1st Edition

Understanding Loss
A Guide for Caring for Those Facing Adversity

ISBN 9781138829466
Published September 23, 2015 by Routledge
248 Pages

USD $64.95

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Book Description

Loss and consequent grief permeates nearly every life changing event, from death to health concerns to dislocation to relationship breakdown to betrayal to natural disaster to faith issues. Yet, while we know about particular events of loss independently, we know very little about a psychology of loss that draws many adversities together. This universal experience of loss as a concept in its own right sheds light on so much of the work we do in the care of others. This book develops a new overarching framework to understand loss and grief, taking into account both pathological and wellbeing approaches to the subject.

Drawing on international and cross-disciplinary research, Judith Murray highlights nine common themes of loss, helping us to understand how it is experienced. These themes are then used to develop a practice framework for structuring assessment and intervention systematically. Throughout the book, this generic approach is highlighted through discussing its use in different loss events such as bereavement, trauma, chronic illness and with children or older people. Having been used in areas as diverse as child protection, palliative care and refugee care, the framework can be tailored to a range of needs and levels of care.

Caring for people experiencing loss is an integral part of the work of helping professions, whether it is explicitly part of their work such as in counselling, or implicit as in social work, nursing, teaching, medicine and community work. This text is an important guide for anyone working in these areas.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Introduction  1. Introduction  2. Respect  Part 2: Understanding  3. Grief and Grieving  4. Making the Picture of Grieving Three Dimensional  5. Loss Amongst Loss  6. The Integration of Loss  7. The Individuality of Loss  8. Taking our Knowledge into Practice  Part 3: Enablement: Taking Our Understanding into Practice  9. Moving into Practice: Safety is the Key  10. Let's Move on to Enablement  11. Thinking More Formally About Care: Principles to Guide Care  12. Thinking about Enablement Using the Ten Questions of Loss Framework 

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Judith Murray has a joint appointment as Associate Professor in Counselling and Counselling Psychology in the School of Psychology and the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, The University of Queensland, Australia. She also holds a part-time position as a Registered Nurse in Haematology and Oncology at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane, Australia.


"As interviewer, Sieff is a subtle and discreet weaver, drawing together the stands of her subjects’ ideas. By the end of the book, the reader has the sense of how distinct professional disciplines in the field of trauma, and its healing through therapy, have many connecting threads… The book also affirms the view that psychotherapy can help and importantly, shines a light on how it does. There is clearly much still to discover but Sieff’s book has an important contribution to make to our integrated, holistic understanding of trauma." – Tamsin Cottis, Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis

"Understanding Loss: A guide for caring for those facing adversity is a must have for any clincian working in the field of loss and grieving..." Jude Boyland, Counselling Australia

'"Understanding Loss is well worth reading as a summary of current knowledge and a synthesis of practice. What it adds is a practical approach to understanding the client and finding helpful approaches to care. The book illuminates the work of caring for a client regardless of the carer’s specific clinical role, and it is certainly both academically precise and accessible. I recommend it'- Ofra Fried, Palliative care physician, Australian and New Zealand  Society of Palliative Medicine