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On the last track we discussed feelings of guilt. In my practice, I have defined two distinct types of guilt. They are unrealistic guilt and realistic guilt.
On this track, we will discuss the Relationship Inventory technique. As you know, personal relationships can provide emotional support to grieving clients. For this reason, in my practice I review the Relationship Inventory technique with my grieving clients. If you already use the Relationship Inventory technique in your practice, compare your model with the model described on this track.
In the model of the Relationship Inventory technique I will describe, there are three types of relationships. The three types of relationships are pre-trauma relationships, relationships during the trauma, and post-trauma relationships. In my practice I find that clients experiencing grief may initially be overwhelmed by the Relationship Inventory. Therefore, I ask clients to pick only three relationships with which to begin. Other important relationships can be explored in later sessions.
Relationship Inventory Technique: Three Types of Relationships
#1 Pre-Trauma Relationships
I asked Luke to choose three important pre-trauma relationships to begin the Relationship Inventory technique. Luke tearfully stated, “Well, there was my girlfriend, Liz. She was killed in the accident, so she probably doesn’t count. The other two would be my brother John and my high school buddy Reggie.” I felt Luke could benefit from reviewing all three of these relationships, so I stated, “Liz counts, because she was important to you.”
First, to help
Luke review his relationship with his brother John, his high school buddy Reggie,
and his late girlfriend Liz, I gave Luke a writing assignment in which he answered
several questions about his relationships. For the purpose of brevity,
I will only list four of the questions I asked Luke in this technique. As
I read them, ask yourself, are any of these questions similar to the questions
you ask during the Relationship Inventory technique?
#2 Relationships During the Trauma
I phrased questions regarding relationships during Luke’s trauma similar to those regarding his pre-trauma relationships. I also asked, “How have relationships during your trauma influenced your recovery?” and “Would you have wanted John, Reggie or Dan to act differently?” Luke stated, “John was pretty upset. He came to the hospital all the time at first, but when the doctor said I’d never walk again, John became a ghost. I wish he could have stuck by me like Dan and Reggie.”
#3 Post-Trauma Relationships
then reviewed additional questions regarding Luke’s relationships. These
questions were structured to start reducing Luke’s feelings of
loneliness. Again, for the purpose of brevity I will only list four questions. See
if you can relate any of these questions to questions you have asked your grieving
On this track, we have discussed the Relationship Inventory technique. The
three types of relationships are pre-trauma relationships, relationships
during the trauma, and post-trauma relationships.
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