chapter  10
Grief Counseling With Child and Adolescent Survivors of Parental Suicidal Deaths
WithNancy Boyd Webb
Pages 24

Death is diffi cult for survivors of any age. However, when an individual’s intentional actions result in suicide death, the loss qualifi es as traumatic for all surviving family members. Child and youth survivors of parental suicide are multiply and profoundly bereft because of their dependency and need for a parenting role model and caregiver, in addition to their need for a parent’s unconditional love. Furthermore, young children have diffi culty understanding the concept of death itself; when they fi nd out their parent’s death was self-infl icted, they may be overcome with troubling feelings of confusion and anger. Timely bereavement counseling in the form of crisis/trauma therapy can help young people process their experiences of complicated traumatic bereavement so that their development can proceed despite their terrible loss.