“can u help me get thru my grief?”
Exploring creativity for online counselling with parentally bereaved adolescents
XUAN LUU | Ph.D. Candidate, Mental Health Research Team
Discipline of Behavioural and Social Sciences in Health
Young people and the bereavement experience
› Bereavement is a universal element of human experience.
› Adolescence: Age range of 12 to 17 years (inclusive).
› Significant disruptions to functioning and development
- Impairments in academic performance;
- Strains on interpersonal relationships;
- Disturbances in sleeping patterns.
› Many do not feel the need for professional services, however also report
higher levels of depressive symptoms (Harrison & Harrington, 2001).
› So … what can be done to support bereaved young people?
Young people and online counselling
› Online counselling: Delivery of therapy in cyberspace to a client by a trained
professional counsellor (Richards & Viganó, 2012).
› Efficacy and outcomes can parallel FTF therapy
(Barak, Klein, Proudfoot, 2009).
› Can provide a private and emotionally safe environment
(King, et al., 2006).
› Primary concerns include emotional proximity, absence of non-verbal cues,
and temporal limitations (Bambling, King, Reid, & Wegner, 2008).
› Important elements include building rapport and accomplishing tasks.
› But how does online counselling really help young people?
Gaps in the knowledge base
› Much online counselling research has been quantitative
(Richards & Viganó, 2013).
› Selected focus areas in the literature at present:
- Dynamics of the online therapeutic alliance;
- Client outcomes compared to FTF therapy;
- Efficacy as a standalone intervention.
› Comparatively, qualitative research in this area is still building.
› The few studies concentrated on Internet-based therapy for grief and
bereavement have been quantitative in design.
› As research gains momentum, further exploratory investigations are needed.
Research aims and questions
› Exploring the phenomenon of creativity in relation to the practice of online
counselling with parentally bereaved young people.
› Seeking to illuminate the perspectives and experiences of practitioners.
› Research questions:
- How do online counselling practitioners think about creativity in relation to their
practice with parentally bereaved adolescents?
- How might practitioners currently integrate creativity into their practice with
parentally bereaved adolescents?
- What are practitioners’ ideas with respect to how creativity can be used more
effectively in online mental health practice with parentally bereaved adolescents?
Design, methodology, and analysis
› Series of in-depth, open-ended, semi-structured online interviews to be
conducted asynchronously via e-mail.
› 15-20 online counselling practitioners. Sample questions:
- Do you think online counselling practice needs creativity in it? If so, why? If not,
- How do you think creativity helps young people work through their bereavement
› Analysis to be undertaken using a Grounded Theory approach.
- Aim is to develop a cohesive theory that describes how online counselling
practitioners interpret and understand creativity in the context of practice.
› Bambling, M., King, R., Reid, W., & Wegner, K. (2008). Online counselling: The experience of counsellors providing synchronous singlesession counselling to young people. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 8(2), 110-116. doi: 10.1080/14733140802055011
› Barak, A., Klein, B., & Proudfoot, J. G. (2009). Defining Internet-supported therapeutic interventions. Annals of Behavioral Medicine,
38(1), 4-17. doi: 10.1007/s12160-009-9130-7
› Harris, E. S. (1991). Adolescent bereavement following the death of a parent: An exploratory study. Child Psychiatry and Human
Development, 21(4), 267-281. doi: 10.1007/BF00705931
› Harrison, L., & Harrington, R. (2001). Adolescents’ bereavement experiences. Prevalence, association with depressive symptoms, and
use of services. Journal of Adolescence, 24(2), 159-169. doi: 10.1006/jado.2001.0379
› King, R., Bambling, M., Lloyd, C., Gomurra, R., Smith, S., Reid, W., & Wegner, K. (2006). Online counselling: The motives and
experiences of young people who choose the Internet instead of face to face or telephone counsellign. Counselling and Psychotherapy
Research, 6(3), 169-174. doi: 10.1080/14733140600848179
› Richards, D., & Viganó, N. (2012). Online Counseling. In Y. Zheng (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Cyber Behavior (Vol. 1, pp. 699–713). New
York, NY: IGI Global.
› Richards, D., & Viganó, N. (2013). Online counseling: A narrative and critical review of the literature. Journal of Clinical Psychology,
69(9), 994-1011. doi: 10.1002/jclp.21974