This book fills a critical gap in our scientific understanding of the grief response of parents who have lost a child to traumatic death and the psychotherapeutic strategies that best facilitate healing. It is based on the results of the largest study ever conducted of parents surviving a child's traumatic death or suicide. The book was conceived by William and Beverly Feigelman following their own devastating loss of a son, and written from the perspective of their experiences as both suicide-survivor support group participants and facilitators. It intertwines data, insight, and critical learning gathered from research with the voices of the 575 survivors who participated in the study.
The text emphasizes the sociological underpinnings of survivors' grief and provides data that vividly documents their critical need for emotional support. It explains how bereavement difficulties can be exacerbated by stigmatization, and by the failure of significant others to provide expected support. Also explored in depth are the ways in which couples adapt to the traumatic loss of a child and how this can bring them closer or render their relationship irreparable. Findings suggest that with time and peer support affiliations, most traumatically bereaved parents ultimately demonstrate resilience and find meaningful new roles for themselves, helping the newly bereaved or engaging in other humanitarian acts.
Offers researchers, clinicians, and parent-survivors current information on how parents adapt initially and over time after the traumatic loss of a child Presents data culled from the largest survey ever conducted (575 individuals) of parents surviving a child's suicide or other traumatic death Investigates the ways in which stigmatization complicates and prolongs the grieving process Addresses the tremendous value of support groups in the healing process Explores how married couples are affected by the traumatic loss of their child
"Grounded equally in solid clinical practice and uniquely relevant research, and tragically leavened by the personal bereavement of two of the book's authors, "Devastating Losses" sheds new and compassionate light on the experience of a child's death to traumatic causes." Robert A. Neimeyer, PhD Editor, Death Studies
"This volume is a pioneering and long overdue work, a study not only of grieving parents who lost a child to suicide but also of parents whose children succumbed to drug overdoses. The authors have done a masterful job of blending their quantitative research findings and the anguished voices of parents attending survivor support groups to create a rich and very engaging book." Michael F Myers, MD Co-Author, Touched by Suicide: Hope and Healing after Loss
William Feigelman, PhD, is Professor Emeritus and Adjunct Professor of Sociology at Nassau Community College (Garden City, New York), where he has taught for more than 44 years and still teaches part-time. Author and co-author of six books and more than 40 journal articles, he has written on a wide variety of social science subjects including child adoptions, youth alcohol and drug abuse, problem gambling, tobacco use and cessation, and intergroup relations. Since 2002, after his son Jesse's suicide, Dr. Feigelman has focused his professional writings on youth suicide and suicide bereavement. This work has appeared in Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, Death Studies, Omega: Journal of Death and Dying and Illness, Crisis and Loss. He is a member of the American Association of Suicidology and the Association for Death Education and Counseling, a frequent presenter at bereavement conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Japan, and a co-facilitator of a survivors' support group|||Beverly Feigelman, ACSW, is Adjunct Professor of Social Work at Adelphi University (Garden City, New York). She also maintains a private psychotherapy practice, providing family and individual counseling. She is an educational consultant for the Bellmore-Merrick (Long Island, New York) School District, training graduate social work students for work in secondary school settings. Ms. Feigelman is a member of various suicide prevention organizations, including the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, SPAN-USA, and the American Association of Suicidology, and a co-facilitator of a survivors' support group. She is also author or co-author of several articles on suicide bereavement, addiction treatment, and social work education. Ms. Feigelman often presents on these topics at professional conferences. She is also Chairperson of the Long Island Chapter of the Association for the Advancement of Social Work with Groups