Meeting unmet need?


  • Sally Paul
  • Kirsty Freeland



children, peer support, bereavement groups, loss, seasons for growth, groupwork


Abstract: Support for children experiencing bereavement varies considerably across the UK depending on organisational values and resources, the specific population and the individual expertise and experience of professionals. This paper describes a groupwork approach to meeting the needs of this population. It was developed by a hospice in central Scotland in response to a lack of formal support identified by both professionals and families within the community. It uses the Seasons for Growth loss and change education programme as a method of groupwork intervention. The paper discusses the initial evaluation of the groupwork service from when it was established in September 2007 to January 2010. It outlines the background to setting up the service, the sources and reasons for referral and the evaluation process and findings. Implications for group intervention with children who are bereaved are discussed in the conclusion.


Black, D. (1998) Bereavement in Childhood. <i>British Medical Journal</i>, 316, 931-933\nBlaikie, N. (2010) <i>Designing social research: The logic of anticipation (Second edition)</i> Cambridge and Malden: Polity Press\nChildhood Bereavement Network (2011) {Accessed 18 July 2011 at www.]\nChowns, G. (2008) ‘No, you don’t know how we feel’: Groupwork with children facing parental loss’. <i>Groupwork</i>, 18, 1, 14-37\nCurtis, K. and Newman, T. (2001) Community-based support services for bereaved children in Child Care. <i>Health and Development</i>, 27, 6, 487-495\nDepartment of Health (2008) <i>End of Life Care Strategy - promoting high quality care for adults at the end of life</i>. London: Department of Health\nGeldard, K. and Geldard, D. (2008) <i>Counselling Children: A Practical Introduction</i>. London: Sage\nGreen, H., McGinnity, A., Meltzer, H., Ford, T. and Goodman, R. (2005) <i>The Mental Health of Children and Young People in Great Britain 2004</i>. London: Office of National Statistics\nHarrison, L. and Harrington, R. (2001) Adolescents’ bereavement experiences. Prevalence, association with depressive symptoms, and use of services. <i>Journal of Adolescence</i>, 24, 2, 159-69\nKiernan, K. (1992) The impact of family disruption in childhood and transitions made in young adult life. <i>Population Studies</i>, 51, 213-34\nKitchener, S. and Pennells, M. (1990) A Bereavement Group for Children. <i>Bereavement Care</i>, 9, 3, 30-31\nLevy, J. (2004) Unseen support for bereaved families. <i>Bereavement Care</i>, 24, 2, 25 - 27\nMelvin, D. and Lukeman, D. (2000) Bereavement: A Framework for those Working with Children. <i>Clinical Child Psychology Psychiatry</i>, 5, 4, 521 - 539\nMonroe, B., Hansford, P., Payne, M. and Sykes, N. (2007) St Christopher’s and the future. <i>The Journal of Death and Dying</i>, 56, 1, 63-75\nNorris Huss, S. and Ritchie, M. (1999) Effectiveness of a group for parentally bereaved children. <i>The Journal for Specialists in Group Work</i>, 24, 2, 186-196\nRibbens McCarthy, J. (2006) <i>Young People’s Experiences of Loss and Bereavement: towards an interdisciplinary approach</i>. Maidenhead and New York: Open University Press\nRolls, L. and Payne, S. (2003) Childhood bereavement services: a survey of UK provision. <i>Palliative Medicine</i>, 17, 423-432\nRowling, L. (2003) <i>Grief in School Communities, Effective Support Strategies</i>. Buckingham: Open University Press\nScottish Government (2008) <i>Living and Dying Well: A national action plan for palliative and end of life care in Scotland</i>. Edinburgh: Scottish Government\nSeasons for Growth (1996) <i>Companion Manual Level 5</i>. Sydney: The Mary MacKillop Foundation\nSmith, S. (1999) <i>The Forgotten Mourners; Guidelines for Working with Bereaved Children, (Second Edition)</i>. London: Jessica Kingsley\nSilverman, P. (2000) <i>Never too young to know: death in children’s lives</i>. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press\nStirling, I. (2010) The influence of research in the development of a bereavement support service. <i>Scottish Journal of Healthcare and Chaplaincy</i>, 23, 1, 32-36\nStokes, J., Wyer, S. and Crossley, D. (1997) The challenge of evaluating a child bereavement programme. <i>Palliative Medicine</i>, 11, 179-190\nTrochim, W. (2006) <i>The research methods knowledge base (second edition</i>). {Accessed 17 May 2012 at]\nWorden, J. W. (1996) <i>Children and Grief: when a parent dies</i>. New York: Guildford\nWorden, J. W. (2009) <i>Grief Counseling and Grief Therapy: A Handbook (4th ed.)</i>. New York: Springer\n




How to Cite

Paul, S., & Freeland, K. (2013). Meeting unmet need?. Groupwork, 22(3), 49-64.