UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

A phenomenological exploration of bereaved individuals' experience of counselling Vaugeois, M. Alma


This phenomenological study sought to explore the bereaved individuals' experience of therapy. The research question was "How do bereaved individuals experience therapy while going through the grief process?" Four bereaved individuals who experienced the sudden loss of a loved one were recruited from the Lower Mainland. Through in-depth interviews, which were audio-taped, the participants shared their experiences of therapy. Using Giorgi's (1989) phenomenological analysis, the material yielded four major themes and several sub-themes. Under the first major theme, 'the experience of self' the participants reported a lack of wholeness, hopelessness and depletion. With the second major theme, 'the experience of therapeutic process' the participants reported difficulty engaging in the therapeutic process and inner turmoil. Through interaction with the therapist the impasse created by inner turmoil was resolved, and the following themes emerged: sense of safety, development of trust, formation of positive therapeutic relationship, being inspired by therapist, willingness to engage in the therapeutic process, relief and appreciation of the therapist. Under the third major theme, 'experience of self-discovery and self actualization' the participants reported a growing sense of freedom to be genuine and a willingness to risk being themselves. Under the fourth major theme, 'experience of belonging and fulfilment' the participants reported a sense of purpose, preciousness in life and discovery of one's needs. In conclusion, the this study indicates the profound change undergone by participants as a result of therapy. The participants were able to acknowledge the pain of their grief and re-discover their own uniqueness. Through the guidance and acceptance of their therapists, these individuals were able move beyond their grief and re-invest in the world.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.