapy is made up of various techniques associated with the world of music, such as musical improvisation, lyrical analysis and, of course, songwriting.

It should be noted that in some music therapy programs there are behavior modification sessions, cognitive-behavioral techniques, techniques for expressing emotions through songwriting, as well as psychoeducation on bereavement so that these children can process and normalize this process. Additionally, promising results have been found in studies conducted on music therapy.

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