Caring for bereaved people involves a wide range of interventions, from the compassionate and empathic communication of a terminal illness diagnosis through the in-depth psychiatric management of bereaved people whose grief may or may not have contributed to their illness. There is also a powerful social movement of care that has evolved, particularly in the last three decades, recognizing the needs of, and supporting, bereaved people. Associated with this has been the development of self-help organizations that have contributed to the care and counseling of the bereaved. There are now many studies describing the effects of bereavement on health and wellbeing and the interventions that may be provided to prevent or deal with pathological outcomes. Still, there is much to be learned.
The models that have been used for counseling the bereaved have arisen for the most part from psychotherapeutic approaches and have traditionally applied to the one-to-one situation, with some extension to family and group treatments. Horowitz has been a significant contributor in defining the psychotherapeutic approach for grief (Horowitz et al., 1984a), dealing with bereavement in the context of stress response syndromes; other workers (Lindemann, 1944; Raphael, 1977, 1983) have utilized psychodynamic understanding for crisis intervention formats. Behavioral therapies have also been utilized, and descriptions have ranged from the broad model of Ramsay (1979), to the specifics of guided mourning (Mawson et al., 1981), to a more recent conceptualization that is cognitively oriented (Kavanagh, 1990).