The Lived Experience of Grief: A Heuristic Self-Inquiry
Jaunzems, Allison Chaundra
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Using the methodology of heuristic self-inquiry, this study explored the researcher’s lived experience of grief in order to contrast it with current literature. This lead to the research question: Is it possible that all grief is normal and healthy to the individual who suffers? This study features a contextual framework that reveals grieving is unique to the individual, and is both natural and healthy. The results highlight seven themes: relationship history; resistance; interventions, which result in a shift of perspective; acceptance; transformation; adaptation; and forgiveness. These themes are compared and contrasted to six grief models for therapy, and considerations for counsellors are identified. The research also illuminates five main concepts: (a) grief can be an expression of love; (b) there is no set timeline for grief, rather it is unique to the bereaved individual; (c) grief can be continuous throughout the lifespan, consisting of various forms and qualities; (d) grief is neither clinically complicated nor dysfunctional, but rather an expression of loss; and (e) symptoms of grief can be coping mechanisms to maneuver through the healing process. The research suggests a need for further inquiry into the lived experience of grief because it holds significance for both counsellors and clients when designing uniquely tailored interventions.