Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Moments of assimilation and accommodation in the bereavement counselling process
Author: Wilson, John Frederick
ISNI:       0000 0004 6351 8472
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2017
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Based on the proposition of leading researchers who view grieving as a process of meaning-making and adaptation, the author posited that grief resolution requires learnt adaptation to loss via a process of assimilation and accommodation. This is analogous to constructivist learning seen in children; a view supported by adherents to the psychology of personal constructs. This position was tested with a theory-building case study approach devised by Stiles (2007). An observational protocol was devised which reconciles scientific positivism with relativist methodologies. The counselling sessions of ten bereaved clients were digitally recorded and the transcriptions were subjected to assimilation analysis. Client progress was scored using Stiles’ (2001) Assimilation of Problematic Experiences Scale (APES). Scores were subjected to inter-rater reliability measures to mitigate observer bias. The biology of grief, as evolved adaptive behaviour, was explored. The role of adaptation through assimilation appeared pertinent for some, but not all clients; particularly those whose assumptive world was little changed by their loss. The part played by resilience in adaptation had also been underestimated. However, every client was observed assimilating and accommodating new schemas in relation to the loss. Three categories of meaning were identified: managing the grief, accepting the circumstances of the death, and renegotiating the relationship with the deceased. Using APES as a template, the author devised the Assimilation of Grief Experiences Sequence (AGES) to chart clients’ meaning-making progress towards successful grief resolution. These findings indicate a need for prudence in offering grief counselling, with a primary focus on complicating issues, rather than attachment distress. Future research in a number of areas is suggested, including developing AGES as an outcomes measure, the part played by personal resilience on grief resolution, and the role of the counsellor in facilitating the assimilation of helpful schemas; research which has implications for counsellor training.
Supervisor: Gabriel, Lynne ; Laver-Fawcett, Alison Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available