Losing a Parent to Suicide: Using Lived Experiences to Inform Bereavement Counseling (Paperback) book cover

Losing a Parent to Suicide

Using Lived Experiences to Inform Bereavement Counseling

By Marty Loy, Amy Boelk

© 2014 – Routledge

212 pages

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Paperback: 9780415816182
pub: 2013-10-01
Hardback: 9780415816175
pub: 2013-11-28
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pub: 2013-09-05
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The suicide of a parent has life-long consequences; few more traumatic scenarios exist, and counselors often struggle for ways to help clients deal with its effects. Few understand the pain and life-altering effects of these tragedies better than children who have experienced the suicide of a parent. Despite this, there are few texts that incorporate and evaluate the first-person accounts of grief following a suicide while advancing a method for helping. Losing a Parent to Suicide analyzes stories of parent suicides and explores the grief and coping processes that follow, discovering the strategies, methods and modes of therapy that have empowered grieving individuals and helped them rebuild their lives.


"Losing a Parent to Suicide: Using Lived Experiences to Inform Bereavement Counseling, by Marty Loy and Amy Boelk, is an insightful and developmentally sound book written for mental health practitioners who support children and families following the death of a parent by suicide. In giving voice to those bereaved by parental suicide, the book is also well suited for others who may interact with the family in the days and weeks that follow, including law enforcement officers, hospital personnel, school administrators and teachers, and clergy."

— Beth Limberg, PsycCRITIQUES

"This is a marvelous contribution to the literature on losing a parent to suicide. Intended to help counselors better understand this type of loss, it offers much more to many more. By combining riveting accounts from the bereaved survivors themselves with review of contemporary scientific literature and insightful observations, this book informs not only those in different supportive capacities but also bereaved persons themselves, and scientists needing up-to-date knowledge for planning future research and intervention."

— Margaret Stroebe, professor, University of Utrecht and Groningen University, the Netherlands, and coeditor of Complicated Grief: Scientific Foundations for Health Care Professionals

"This book is a practical resource for a broad audience. Those experiencing the death of a parent by suicide will find ‘peer support on paper’ from survivors who share words of wisdom based on 6-48 years of experience. Chapters contain personal narratives mixed with reviews of theoretical and empirical literature that provide family members, friends, and professionals with insight about helping strategies that range from ‘do-nothing support’ to grief camps and therapeutic interventions."

— Carla Sofka, PhD, professor of social work, Siena College

"Loy and Boelk clearly explain and illustrate the process of trauma, loss, and recovery. I will keep their book on my shelf as a reference to come back to when I need to wonder about my clients as its richness can be useful to the understanding of all bereavements."

— Hélène Everitt, Attachment Journal

Table of Contents

Foreword Acknowledgements1. Introduction 2. Challenges 3. Support 4. Coping 5. Post Traumatic Growth 6. Professional Implications and Best Practices 7. Epilogue References Index

About the Authors

Marty Loy, PhD, is professor of health promotion and dean of the College of Professional Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. He is the author of Children and Stress: A Handbook for Parents, Teachers and Therapists. He and his wife, Becky, are cofounders of Camp HOPE, a camp for grieving children that has served as a model for similar camps around the USA.

Amy Boelk, MSSW, PhD, is associate professor and social work field coordinator in the Department of Sociology and Social Work at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She is a former hospice social worker whose research and writing have spanned a variety of topics related to grieving and end-of-life care.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychotherapy / Counseling