The experience of losing a sibling in adult life: an interpretative phenomenological analysis

Jartell, Emma (2017) The experience of losing a sibling in adult life: an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Other thesis, Middlesex University. [Thesis]

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The aim of this study is to explore the experience of losing a sibling in adult life. The research investigates the participants’ individual experience from an existential perspective, with the view of contributing to the field of bereavement in counselling psychology and psychotherapy; and adding to the very limited existing research about the death of a sibling in adulthood.. Ten participants took part in semi-structured interviews, and the data was analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (Smith et al., 2009).

Key findings showed paradoxes on several levels; the experience provoked strong emotions when the relationship with the sibling was loving, difficult or abusive. Similarly, support was complex, as the participants were often not regarded by others to be in need of support to the same extent as the dead sibling’s spouse, children and parents. At the same time the participants did not consider others to understand the loss without having had the same experience, which limited available support.

Further findings and the discussion of this research indicated the importance of counselling psychologists acknowledging the death of a sibling when working with adult clients, as the participants told of the great impact on psychological well-being, everyday life and relationships. The participants expressed wanting to be seen and heard by others, as well as wanting more literature, research and therapeutic groups for this kind of bereavement to be available. Future research would benefit from more specific criteria, such as whether the relationship was loving or abusive or if the death was sudden or followed a terminal illness, thus adding greater depth to the research. For clinical practice the research established the importance of therapists to be aware of clients’ often complex and multi-layered emotions following the death of an adult sibling.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology
A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
B. > Theses
C. Collaborative Partners > New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling (NSPC)
Item ID: 22229
Depositing User: Jennifer Basford
Date Deposited: 11 Jul 2017 10:04
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 20:47

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