Presented by: Jennifer Hunt
A growing body of literature supports tapping into the wisdom that is inherent in societies to support individuals and families in crisis. People often seek bereavement counselling because their families and communities seem uncomfortable with the extreme emotions that grief brings and are unwilling to allow the natural course of grief to unfold over what appears to be too lengthy a time. The bereaved are often ‘prevented’ from grieving normally and complications can set in. Grief is a highly personal experience yet played out within one’s culture with all the accompanying rules. The 9 cell tool is a simple yet effective group-work technique designed in Zimbabwe to draw upon the knowledge of a community in order to normalise and support the bereaved within that community. The presentation will describe the tool that draws upon experiences of the participants and combines these with a didactic process to raise awareness of what grief feels like over time, how people express their grief depending on gender, context and culture and how one’s environment expects or accepts manifestation of grief over time. Anecdotal evidence suggests this is an effective approach in normalising bereavement, resulting in appropriate grief support within families and communities. Plans to formally evaluate the tool are currently in process.