Special Episode: Winston’s Wish
In this Special Episode of the Counselling Tutor Podcast, your host Rory Lees-Oakes speaks with Letizia Perna, the Director of Services and Service Transformation for the charity Winston’s Wish.
An introduction to Winston’s Wish:
- The first UK childhood bereavement charity.
- The charity turns 30yrs old this year (2023).
- They offer support, advice, and guidance for children and young people aged 0-25 who have lost someone important to them.
- This advice and guidance focuses on talking about death and dying.
This episode of Counselling Tutor Podcast is sponsored by
- WebHealer are the go-to provider of websites for private practitioners in the UK.
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During this podcast, Rory and Letizia discuss some of the ways grief affects children and young people, and how to approach talking about death and bereavement:
- When it comes to helping little children – begin by helping them to understand what life is and what death is. You might do this using nature, e.g. the life cycle of a leaf through spring to autumn.
- As a child grows and develops, their understanding of death changes too – object permanence becomes something they understand more.
- Using language like ‘lost’ can be confusing for children; they may begin to think things along the lines of ‘well let’s go find them’.
- This is why it’s important to be very precise when speaking to children – using ‘clean’ language, factual and simple.
- It’s important to have these conversations in an open and honest way.
- Help children to name their emotions and put a label on how they're feeling.
- Grief is a constant journey – as they grow, continue to have these discussions and be open.
- Consider how the other relationships in their lives may of changed due to this loss.
- It can be an alienating experience – it’s likely they don’t know another child who has experienced what they have.
- Unresolved grief may cause behavioural changes.
- Grief is a really individual experience.
- It doesn’t end or stop hurting completely – give them the chance to talk about it, and don’t be afraid to revisit these difficult conversations.
- Use the word ‘death’.
- Grief can resurface during milestone events.
- Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ five stages of grief – there is no perfect five chronological stages through grief, it is different for everyone and doesn’t reach a final destination.
- The importance of connecting with those who are dead. It may help some people to speak to their lost loved one or write a letter etc.
- Dual-Process Model – recognising that life does go on, trying to remove the guilt from going about life after the loss.
- The benefits of workbooks, journals, play/art therapy, letter writing, and music for a child or young person experiencing grief.
- Winston’s Wish believe in bringing children together, to show them they're not alone.
- They offer advice and introductory videos for those wanting to learn more about supporting children and young people through bereavement and sessions for both the bereaved and their caregiver.
- Winston’s Wish want to normalise bereavement and let children and young people have a voice and a space to voice their feelings and emotions.
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Links and Resources
Advanced Certificate in Counselling Supervision
Basic Counselling Skills: A Student Guide
Counselling Theory in Practice: A Student Guide
Online and Telephone Counselling: A Practitioner’s Guide