Therapeutic work in the midst of grief:

A literature review


  • Matilda De Santis
  • Linda Finlay The Open University


grief; therapist experiences; literature review


This article offers a brief review of the theory and existing literature in the psychotherapy field which explores the nature of therapeutic work while in the midst of grief. The paucity of research in the field is highlighted while more recent existential phenomenological studies offer a promising development. Critically examining current knowledge in this area, we aim to inform practice and suggest further avenues for research.

Author Biographies

  • Matilda De Santis

    Matilda De Santis, DPsych, is an Integrative Counselling Psychologist in the United Kingdom (UK). She has worked in numerous NHS settings as well as in the statutory sector providing psychological therapy to both young people and adults with a focus on anxiety, depression and personality disorders, PTSD, eating disorders, self-harm and bereavement. She also has considerable experience working with victims of domestic and sexual violence. Her research interests include phenomenological and reflexive explorations of therapeutic work with an emphasis on the personal and professional identity of the therapist whilst in the midst of trauma and vulnerability.

  • Linda Finlay, The Open University

    Linda Finlay, PhD, is an existentially-orientated Integrative Psychotherapist and Supervisor (UKCP registered) currently in private practice in the UK. In her role as an academic consultant, she teaches/mentors psychotherapy students and supervises doctoral research work in training institutes across Europe. She also teaches psychology, counselling and research methodology at the Open University, UK. She has published widely - See: Her most recent books include: ‘Practical Ethics: A relational approach’ (Sage) which is due to be published in 2019; and ‘Relational integrative psychotherapy’ and ‘Phenomenology for therapists’, both published by Wiley. Her particular research interests include exploring relational dynamics and applying relational-reflexive approaches to investigate the lived experience of disability and trauma.






How to Cite

Therapeutic work in the midst of grief:: A literature review. (2018). European Journal for Qualitative Research in Psychotherapy, 8, 34-42.

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