Counseling Psychology


A person-centred approach to grief counselling

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Palgrave Macmillan


Loss, and with it the mental and physical pain so familiar to bereaved persons, is an inescapable part of life. Despite its often overwhelming intensity, grief is now understood to be a natural condition—the human reaction to loss—and for most people is expected to abate over time and frequently lead to psychological growth. Given this understanding, the role of grief counseling is to accelerate or unblock the natural healing process, particularly if this process is moving more slowly than expected, or if the reaction to a loss is severe or protracted. Our understanding of grief and the needs of grieving persons has advanced significantly in recent years, but these insights are typically not connected to specific counseling theory and practices that could then provide a foundation for effective grief counseling. In this chapter, I present a rationale for a person-centred approach to grief counseling serving as this foundation. I connect this approach with contemporary theories of grief and mourning and the needs of bereaved persons, and then illustrate the approach in action and review relevant research.

Chapter of

The handbook of person-centred psychotherapy and counselling, 2nd Edition


Mick Cooper
Maureen O'Hara
Peter F. Schmid
Arthur C. Bohart

This document is currently not available here.