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How can a bereavement program help a child who lost a parent?

Kathy Clair-Hayes
Social Work
Bereavement programs for families may help many children whose mothers or fathers die. It's not yet clear which children and adolescents are likely to benefit most or which programs are best. One study suggested those at higher risk—for example, because of a suicide of a loved one—and who exhibit greater distress benefited from intervention. Another study of grief therapy for high-risk families (those with troubled family dynamics) of patients dying from cancer published in The American Journal of Psychiatry found that the counseling modestly reduced distress at 13 months. Typically, families engaged in four to eight 90-minute therapy sessions held over nine to 18 months that aimed for better communication, functioning, and handling of conflicts.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.