Factors influencing individual reactions to illness and death

Please no plagiarism and make sure you are able to access all resource on your own before you bid. One of the references must come from Broderick and Blewitt (2015). I need this completed today at 7pm. Respond to at least three of your colleagues using one or more of the following approaches:

· Offer and support an alternative perspective using readings from the course or from your own research in the Walden Library.

· Validate an idea with your own experience and additional research.

· Expand on your colleague’s posting by providing additional insights or contrasting perspectives based on readings and evidence.

1. (A. Wit)

Losing a loved one is a significant life event.  There are many different theories on grief and bereavement.  Bowlby describes grief as a process that moves through the stages of shock, protest, despair, and reorganization (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015).  Recent research on grief suggests that emotional and behavioral symptoms are not predictable, nor do they need to occur in a linear fashion (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015).  Counselors that are helping individuals cope with a loss should consider the developmental and cultural influences of each family member rather than prescribe a single grief process strategy.

Factors influencing individual reactions to illness and death

This assignment focuses on the differences in the grief process among family members.  The case study describes a family of six: father, Victor; mother, Isabelle; son, Paul (51); daughter, Sophia (49); daughter, Lenore (45); and son, Joseph (45).  Victor has just passed away after a difficult two-year battle with pancreatic cancer (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015).  Unique factors influence how each family member is grieving.

Isabelle:  older adult, married for 53-years (developmental factors); mother, co-worker, caregiver (social, resiliency factors); Italian (cultural factor)

Paul:  Middle-aged adult, married, father with young children (developmental factors); loving son, business owner, oldest child (social, resiliency factors); Italian (cultural factor)

Sophia: Middle-aged adult, married, mother with young children (developmental factors); working parent (social, resiliency factors); Italian (cultural factor)

Lenore: Middle-aged adult, divorced and remarried, mother (developmental factors); Italian (cultural factor)

Joseph: Middle-aged adult, in a long-term relationship, no children (developmental factors); lives away from the family (social, resiliency factors); Italian (cultural factor)

One factor that influences the family system is conflict over how the family handles Victor’s final stages of life.  Victor had no living will or advance directive.  Isabelle told her children that Victor did not want life support measures to be used to keep him alive.  When Victor succumbed to a coma, Joseph insisted on the insertion of a ventilator without the support of his three siblings.  Since Victor’s death, the relationship between Joseph and his siblings has deteriorated.  Isabelle has quit her job and has trouble concentrating and sleeping.

Coping strategies for the family system

Helping professionals must be willing to meet clients where they are.  The dual-process model of grief suggests that most people coping with the loss of a loved one will oscillate between a loss-focused stage and a restoration-focused stage (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015).  Each family member in the case study will move between these stages with different frequency.  The counselor might consider brief psychodynamic interventions for the siblings and cognitive behavioral therapy for Isabelle.  Research on family systems and grief suggest that conflict within the family constellation should also be considered (Welford, 2014).  According to Welford (2014), reinforcing healthy boundaries in the family system can lead to positive outcomes after a loss.  The counseling process may include a systems approach to understanding the roles and rules of the family prior to Victor’s untimely death.


There is no right way to grieve.  Coping with loss in an inevitable life event for all people.  Counselors that do grief work should consider cultural and developmental factors that influence the client’s needs.  For some individuals a cathartic period of reminiscing is helpful, and for others, minimizing negative emotions is beneficial (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015).  Counselors should be aware of how conflict among family members may influence bereavement.  Helping professionals should consider multidimensional approaches that consider developmental, cultural, and interpersonal factors.


Broderick, P. C., & Blewitt, P. (2015). The life span: Human development for helping professionals (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education

Welford, E. (2014).  Giving the dead their rightful place: grief work with the family system.  Transactional Analysis Journal, 44(4), 320.

2. (S. Mor)

Death is a part of life that is inevitable, however it still hurts us to the core regardless if we are expecting it or it happens suddenly. I overheard a person on an elevator one day explain how to move on when a loved one dies. He said we never really get over our loved ones that pass, we just learn how to live without them and keep moving on. I think about my Father and Grandparents each and every day, and the pain from their deaths still hurts. I believe we learn how to keep going but we never forget. When loved ones die that we are close to it is best to remain non-judgmental because everyone grieves differently. Several factors will take place as each family member faces the death that has occurred. Also keep in mind coping with death varies according to the effects the death has on the individual that is grieving. In our case study Isabelle and Victor have been together for 53 years, and produced four children that have lost their Father to pancreatic cancer (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015).

Factors Driving Each Family Member

Death of a family member, close friends, and even strangers is hard to face and accept. The emotions that run through your mind are stressors that appear to be unbearable. Questions run rampant with thoughts of how do I go on or did I treat them right before they passed. Isabelle had been married to Victor for 53 years, and this is the vast majority of her life. Letting go or allowing Victor to pass without medical heroics to save his life has become Isabelle’s driving force in the wake of her husband’s death. Paul the oldest child has been forced into becoming the leader, because this is expected from the oldest child regardless if he likes it or not. In the article “Working Through Grief” by Angela Kennedy, she explains that grief and depression is not the same thing and physicians have to stop prescribing depression medicines for grief stricken individuals (Kennedy, 2008). Emotions and feelings that are surfacing have the potential to work themselves out, but each family member has to respect the fact that everyone does not grieve the same way. Sophia and Lenore are not communicating with their brother Joseph, because the care Victor received was not to their liking. The distance and stubbornness maybe their driving factors, and solidifies their excuses in not dealing with their father’s terminal illness and death. Sophia and Lenore express signs of impatience because they avoid their mother while she is grieving and they do not want to constantly hear about their father’s death. I wonder have they ever thought, their mother is trying to process 53 years of marriage to a man that she loves and birthed four children together. They should embrace their mother and with patience allow her to grieve the ways she needs too.

Two Healthy Coping Strategies

Coping with terminal illness and death is difficult, but there are different coping strategies that will help you not forget but to keep going while honoring the person that died. One strategy I am in favor of is grief counseling because expressing how you feel and being able to talk about it helps people accept the death but keep the memories alive. Learning how to cope in grief counseling through physical contact, allowing yourself to cry, meditating, and looking at old pictures or videos helps lessen the pain of suffering for the terminally ill patient and the loved ones that are witnessing this transition to death (Kennedy, 2008). Another healthy coping strategy is accepting the inevitable which is difficult but necessary. Acceptance is also looked at a coping strategy but it is a defensive one (Broderick &Blewitt, 2015). Defended your loved one that passed is normal, and accepting the results of terminal illness and death are a process that takes time to comprehend. I believe people view acceptance as a tool to let go and forget, but it is actually giving yourself permission to accept the inevitable while learning how to keep living. In the process of acceptance we allow our mind and hearts to be at peace while accepting the death (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015).


The agony of spending the majority of your life with someone and before you are ready you watch this person slip away suddenly or gradually. The pain either way is deep rooted and hard to fathom in the midst of a loss. Surrounding each other, accepting the outcome and how you feel, communicate with others that are enduring the same heart, and remember while uplifting and celebrating the life that was lost are intricate parts of the mourning process. We hear all the time from people who are close to the deceased, that they would not want us crying or feeling depressed but to move on and celebrate the life they had. I will admit this is one of the hardest accomplishments to achieve when death hurts so much.


Broderick, P. C., & Blewitt, P. (2015). The life span: Human development for helping professionals (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.