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  • Ask at least one question in response to an original peer post that you would like the author to explore further.
  • Support your initial and subsequent posts by citing at least two academic resources, preferably from the Ashford University Library.

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Death and grief have different impacts depending on developmental stages. Children and adolescents go through different stages of understanding death and dying. Young children do not understand death as a permanent event, but as they grow older and enter maturing developmental stages, gain a better understanding that death is permanent but may not see it as a universal event. By early adulthood there is a shift to feeling anxiety about one’s own death. Research indicates this exists because there if a shift from focusing solely on oneself to relationships with others (Mossler & Ziegler, 2016). By middle adulthood individuals begin thinking more about the time they have left and what they want to do with their lives in that remaining time. Older adults tend to think more about death, though Mossler and Ziegler note that research indicates death is a less frightening notion for individuals in this stage of life (2016).

An issue associated with grief in middle adulthood may be the diagnosis of a terminal illness. During this stage of adulthood individuals are more accepting of death but may experience more fear regarding impending death. This can be categorized as anticipatory grief, otherwise known as grief that occurs before death happens. There is a myriad of emotions that accompany this type of grief including anger, irritability, social withdrawal, and loss of emotional control (Mossler & Ziegler, 2016). In addition, this may include individuals facing the loss of goals and dreams they wanted to achieve during their lifetime.

In offering counseling services to an individual who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, it is important to have a generalized and in-depth understanding of what this client may be experiencing. Clinicians will need to address stress associated with the physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and practical needs associated with dying and the grief associated with it. In addition to offering counseling services to the diagnosed individual, services may also be warranted for the partner and family of the individual who are experiencing anticipatory grief as well. A good online resource to offer to clients is the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. This website offers information ranging from planning ahead, to caregiving and grief and loss, along with other resources (http://www.caringinfo.org (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.)

References

Beyers, J. M., Rallison, L., & West, C. (2017). Dialogical space in grief work: Integrating the alterity of loss. Death Studies, 41(7), 427. https://doi-org.proxy-library.ashford.edu/10.1080/…

Hartig, J., & Viola, J. (2016). Online Grief Support Communities. Omega: Journal of Death & Dying, 73(1), 29–41. https://doi-org.proxy-library.ashford.edu/10.1177/…

Mossler, R. A., & Ziegler, M. (2016). Understanding development: A lifespan perspective. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.