Date of Award
Master of Science in Counseling and Guidance
Educational Psychology and Counseling
First Reader/Committee Chair
To date, there have been no studies utilizing a narrative bereavement model for students impacted by suicide, in a group counseling setting. The present project intends to fill a gap in the literature. We sought to answer the research question, “Do narrative lines of inquiry, specifically re-membering conversations, help to ameliorate the pain of a loved one’s death by suicide?” We hypothesized that re-membering conversations would help to reduce pain, based on the premise that re-membering conversations reconnect the bereaved to the life of their deceased loved one, using a narrative which allows the life, values, thoughts, and wishes of the deceased to be brought forward and reincorporated into the life and future of the bereaved. The present research project consisted of a five-week bereavement group for college students impacted by the suicide of a friend or loved one. The group was structured like a case study in that we conducted a counseling group while collecting research data. Therefore, it was both research-oriented and therapeutic in nature. A sample of convenience was used to recruit and screen previously bereaved college students from a large state university in southern California. The group members self-selected and identified as having been affected by the suicide of a loved one. Each session lasted approximately 120 minutes. Research data consisted of open-ended questions, which were previously prepared by the researchers. This data was collected through audio recorders, transcribed and organized according to related themes. Benefits of the project include: decreased emotional pain due to the suicide, group camaraderie, reconnection with a deceased loved one, and hopefulness for future. The overall findings seem to suggest the following: The deceased always play a role in how we come to understand our own identity. Bringing other people’s voices into the room, whether living or dead, lightens the burden of grief. Having never met the person does not prohibit the living from having a relationship with the dead. Removing places for the deceased loved one to live on only increases pain. The present project seems to support the hypothesis that re-membering conversations help to ameliorate the pain associated with the death of a loved one by suicide. Future research may include quantitative data collection, random samples, larger sample size and varying demographics. Other studies could involve using control groups and then comparing those results with the counseled group. The anecdotal evidence found in the present research project seems to support the further study of the use of re-membering conversations with those bereaved by suicide.
Howard, Krystal J. and Kruse, Caryn L., "USING NARRATIVE AND RE-MEMBERING CONVERSATIONS IN A BEREAVEMENT GROUP WITH STUDENTS IMPACTED BY SUICIDE" (2015). Electronic Theses, Projects, and Dissertations. 152.