20 Jun 2024

Book Review: New Techniques of Grief Therapy edited by Robert A. Neimeyer

By Peter Dunn, Counsellor at The Eaves

Book Review: New Techniques of Grief Therapy edited by Robert A. Neimeyer

I thought this was the most helpful and comprehensive book about bereavement counselling that I have read. With 59 chapters by a wide range of contributors, each chapter covers a distinct aspect of loss and bereavement. This makes the book easy to dip in and out of.

The book opens with ‘we are wired for attachment in a world of impermanence’ (p.xii). I particularly liked the chapters that draw on attachment theory in focusing on helping bereaved clients identify and shape continuing bonds with the person they have lost. Helping people find meaning in their experience of loss is hard to achieve, yet of utmost importance when death has been unexpected or violent. Similarly, helping people who are grieving the loss of someone with whom they had a difficult relationship raises complex issues. All these are explored here, with valuable suggestions for practice. Responding to major loss not involving death (such as divorce or the loss of good health) is addressed, as is helping people who are terminally ill prepare for their own death. There are lots of ideas for creative activity as part of therapy including the use of objects and model-making.

Numerous case studies and transcripts of client sessions help bring theory to life and make the book absorbing to read. There are resources that can be printed and given to clients who want to do some work between sessions, with diagrams for use in enabling mentalising and mindfulness.

This book has already become a resource that I revisit for my client work and at around £30 I think it is very good value for money.

Neimeyer, R (ed) (2022) New Techniques of Grief Therapy: Bereavement and Beyond. New York, Routledge.

The Eaves

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