Mapping Grief: research and practice
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Providing effective and appropriate care to people facing significant life-changing events such as bereavement demands that the individual way in which each person experiences and deals with loss, needs to be recognised and understood.
There are many theories of grief which form an extensive knowledge base for practitioners. A theoretical framework which has been developed by Linda Machin, the Range of Response to Loss model, uses the language of grieving people heard in her practice and research, which also echoes the concepts of other theoretical perspectives.
The Adult Attitude to Grief scale (AAG) was originally devised (Machin 2001) to test the validity of the concepts within the Range of Response to Loss model (RRL). While confirming the categorical distinctions – overwhelmed, controlled, balanced / resilient – it also demonstrated the potential use of the scale as a way of profiling individual grief responses. As a tool for practice the AAG has been modified for use across a range of client groups.
A development in the RRL model has been to see resilience as part of a coping spectrum in which vulnerability is its opposite. Alongside this has come a proposition for calculating vulnerability using the AAG scale. Research has been undertaken to validate the scale as the basis for identifying vulnerability.
The practice implications of this work suggest a pluralistic approach to grief therapy in which effective intervention is based on appropriately addressing individual need rather than applying a one-size-fits-all approach.