Volume 33, Number 1, January 2011
1. Introduction to the Special Section on Grief, Loss, and Bereavement
Loreto R. Prieto
I am pleased to pen the introduction to this special section, written by Dr.
Elizabeth Altmaier and her research team at The University of Iowa. I had the
pleasure of editing their work and helping this section to evolve to its present
state. We on the JMHC editorial staff hope this special section will be helpful
to our readers.
2. Concepts and Controversies in Grief and Loss (Pages 4-10)
Robyn A. Howarth
Although grief is a universal experience, the ways in which it occurs are not universally agreed upon. In
fact, there is considerable controversy about the “normal” duration of grief, its expected outcome, and
its course. Although most grieving adults will achieve a sense of normalcy at some point, others seem
not to do so. Continuing impairment by grief raises a question: Is the experience qualitatively different
from normal grief or is it different only in degree? This article discusses grief conceptualizations, including
that of complicated grief, and approaches to grief counseling.
3. Bereavement Among African Americans and Latino/a Americans (Pages 11-20)
Joleen C. Schoulte
Mourning is the term for the culturally-informed practices through which grief is expressed. Although
grief is a universal human experience, mourning varies greatly by culture and ethnic group. In this article,
I examine bereavement and mourning in African American and Latino/a American groups. I also
discuss broader cultural issues related to assessment and intervention.
4. Promoting the Adjustment of Parentally Bereaved Children
Robyn A. Howarth
The death of a parent is one of the most stressful life events to encounter during childhood. Given its
detrimental impact on psychological development, a better understanding of outcomes associated with
childhood bereavement and factors that affect these outcomes is necessary. The adjustment of bereaved
children is linked to such factors as age of the child, sex of child and parent, circumstances of parent
death, and the adjustment of the surviving caregiver. In this article I highlight considerations that
may increase children’s positive adjustment to parental death and also discuss specific treatment
5. Best Practices in Counseling Grief and Loss: Finding Benefit from Trauma (Pages 33-45)
Elizabeth M. Altmaier
Grief may be a primary presenting concern of clients or may form a background to another presenting
concern. In either case, use of best practices in assessing and treating grief is essential. In this article I
review what best practices are in general and in assessment and treatment. I also evaluate ways to measure
grief and describe domains of the grief experience. The article also discusses controversies within
the literature on grief counseling, including the potential for deterioration after treatment. It concludes
with a view of counseling grief that promotes finding benefit from trauma.
6. Supplemental Resources for Counseling Grieving Clients
We recommend the following resources to give depth to the topics discussed
in this special section. These materials may also be beneficial to clients or their
parents. I will briefly review target audiences for these resources.
7. The Significance of Spirituality for Individuals with Chronic Illness: Implications for Mental Health Counseling
Lindsey M. Nichols; Brandon Hunt
Understanding the significance of spirituality for individuals with chronic illness is advantageous to
mental health counselors because it combines knowledge from multiple disciplines to find approaches
useful to help individuals create meaning and purpose in their lives. Chronic illness is defined by not
only the physical but also the mental and spiritual effects of the disease. This review of the literature
addresses ways spirituality can help people with chronic illness and what it means to individuals undergoing
physical and emotional challenges as a result of their illness. Recommendations are provided for
how mental health counselors can help clients with chronic illness explore spirituality.
8. E-mail Communication: Issues for Mental Health Counselors
Loretta J. Bradley; Bret Hendricks; Robin Lock; Peggy P. Whiting; Gerald Parr
In an era where fast, efficient communication is needed, e-mail has emerged. From its beginning in 1971,
professionals have used e-mail to communicate—lawyers, counselors, psychologists, and social workers
with clients; nurses and physicians with patients. But despite its advantages, e-mail can cause problems.
This article discusses both the positive use of electronic communication and the need to address fundamental
counseling issues that arise in using it. The article reflects the AMHCA and ACA ethical codes
for the use of technology in the counseling relationship. It also looks at e-mail communication between
counselor and client with special attention to challenges of which counselors should be aware.
9. The Relationship Between Acculturation and Mental Health of Arab Americans (Pages 80-92)
Mireille Aprahamian; David M. Kaplan; Amy M. Windham; Judith A. Sutter; Jan Visser
This study investigated the relationship between mental health and the degree of acculturation among
Arab Americans. Subjects were adults of Arab or Chaldean descent who took part in the 2003 Detroit
Arab American Study (DAAS). Data from 1,016 Arab American families revealed that the relationship
between acculturation and mental health is complex and influenced by a number of other variables.
There was significant evidence that besides demographic variables, factors like religion, discrimination
experiences, and age at migration are also related to the mental health of Arab Americans. However,
acculturation was not found to be as significant in the current study. Implications for mental health
counselors who work with Arab Americans and researchers who study this population are presented.