Case study Louise is 60 years old and lives alone. Her husband, Tony, died suddenly two years ago from a heart attack. Prior to Tony’s death, Louise had been responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of the family home, doing the books for Tony’s accountancy practice and caring for their only grandchild, 4 year old Max, two afternoons per week. Since Tony’s death, Louise has had to down-size to a single bedroom unit as she was unable to service the home loan repayments. Max now goes to preschool five afternoons per week and Louise has recently been told by her daughter, Sally, that she and Max may be moving interstate in the New Year due to her husband’s job promotion. While Sally has assured Louise that she will be ‘welcome to visit anytime’, Louise does not see eye-to-eye with Sally’s husband and fears that he may make these visits ‘difficult’ for her. Louise’s other child, Barney, lives overseas with his partner, Steven. Louise and Barney have not spoken for ten years as Tony had ‘forbidden’ her from doing so when he first learnt of Barney’s relationship with Steven. While Louise would desperately love to make contact with her son, she has not done so ‘out of respect for Tony’s memory.’ Now that her daughter and grandchild may be moving away too, Louise is feeling ‘torn’ about the current situation with Barney, and has sought counselling in the hope that the counsellor will ‘tell her what she should do.’
Part A (20 marks): Describe the case study presented above from a loss and grief perspective. For example, what kind of losses does it contain? What socio-cultural and familial factors might be influencing Louise’s experience? What is her support network like? How might these factors impact upon her grieving process? Use references to support your reflections.
Part B (20 marks): Choose ONE of the approaches to grief counselling referred to in Module 5. How would this counselling approach assist Louise to explore her loss experiences and enable a decision to be made in relation to contacting Barney? Please substantiate your response with examples from the case study.
Part C (10 marks): What ethical issues might this case raise for you in particular, if you were supporting Louise? Describe how you would minimise any negative effects that these ethical issues might have upon your relationship with Louise and your capacity to support her.