There is no fast track through the grief process. The developing use of approaches such as Mindfulness and CBT in bereavement may feel questionable to some, however when used appropriately, they can provide a practical framework from which clients can work towards an increased sense of manageability and wellbeing.
With the development of commissioned bereavement services, resources that can offer shorter term, practical support are being explored and utilised in a creative, collaborative way with clients.
Mindfulness and CBT can provide useful tools that can be accessed by bereaved family members to help them understand or manage their grief.
Our hospice has been running mindfulness sessions for bereaved individuals. Initially this took the form of the 8 week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction programme, which was facilitated by a volunteer training with Bangor Mindfulness Centre and the co-ordinator of bereavement services. Mindfulness enables participants to connect with their grief process (Kumar 2005). By not resisting thoughts and feelings, new stress reduction techniques can help to manage them.
The progression from offering mindfulness to CBT in bereavement services was not such a large leap. The use of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy is currently recommended by NICE as a treatment for depression (NICE, 2014). CBT sessions are offered at assessment if appropriate.
CBT provides a useful framework for clinicians as it allows us to understand bereaved people’s experiences and offer strategies to increase their sense of control if required. A CBT approach can be easily tailored to help those clients with normal grief reactions where the intervention might have a psycho-educational focus, to a more structured, long-term intervention for those who are suffering from prolonged or complicated grief (Morris, 2008).
This poster aims to encourage other hospices to consider the use of mindfulness and CBT within the context of a hospice bereavement service.
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