Grief and the therapist: How the therapist manages personal grief while maintaining safety for both self and the client within the therapeutic relationship: A modified systematic literature review with clinical illustrations
The goal of this study is to explore how the therapist manages personal grief while maintaining safety for both self and the client within the therapeutic relationship. This is achieved by using a systematic literature review with vignettes from my clinical practice, my work as a nurse and my personal experience. I have also included illustrations from research. The basis for this study is the salient fact that all humans experience loss at some time in their life. If the loss is not faced, processed or mourned, it becomes unresolved and may affect personal relationships. Therefore, if therapists carry emotional pain or unresolved grief into the therapeutic space, therapy may be compromised. This may hinder the effectiveness of the therapy at one level or cause an alliance rupture at the other, with possible termination of therapy. To promote effective therapy for the client, therapists should endeavour to provide a safe place. A safe place is primarily created when the therapist is a safe person. Therapist safety is achieved and maintained by the therapists’ self-awareness, self-care and regular personal therapy and supervision.