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Wong Chapter 13

Topic: Bereavement Counseling

Question/Prompt: Utilizing your textbook readings from this module week, discuss how faith and spirituality may be potentially therapeutic to those who are dying. Then, read through The Code of Ethics for the Association for Death Education and Counseling and highlight two specific responsibilities that a counselor has when engaging bereavement counseling. Detail these responsibilities and discuss why they are important.

Reply to 2 other classmates by offering 1 new piece of information to add to their discussion of the different theories. Each reply must be minimum 250 words APA format cited referenced biblical worldview

Reference:“Liberty University Custom: Wong, D., Hall, K. R., Justice, C. A., and Hernandez, L. W.  (2015). Human growth and development (Custom Package). Thousand Oaks, CA:  Sage Publication. ISBN: 9781506355153. *Custom bundle contains Wong et al. (2015), Counseling individuals through the lifespan, ISBN: 9781452217949 and supplemental journal articles.

Derek Post-To be quite candid, the thought of dying is a scary thing, and many of us feel quite uneasy talking about it (Turner, 2011). Despite that reluctance, death is an inevitable result of being born. How death is thought of differs from religion to religion, with some religions, such as Buddhism, believing that death leads to reincarnation. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 tells us what we can expect as Christians:

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

John 3:16 also sums it up pretty well:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

It is no wonder that those who are dying find a renewal in their spiritual beliefs (Moestrup & Hvidt, 2016). Yet many terminal patients complain that they do not feel that their religious needs are being met (Bonavita, Yakushko, Morgan Consoli, Jacobsen, & Mancuso, 2018). Pastoral care improves the quality of life for those that are dying by helping them cope with the dying process, which is often the part of death that causes the most discomfort (Moestrup & Hvidt, 2016). Turner (2011), a chaplain within a hospital, echo this, but states that sometimes the best thing that a chaplain can do is to just sit by quietly while the patient processes their end of life, instead of doing the “religious things” that many people expect of them, although prayer is usually involved. Many of those that lack this religious care report a feeling of “religious pain” (Bonavita, Yakushko, Morgan Consoli, Jacobsen, & Mancuso, 2018).

The Association for Death Education and Counseling (2010) has developed several ethical standards when providing services for those that are dying, as well as their families. These standards make clear that the counselor’s primary obligation is the patient and the patient’s family, and the codes require the counselor to promote the welfare of these individuals. The codes also require that counselors are familiar with the resources that are available to the patient, including professional and self-help resources, and that the counselor aids the patient in obtaining those resources when appropriate.

Grace Post– 1 Corinthians 15:55 (KJV) asks death where your victory is and where is your sting. Being a believer in Jesus, we know that to live is Christ and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21). Scripture gives the Christian hope for life after death, yet death can still be a source of anxiety. Religion can help ease anxiety about death as it deals with forgiveness and provides a source of hope for eternal life (Krause, 2015). Feldman, Fischer, and Gressis (2016) offer that how a person views God can influence how they deal with the thoughts of death. Research suggested that those believers who saw God as distant, unconcerned with them, or sometimes cruel had greater anxiety or avoidant behavior towards death and dying (Feldman et al., 2016). Feldman et al. (2016) recommend that the therapist work within the belief system of the person to assist and show where God is loving and concerned with them. Death is an inevitable part of life, and everyone will process it differently with some finding peace by employing their religion and others may not (Feldman et al., 2016). Krause (2015) states that regular worshippers have more spiritual support from their churchgoers which in turn leads to a greater trust in God, feel forgiven by God and experience less anxiety about death. Kruase (2015) proposes that it is the social network of like-minded believers that eases anxiety as those believers who did not have the system reported more stress. 

The Association for Death and Counseling’s 2010 Code of Ethics mentions responsibilities that the counselor was providing bereavement counseling has. The first responsibility that is listed is the responsibility to those served. I do not believe it was coincidental that the server group is listed first as the counselor’s primary concern is the client being served. This responsibility is important because it focuses on the client and provides guidance on the rights and maintaining the integrity of the client-counselor relationship.  There may be many things shared during the end of life counseling and being aware of client wellbeing is crucial. The code allows for consulting with other professionals regarding the client. This is an essential responsibility because it provides the client with the best care available by permitting a counselor to interact with seniors and peers in areas they may not be a string in.

Another responsibility is a responsibility to society. I find this aspect of being important because at the time of physical demise those who are seeking counseling should be afforded to do such. The Code of Ethics (2010) encourages members not to discriminate due to age, race, gender, religion, lifestyle, sexual orientation, and many other categories.  The code guides that the counselor should ensure that the client has access to community services, resources, and opportunities. The code also speaks to how the counselor interacts with the public and to provide clarification when speaking as an individual or as the representative of a collective group. The responsibility to society ensures that counselors represent the profession in a manner that protects the privacy and integrity of the client and the profession.


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