Vol.4 No.5 (September 2014)
The Transformation of a Middle-Aged Widow’s Grief and Its Influencing Factors
This purpose of this study was to explore the adaptation process and strategies of a woman who had lost her husband in her middle age. Data were collected from 9 counseling sessions and analyzed under three themes: grief transformation process, the mediators of mourning and adaptation strategies. After 9 counseling sessions (1.5 - 2 hrs each session), the client had significant im-provement in physical and emotional responses, to rebuild social networks, reconstruct the meaning of the death, and change her attitude to the criminal. Other finding of this research indi-cated that there were many factors influencing the recovering process. Identified negative factors included: the attitude of the criminal and/or their families; the sudden and unexpected death; the main economic and social role of the deceased; the attachment relationships with the deceased; the face expression of the dead; no permission to disclose the fact of her husband’s dead to her elderly mother; the personality traits of the bereaved; no crying and missing permitted in Buddhism; some cultural taboos for the widows, and some folk festivals will continue to arouse the client’s grief. Besides the negative influencing factors, there are some positive factors contributing to her grief recovery, for example: multiple social supports from families, friends, & counselors; the faith of legal justice; the friendly attitude of the criminal and/or their families; her child got a job and his active working attitude can comfort the soul of the dead. The bereaved had employed a variety of strategies to cope with her loss, such as, doing something for the deceased, experiencing catharsis by scraping, transferring attention by attending outdoor activities, letting go of her suffering and missing, feeling empathy with the criminal’s situation, no longer looking forward to getting a reasonable compensation and keeping continuing bond with the deceased by casing the divining blocks, burning incense, talking to the deceased, dreaming of the deceased, going over pictures and keeping the cell phone of the deceased. This finding exemplified the crucial impact of unique Chinese cultural characteristics on the grief and adaptation process (Hsu & Kahn, 2003; 曹桂荣，2005；蔡文瑜，2001). Implications for the practice of mental health and counselor education and suggestions for future researches are discussed.
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