Helping Bereaved Children, Third Edition: A Handbook for Practitioners / Edition 3

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This acclaimed work presents a range of counseling and therapy approaches for children who have experienced loss. Practitioners and students are given practical strategies for helping preschoolers through adolescents cope with different forms of bereavement, including death in the family, school, or community. Grounded in the latest research on child therapy, bereavement, trauma, and child development, the volume clearly explains the principles that guide interventions. Featuring a wealth of new content, the third edition retains the case-based format and rich descriptions of the helping process that have made the book so popular as a practitioner guide and text. New to This Edition Significantly revised and updated to reflect new information and approaches; 9 new topics covered. Covers additional types of loss: war-related death in the family, deaths connected to natural disasters, and the loss of a pet. Additional therapy modalities: cognitive-behavioral therapy and play therapy; conjoint caregiver-child treatment; and bereavement groups and camps. Addresses how to help parents and teachers meet bereaved children's needs.

This book contains black-and-white illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

Pastoral Sciences

"A rich resource for those whose work includes bereaved children."--Pastoral Sciences
Social Work Today

"Readable and accessible....A valuable source of information and inspiration."--Social Work Today
The Hospice Journal

"Current, scientifically sound, organized for quick reference, and easy to understand."--The Hospice Journal
Journal of Pediatric Psychology

"A timely and worthwhile resource....Fulfills the promise of good handbooks: supplying the reader with a ready sampling of nearly every conceivable situation one might encounter in clinical practice."--Journal of Pediatric Psychology
American Journal of Family Therapy

"Practical, useful, and inspiring."--American Journal of Family Therapy
Journal of Contemporary Human Services

"This book should be immensely helpful to practitioners who work with bereaved children and consequently of great benefit to the children themselves."--Journal of Contemporary Human Services
Social Work in Health Care

"An excellent resource and guide for students who are just beginning their career in the field of counseling, as well as a refresher for more seasoned professionals."--Social Work in Health Care
Family Ministry

"While this is primarily a resource for practitioners, it is also a wonderful teaching tool. Webb has included relevant discussion questions at the end of every chapter....This book could be a useful resource to youth directors, church educators, pastors, and child care staff as well."--Family Ministry
Child Development Abstracts & Bibliography

"Each chapter begins with a brief review of related literature and the approach used, presents case vignettes with background information, and summarizes the therapy....A moving account of how children grieve and a particularly poignant and useful model for the internal dialogue which therapists employ."--Child Development Abstracts & Bibliography
Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal

"The detailed case descriptions and dialogue offer an unheralded view into the clinical encounter with grieving children....As a social work educator, I will use chapters of this book to prepare students for a career of helping children facing grief."--Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal
From the Publisher

"This is an essential update and revision for our changing world. Grounded in developmental theory, the book provides detailed and phase-specific guidelines for assessing and helping bereaved children in a variety of contexts. Perhaps the most compelling characteristic of the book is the use of thorough case presentations that illustrate interventions such as Sandplay, art therapy, storytelling, role play, and puppetry, in individual, family, and group modalities. Webb concludes the volume with a much-needed section on self-care for those who engage in this rewarding and demanding work."--M. Carlean Gilbert, DSW, LCSW, CGP, School of Social Work, Loyola University Chicago
"Renowned scholar and author Nancy Boyd Webb's revised handbook is strategically comprehensive in scope and abundant in practice tools. Chapters provide resources for culturally competent, developmentally appropriate child- and family-focused practice. Graduate students, practitioners, and educators in social work, psychology, family studies, and ethnic studies will find this book richly insightful."--Rowena Fong, MSW, EdD, Ruby Lee Piester Centennial Professor in Services to Children and Families, School of Social Work, University of Texas at Austin

"This third edition is an important and valuable update. With strong attention to child development, the quality of the child's relationship to the deceased, and both the supports and challenges posed by family and community, this book is valuable for students, instructors, and experienced clinicians. The contributors address a wide range of circumstances and types of loss that are prevalent in today's diverse practice world. Methods of assessment and intervention are woven throughout. Resources of many kinds are offered, along with guidelines for clinician self-care to limit the secondary impact of doing this difficult work."--James W. Drisko, PhD, LICSW, Professor and Co-Director of the Doctoral Program, Smith College School for Social Work

"A necessary book for child and adolescent practitioners. Webb has brought together experts who cover a range of classic and cutting-edge topics and who consistently communicate an understanding of the holistic nature of grief. The book is packed with practical resources, including clinical material, sample forms, and tables. This text will be an excellent fit for my graduate-level course on children and death. The range of topics, the case examples, and the discussion questions at the end of each chapter are unique and refreshing elements."--Heather L. Servaty-Seib, PhD, Counseling Psychology Program, Purdue University College of Education

"Some of the most powerful human dramas occur within the heart of the family. Of these, none is more poignant or consequential than the child's loss of a parent or sibling. This remarkable book balances theory and practice for any reader who has accepted the challenge of entering the lives of troubled families. It is a wise and reliable guide that covers not only loss in the family, but other types of bereavement as well. Indispensable for therapists and human service providers."--Robert Kastenbaum, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Gerontology and Communication, Arizona State University

From The Critics
Professionals in medicine, education, and counselling update the 1993 edition to account for the increased occurrence of violent deaths and the impact it is having on children, and the growing awareness by schools and communities that children need help following incidents of murder, bombings, and terrorist attacks. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
Webb (social service, Fordham U.) draws on the clinical experiences of mental health professionals to present the theory and the practical aspects of therapeutic interventions with children who are suffering from a loss. The theoretical framework of a child's view of death is followed by sections on reactions to death in the family, and losses that affect whole communities, such as the death of a teacher or classmate. Webb lists sources for the materials she recommends. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Nancy Boyd Webb, DSW, BCD, RPT-S, a board-certified diplomate in clinical social work and a registered play therapy supervisor, is a leading authority on play therapy with children who have experienced loss and traumatic bereavement. Dr. Webb was Professor at the Fordham University School of Social Service from 1979 until 2008, where she held the endowed James R. Dumpson Chair in Child Welfare Studies, was named University Distinguished Professor of Social Work, and founded Fordham’s Post-Master’s Certificate Program in Child and Adolescent Therapy. Author or editor of numerous books, Dr. Webb is a consulting editor for the Journal of Child and Adolescent Trauma. She is a past board member of the New York Association for Play Therapy and is on the editorial advisory board for the journal Trauma and Loss: Research Interventions. Dr. Webb is an active supervisor, consultant, and trainer, and presents frequently at play therapy, social work, trauma, and bereavement conferences in the United States and internationally.

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Table of Contents

I. Introduction

1. The Child and Death, Nancy Boyd Webb

2. Assessment of the Bereaved Child, Nancy Boyd Webb

II. Death in the Family

3. The Death of a Grandparent or a Parent, Lois Carey

4. The Grief of Siblings, Betty Davies and Rana Limbo

5. The Disenfranchised Grief of Children, David A. Crenshaw and Jennifer Lee

6. Suicide in the Family: Helping Child and Adolescent Survivors, Cynthia McCormack and Nancy Boyd Webb

7. The Loss and Death of a Pet, Sharon M. McMahon

8. War-Related Deaths in the Family, Diane L. Scott

III. Death in the School and the Wider World

9. The Terminally Ill Child in School and the Sudden Death of a Teacher, Roxia Bullock

10. Violent, Traumatic Death in Schools and Community Responses, Patti Homan Anewalt

11. Children’s and Adolescents’ Exposure to the Mass Violence of War and Terrorism: Role of the Media, Kathleen Nader

12. Deaths Connected to Natural Disasters, Jennifer Baggerly and Alison Salloum

IV. Interventions with Bereaved Children

13. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Play Therapy for Childhood Trauma and Loss, Janine Shelby

14. Conjoint Caregiver–Child Treatment Following a Parent’s Death, Patricia Van Horn

15. Bereavement Groups and Camps for Children: An Interdisciplinary Approach, Priscilla A. Ruffin and Sarah A. Zimmerman

16. Storytelling with Bereaved Children, Donna O’Toole

V. Help for Counselors, Parents, and Teachers

17. Professional Self-Care and Prevention of Secondary Trauma, Tina Maschi and Derek Brown

18. Guidelines to Help Parents and Teachers of Bereaved Children, Nancy Boyd Webb


*Selected Training Programs and Certifications

*Suppliers of Play Materials

*Bereavement Resources

*References on Religious/Cultural/Ethnic Practices Related to Death

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  • Posted February 14, 2014

    Great resource

    An excellent resource for my graduate bereavement group class.

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