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Bereavement Counseling in the School

S. etting. . by Luciano Sabatini, Ph.D.. Challenges Facing . N. ewly . B. ereaved Students. Living in a death . p. hobic . s. ociety. Dealing with death illiterate adults. Being sheltered from the truth.

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Bereavement Counseling in the School

Presentation on theme: "Bereavement Counseling in the School"— Presentation transcript:


Bereavement Counseling in the School Setting

by Luciano Sabatini, Ph.D.Slide2

Challenges Facing Newly Bereaved Students

Living in a death





Dealing with death illiterate adults

Being sheltered from the truth

Lack of life experience in dealing with lossSlide3

Challenges Facing Counselors

Children & adolescents grieve differently than adults

Cultural differences in dealing with grief

Parental resistance especially in blended families

Adolescent need to fit in, not feel different

Uniqueness of grief, no template for grief


Immediate Interventions: Assisting a Grieving Student

How do you prepare for a student’s return to school?Slide5

Planning for a Student’s Return

Using the child study team, develop a plan which includes:

Who will provide counseling for the student?

Who should know about the loss?

What accommodations should be made to school work?

What assistance do teachers and other staff need?

What communication is needed with the home?

Who will monitor student progress?


Developing Sound Practicesand Procedures

Articulation within school and between schools on student’s loss

Notifying students when the death has occurred while in school

Remembering the anniversaries

Review practices that may be antiquated


Long Term Interventions: Support Groups

Does your school use support groups to assist bereaved students?

What has been your experience with using such groups?Slide8

Preliminary Steps to Starting a Group

Notifying administration & getting support

Identifying students

Deciding on facilitators

Selecting a site for the group


Solving the Logistics for a Group

Determining when to start, day of the week, and meeting pattern

Notifying teachers

Communicating with students

Interviewing students for the group

Obtaining parental permissionSlide10

The First Meeting of the





Introducing the facilitators

Student introductions

Nature of a support group

Establishing ground rules


Follow-up with students who did not attendSlide11

Subsequent meetings

Picture of the deceased family member

Review of week

Ice- breakers

Holiday concerns

Introduce concept of empowermentSlide12

After the Holidays

What did they learn that could help for next year

Review of the week

Student authored Ice breakers

Empowerment activities

“ teaching others how to help the bereaved”Slide13

Terminating the Group

When to end

Last Meeting

Setting goals for the future—reunion activity


eedback for future groups Slide14

Death of a Student

Has your school ever experienced this?

What was the school’s response?Slide15

Crisis Intervention

Assembling a crisis team

Identifying needs of students, staff, parents & community

Developing a plan to meet these needs

Implementing the plan

Daily meetings to assess plan and make changes where neededSlide16

Components of the Plan

Providing assistance to faculty

Communicating tragic news

Providing counseling & safe havens for students

Identifying and reaching out to students most impacted by the loss

Keeping the community organizations informed

Providing assistance during wake & funeral

Evening parent meeting


Do’s and Don’ts

Do respect individual differences in grief.

Do maintain a routine and structure with allowances

Do allow for activities to memorialize the deceased

Don’t have large assemblies to discuss tragic news

Don’t force counseling on grieving students


If you have questions or need additional information

Call: 516-799-5873




: www.empoweringthebereaved.com