Special Edition: Winston’s Wish

Special Episode: Winston’s Wish

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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.
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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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