Helping Bereaved Children

Third Edition
A Handbook for Practitioners

Edited by Nancy Boyd Webb
Foreword by Kenneth J. Doka

HardcoverPaperbacke-bookprint + e-book
April 9, 2010
ISBN 9781606235973
Price: $93.00
408 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
November 4, 2011
ISBN 9781462504510
Price: $43.00
408 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
March 18, 2011
ePub and PDF ?
Price: $43.00
408 Pages
print + e-book
Paperback + e-Book (ePub and PDF) ?
Price: $86.00 $47.30
408 Pages

This acclaimed work describes a range of counseling and therapy approaches for children who have experienced loss. Practitioners and students are given practical strategies for helping preschoolers through adolescents cope with different forms of bereavement, including death in the family, school, and community. Grounded in research on child therapy, bereavement, trauma, and child development, the volume includes rich case presentations and clearly explains the principles that guide interventions. Eleven reproducible assessment tools and handouts can also be downloaded and printed in a convenient 8½“ x 11” size.

This title is part of the Clinical Practice with Children, Adolescents, and Families Series, edited by Nancy Boyd Webb.

“The detailed case descriptions and dialogue offer an unheralded view into the clinical encounter with grieving children....As a social work educator, I will use chapters of this book to prepare students for a career of helping children facing grief.”

Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal

“A rich resource for those whose work includes bereaved children.”

Pastoral Sciences

“Readable and accessible....A valuable source of information and inspiration.”

Social Work Today

“Current, scientifically sound, organized for quick reference, and easy to understand.”

The Hospice Journal

“A timely and worthwhile resource....Fulfills the promise of good handbooks: supplying the reader with a ready sampling of nearly every conceivable situation one might encounter in clinical practice.”

Journal of Pediatric Psychology

“Practical, useful, and inspiring.”

American Journal of Family Therapy

“This book should be immensely helpful to practitioners who work with bereaved children and consequently of great benefit to the children themselves.”

Journal of Contemporary Human Services

“An excellent resource and guide for students who are just beginning their career in the field of counseling, as well as a refresher for more seasoned professionals.”

Social Work in Health Care

“While this is primarily a resource for practitioners, it is also a wonderful teaching tool. Webb has included relevant discussion questions at the end of every chapter....This book could be a useful resource to youth directors, church educators, pastors, and child care staff as well.”

Family Ministry

“Each chapter begins with a brief review of related literature and the approach used, presents case vignettes with background information, and summarizes the therapy....A moving account of how children grieve and a particularly poignant and useful model for the internal dialogue which therapists employ.”

Child Development Abstracts & Bibliography

“This is an essential update and revision for our changing world. Grounded in developmental theory, the book provides detailed and phase-specific guidelines for assessing and helping bereaved children in a variety of contexts. Perhaps the most compelling characteristic of the book is the use of thorough case presentations that illustrate interventions such as Sandplay, art therapy, storytelling, role play, and puppetry, in individual, family, and group modalities. Webb concludes the volume with a much-needed section on self-care for those who engage in this rewarding and demanding work.”

—M. Carlean Gilbert, DSW, LCSW, CGP, School of Social Work, Loyola University Chicago

“Renowned scholar and author Nancy Boyd Webb's revised handbook is strategically comprehensive in scope and abundant in practice tools. Chapters provide resources for culturally competent, developmentally appropriate child- and family-focused practice. Graduate students, practitioners, and educators in social work, psychology, family studies, and ethnic studies will find this book richly insightful.”

—Rowena Fong, MSW, EdD, Ruby Lee Piester Centennial Professor in Services to Children and Families, School of Social Work, University of Texas at Austin

“This third edition is an important and valuable update. With strong attention to child development, the quality of the child's relationship to the deceased, and both the supports and challenges posed by family and community, this book is valuable for students, instructors, and experienced clinicians. The contributors address a wide range of circumstances and types of loss that are prevalent in today's diverse practice world. Methods of assessment and intervention are woven throughout. Resources of many kinds are offered, along with guidelines for clinician self-care to limit the secondary impact of doing this difficult work.”

—James W. Drisko, PhD, LICSW, Professor and Co-Director of the Doctoral Program, Smith College School for Social Work

“A necessary book for child and adolescent practitioners. Webb has brought together experts who cover a range of classic and cutting-edge topics and who consistently communicate an understanding of the holistic nature of grief. The book is packed with practical resources, including clinical material, sample forms, and tables. This text will be an excellent fit for my graduate-level course on children and death. The range of topics, the case examples, and the discussion questions at the end of each chapter are unique and refreshing elements.”

—Heather L. Servaty-Seib, PhD, Counseling Psychology Program, Purdue University College of Education

“Some of the most powerful human dramas occur within the heart of the family. Of these, none is more poignant or consequential than the child's loss of a parent or sibling. This remarkable book balances theory and practice for any reader who has accepted the challenge of entering the lives of troubled families. It is a wise and reliable guide that covers not only loss in the family, but other types of bereavement as well. Indispensable for therapists and human service providers.”

—Robert Kastenbaum, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Gerontology and Communication, Arizona State University

Table of Contents

I. Introduction

1. The Child and Death, Nancy Boyd Webb

2. Assessment of the Bereaved Child, Nancy Boyd Webb

II. Death in the Family

3. The Death of a Grandparent or a Parent, Lois Carey

4. The Grief of Siblings, Betty Davies and Rana Limbo

5. The Disenfranchised Grief of Children, David A. Crenshaw and Jennifer Lee

6. Suicide in the Family: Helping Child and Adolescent Survivors, Cynthia McCormack and Nancy Boyd Webb

7. The Loss and Death of a Pet, Sharon M. McMahon

8. War-Related Deaths in the Family, Diane L. Scott

III. Death in the School and the Wider World

9. The Terminally Ill Child in School and the Sudden Death of a Teacher, Roxia Bullock

10. Violent, Traumatic Death in Schools and Community Responses, Patti Homan Anewalt

11. Children’s and Adolescents’ Exposure to the Mass Violence of War and Terrorism: Role of the Media, Kathleen Nader

12. Deaths Connected to Natural Disasters, Jennifer Baggerly and Alison Salloum

IV. Interventions with Bereaved Children

13. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Play Therapy for Childhood Trauma and Loss, Janine Shelby

14. Conjoint Caregiver–Child Treatment Following a Parent’s Death, Patricia Van Horn

15. Bereavement Groups and Camps for Children: An Interdisciplinary Approach, Priscilla A. Ruffin and Sarah A. Zimmerman

16. Storytelling with Bereaved Children, Donna O’Toole

V. Help for Counselors, Parents, and Teachers

17. Professional Self-Care and Prevention of Secondary Trauma, Tina Maschi and Derek Brown

18. Guidelines to Help Parents and Teachers of Bereaved Children, Nancy Boyd Webb


*Selected Training Programs and Certifications

*Suppliers of Play Materials

*Bereavement Resources

*References on Religious/Cultural/Ethnic Practices Related to Death

About the Editor

Nancy Boyd Webb, DSW, LICSW, RPT-S, is a leading authority on play therapy with children who have experienced loss and traumatic bereavement. She is University Distinguished Professor Emerita of Social Work in the Graduate School of Social Service at Fordham University, where she held an endowed Chair in Child Welfare Studies and founded the Post-Master’s Certificate Program in Child and Adolescent Therapy. Dr. Webb taught clinical practice at Fordham for 30 years. She has published numerous books on child therapy, trauma, and bereavement, including Helping Bereaved Children, Third Edition; Play Therapy with Children and Adolescents in Crisis, Fourth Edition; and Social Work Practice with Children, Fourth Edition. Dr. Webb is an active supervisor, consultant, and trainer who presents frequently at conferences in the United States and internationally. She is a recipient of honors including the Day-Garrett Award from the Smith College School for Social Work, the Clinical Practice Award from the Association for Death Education and Counseling, and the designation of Distinguished Scholar by the National Academies of Practice in Social Work.


Patti Homan Anewalt , PhD, LPC, FT, is Director for the PATHways Center for Grief & Loss at Hospice of Lancaster County.

Jennifer Baggerly, PhD, LMHC-S, RPT-S, Associate Professor in the Counselor Education program at the University of South Florida and Director of the Graduate Certificate in Play Therapy.

Derek Brown, MSW, is an adjunct faculty member and doctoral student at Fordham University's Graduate School of Social Service.

Roxia Bullock, PhD, LCSW, has a private practice in Ossining, New York.

Lois Carey, LCSW, RPT-S, is in private practice at the Center for Sandplay Studies in Nyack, New York.

David A. Crenshaw, PhD, ABPP, RPT-S, is Founder of the Rhinebeck Child and Family Center, LLC, in Rhinebeck, New York

Betty Davies, RN, CT, PhD, FAAN, is Professor and Senior Scholar, School of Nursing, University of Victoria, Canada, and Professor Emerita, Department of Family Health Care Nursing, University of California, San Francisco.

Jennifer Lee, PhD, is a clinical psychologist in private practice and an adjunct instructor at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York.

Rana Limbo, PhD, RN, is Director of Bereavement and Advance Care Planning Services for Gundersen Lutheran Medical Foundation, Inc., La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Tina Maschi, PhD, LCSW, is Assistant Professor at Fordham University's Graduate School of Social Service.

Cynthia McCormack, LMSW, works at Rochester Mental Health Center, in Rochester, New York, as a primary therapist providing psychotherapy for adults.

Sharon M. McMahon, RN, EdD, is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Nursing, University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada, where she is the Undergraduate Coordinator for the Faculty of Nursing.

Kathleen Nader, DSW, is currently the director of Two Suns, dedicated to assisting traumatized children and adolescents.

Donna O'Toole, MA, is a counselor, author, trainer, and storyteller, and Founding Director of Compassion Books, Inc.

Priscilla A. Ruffin, RN, MS, NPP, is founding President and CEO of East End Hospice, Westhampton Beach, New York.

Alison Salloum, PhD, is Assistant Professor at the University of South Florida School of Social Work.

Diane L. Scott is Associate Professor in the School of Justice Studies and Social Work at the University of West Florida.

Janine Shelby, PhD is Assistant Professor in the Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She is the Director of Child Psychology Training and the Director of the Child Trauma Clinic at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

Patricia Van Horn, JD, PhD, is Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), and Associate Director of the UCSF Child Trauma Research Program.

Nancy Boyd Webb, DSW, BCD, RPT-S, is University Distinguished Professor Emerita of Social Work at the Graduate School of Social Service, Fordham University, New York and Westchester County, New York

Sarah A. Zimmerman, LCSW-R, is the Bereavement Coordinator at East End Hospice, Westhampton Beach, New York.


Practitioners and students in social work, child and adolescent clinical psychology and psychiatry, school psychology, and counseling.

Course Use

Serves as a text in such courses as Social Work with Children, Counseling/Therapy of Children and Adolescents, Guidance in Elementary/Secondary Schools, and School Violence.
Previous editions published by Guilford:

Second Edition, © 2002
ISBN: 9781593851644

First Edition, © 1993
ISBN: 9780898621303
New to this edition: