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Bereaved Parents and their Continuing Bonds

Love after Death
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For bereaved parents the development of a continuing bond with the child who has died is a key element in their grieving and in how they manage the future. Using her experience of working in a children's hospital as a counsellor with bereaved parents, Catherine Seigal looks at how continuing bonds are formed, what facilitates and sustains them and what can undermine them. She reflects on what she learned about the counsellor's role supporting parents in extremely distressing situations.

Using the words and experiences of bereaved parents, and drawing on current theories of continuing bonds, the book is relevant to both professionals and parents. It covers important subjects such as the benefits of a therapeutic group for bereaved parents, the challenges for parents when another child is born, the important role of siblings in keeping the bonds alive and how it is for parents whose child dies before birth or in early infancy. The book uses theory lightly but relevantly and places it into the heart of the lived experience. It offers anyone working with bereaved parents insight into the many and varied ways grief is experienced and expressed and what can be helpful and unhelpful. And it offers bereaved parents the opportunity to share other parents' experiences, to understand a little more about their own feelings and to know they are not alone, providing an original and valuable guide to continuing love after death.
  • Published: Aug 21 2017
  • Pages: 144
  • 196 x 128mm
  • ISBN: 9781785923265
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Press Reviews

  • Andrew Cooper, Professor of Social Work at Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust

    In this profound and beautifully written book Cathie Seigal opens our minds and hearts to a world of loss, grief and transformation that is far outside the experience of most people. She weaves together the stories of bereaved parents with her own capacity for deep reflection and understanding, and disturbs our settled notions of what grieving might be. The work she describes is not easy, and reading this book was a painful experience for me at times, but it is an indispensable resource for anyone concerned with accompanying other human beings in extreme pain. Truthful, grounded, intense, emotionally accurate, and ultimately spiritual in its sensibilities, I cannot recommend it too highly.
  • Timothy Watts, Consultant Neonatologist at St Thomas' Hospital, London

    This book can be read by anyone, but will be an incredibly valuable resource for parents, professionals and those supporting the bereaved. It manages to convey the complex array of human responses to the death of a child with clarity and compassion. Her central thesis of the importance of creating a lasting relationship between the child who has died and those left behind is powerfully and beautifully rendered.
  • British Journal of Social Work

    A humble, thoughtful and reflective book that demonstrates the author's ability to care for and emotionally hold her clients by bearing witness to their pain and walking alongside them as they recreate their relationships with their child after death.
  • Cruse Bereavement Care
    I would certainly recommend that this book be placed on the reading list for bereavement counselling courses. And I for one will be recommending it to parents struggling with a profundity beyond words, because this book speaks to that profundity.
  • Anne Geraghty, Author of ‘Death, the Last God: A Modern Book of the Dead’

    Bereavement Care Journal
    In this remarkable book Catherine Seigal has distilled her work with bereaved parents and created a profound gift for anyone who has lost a child...Catherine goes right to the heart of the matter, writing about the love that is greater than death, and how it is in this love we find the continued bond with our dead children. Yet this book is not only for parents, it is also a resource for counsellors. Catherine describes the therapeutic benefit of groups as well as counselling.