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Section 5
Track #5 - Four Methods for Reestablishing Security

CEU Question 5 | CEU Answer Booklet | Table of Contents | Grief
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On the last track we discussed the responsibilities of therapists regarding clients grieving the death of children from SIDS.   We also discussed the 6 common features of filicide.  The 6 common features of filicide are first Reestablishing Security Helping Parents with Grieving Children psychology continuing educationchildren, aged less than 7 months, suffering from seizures or apnea, recent hospital discharge, time of death, and mothers who smoke.

On the next three tracks we will discuss the five challenges of a grieving child.  They are security, understanding death, mourning death, staying connected, and resuming childhood.  As we explore these five challenges that grieving children face, we will also discuss how grief counselors and parents can help grieving kids meet these challenges. 

On this track we will discuss the first of the five challenges of a grieving child.  The first of the five challenges of a grieving child that we will discuss is security.  We will also explore the four methods for reestablishing security.  The four methods are actively manage the level of change in the child’s life, actively increase the level of predictability in the child’s life, deal with any of the child’s health concerns, and increase the child’s feelings of control.

Share on Facebook #1 Security
The first of the five challenges of a grieving child that we will discuss is security.  As you know, when children experience loss, they may also lose a sense of security.  For example, Stacy was a six year old who became an only child overnight when a semi crashed into the family’s Toyota, instantly killing her father and brother on their way home from a Boy Scout trip. 

Since the accident, Stacy has asked her mom, Carol, each morning, “So mom, what’s the plan for today?”  When Carol asked me why, I stated, “Stacy has a need to know exactly what’s happening in order to feel safe again.  She needs to know what and whom to trust.  Stacy’s assumptions about how the world works have been destroyed.  Now she approaches life more tentatively, wondering, ‘What can I count on?  Who can I trust?’”

Share on FacebookTechnique: Worry About Yourself
To help Carol reestablish a sense of security for Stacy, I used the “Worry About Yourself” technique.  As you are aware, anxiety is contagious, especially for children.  I have found that because children mirror their parent’s level of comfort relating to security,  the “Worry About Yourself” technique can be a helpful way for parents to reestablish a sense of security. 

The “Worry About Yourself” technique is very simple.  Parents simply project a comfortable feeling that everything is going to be fine.  Because Carol was also grieving the loss of the rest of her family she asked, “How am I supposed to be calm when my whole world has been blown up, too?” 

Here are a few of the steps Carol discovered to help her reestablish security.  As you listen to these parent’s suggestions, decide if a family member you are currently treating may benefit from hearing these suggestions.

3 Steps to Help Reestablish Security
 
-- Step 1 - Exercise
In her own words, Carol stated,   “I’ve started running again.  It relaxes me in two ways.  First, I say to myself, ‘If I can make it up this damn hill, I can do anything.’  And second, after a couple miles, I’m too tired to worry.” 

-- Step 2 - Worry Partner
Next, Carol stated,   “I didn’t set out to do this, but I wound up with a ‘worry partner’.  I met this other woman who was widowed a few years ago.  She listens to all my worries and makes me feel normal ‘cuz she worried about the same things.  Then she helps me think up answers to my problems.”

-- Step 3 - "I'm Better Prepared."
Carol also stated,  “Every morning when I have my coffee, I think about the hardest times in my life and how now I’m better prepared to deal than I was ten years ago.  I think about all the ways this could have been worse.  That helps.” 

Think of your Carol.  Could she or he help her or his child feel a stronger sense of security by using the “Worry About Yourself” technique? 

#2 The Four Methods for Reestablishing Security
The four methods for reestablishing security are  actively manage the level of change in the child’s life, actively increase the level of predictability in the child’s life, deal with any of the child’s health concerns, and increase the child’s feelings of control.

As I list these four methods, evaluate the parent of a grieving client you are counseling to find out if he or she could benefit from trying any of these four methods.

Share on Facebook Method 1 - Actively Manage the Level of Change in the Child’s Life. 
Ways in which Carol managed change in Stacy’s life included maintaining routines, minimizing change and communicating changes.  Carol stated, “Whenever a change is necessary, I’ll try to give Stacy as much notice as possible.  I’ll also involve Stacy in making changes.”  Carol also maintained the same rules of discipline and the same expectations which were present before the death of Stacy’s father. 

Do you agree that by maintaining discipline levels parents can help kids return to a normal state?

Share on Facebook Method 2 - Actively Increase the Level of Predictability in the Child’s Life. 
Because Stacy felt insecure, Carol tried to restore her sense of security by increasing the level of predictability in Stacy’s life.  Carol stated, “First, I’ll make sure Stacy knows where I am and how to reach me.  Second, I’ll do the things I say I’m going to do.  Third, I can help Stacy anticipate upcoming events and help her understand how these things might make her feel.”   

Share on Facebook Method 3 - Dealing with any of the Child’s Health Concerns. 
Stacy didn’t express any health concerns, but I have found this step to be applicable in other cases.  About 20 percent of grieving children I have treated begin to worry they may die.  60 percent worry that their parents may die.  If they present themselves, would you agree that by addressing the child’s health concerns, parents can help reestablish a sense of security?

Share on Facebook Method 4 - Increase the Child’s Feelings of Control. 
Stacy felt out of control when the death of her father and brother destroyed her assumptions regarding life.  To help her regain a feeling of control, Carol validated Stacy’s experiences.  Instead of using unsupportive phrases like, “It’s silly to feel that way” or “You can’t really believe that”, Carol acknowledged Stacy’s right to her feelings.

Think of your Stacy.  Could her sense of security be restored by a combination of these methods?

On this track we have discussed the first of the five challenges of a grieving child.  The first of the five challenges of a grieving child that we have discussed is security.  We also explored the four methods for reestablishing security.  The four methods are actively manage the level of change in the child’s life, actively increase the level of predictability in the child’s life, deal with any of the child’s health concerns, and increase the child’s feelings of control.

On the next track we will discuss the second and third challenges of a grieving child.  They are understanding death and mourning death.  We will also discuss the Grasping Reality technique and how to play Feelings Football, which is a technique for parents who need to help their children mourn..

Online Continuing Education QUESTION 5
What are the four methods for reestablishing security? To select and enter your answer go to CEU Answer Booklet.

 
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