• Christian Schulz-Quach – Naming death – a metasynthesis of the meaning of death confrontation in health care professionals
  • Claire Vowell & Edith Steffen – Meaning-oriented group grief therapy: A mixed-methods pilot intervention study.

Christian Schulz-Quach

Title: Naming death – a metasynthesis of the meaning of death confrontation in health care professionals

Affiliation: King’s College London, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience

implications for practice: The opportunity to work with dying patients has always appeared to me to be an opportunity for psychotherapists to learn about themselves and their own existential concerns. By presenting structured, researched short-forms of interventions for severely-ill clients and patient, I hope to provide pragmatic examples of how such therapeutic work has been rewarding and meaningful to me and others.

implications for research: Psychotherapeutic Research at the very late stage of life is still in its infancy and only very few intervention directly targeted at quality of dying have been performed so far.


Palliative Care is an interprofessional healthcare team approach towards the care of seriously ill patients and their significants others. It is an existential and phenomenological given of professionals from all fields who care for the dying to encounter dying patients, dead people and to be existentially present (being-with) during the transformation of the other from “dying” to “dead”. Dying and death are, therefore, defining aspects of this field. What is more, the mandate of this specialty goes beyond death as a typical medical endpoint in that it includes bereavement care into its self-understanding.

This short presentation will highlight three current short-term therapy approaches specifically developed for the context of Palliative Care which are founded in existential theory (Dignity Therapy, Meaning-Making intervention, CALM).


Claire Vowell and Edith Steffen

 Title: Meaning-oriented group grief therapy: A mixed-methods pilot intervention study

Affiliation: Roehampton University

implications for practice: Developing evidence-based practice:working with meaning in bereavement therapy implications for research: A pilot intervention study, which is intended to move to RCT later this year.


Objectives: This paper reports preliminary quantitative and qualitative findings from an intervention study investigating a 12-week meaning-oriented grief therapy group protocol piloted at the CREST research clinic of the University of Roehampton between January and March 2017. Bereavement can shatter people’s assumptive worlds. Meaning-oriented grief therapy is an intervention that aims to help people make sense of their loss, build a security-enhancing bond with the deceased and reconstruct meaning that was shattered by the loss.

Design: A mixed-methods design was chosen including quantitative outcome measures and post-therapy interviews for qualitative analysis. 8 bereaved participants were recruited in total.

Method: Participants completed pre-post and weekly questionnaires measuring grief intensity, general wellbeing, quality of life and grief-related meaning-making. Scores were analysed using SPSS.  Following completion of the group, participants were interviewed to examine what aspects they found helpful/unhelpful about the programme and to examine what changes, if any, participants had noticed.  Thematic analysis was applied to the transcripts.

Results: Pre-post results will be available as of April. By the time of the conference, preliminary findings from both quantitative and qualitative analyses will be available, and 3-month follow-up data are expected to have been collected.

Conclusions: The results of this study will contribute to the evidence base for the effectiveness of this novel grief therapy intervention and will inform the development of the protocol for a randomised controlled trial as well as the development of a manual for the group which will be distributed widely.