Book Review

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Book Review

Book Review


The purpose of this research report is to give a review on counselling loss and bereavement book The Gift of Tears by Susan Lendrum and Gabrielle Syme. The writer in the book “Gift of tears” has included new research and examples of recent events to help illustrate the effects of loss. Containing a strong practical element, the book guides the reader through the process of contemplating and eventually confronting their own relationship to loss.


The book in divided into five parts , Loss and nurture, Death as a particular form of loss, working with the grieving, Anger and guilt, concluding with Professional implications. There are also lengthy appendices (nearly 40 pages worth), giving further resources, websites, books and other helps to further develop an understanding of loss and grief (Reed, 2002). There are also 17 “exercises” spread throughout the book, where the reader is asked to engage more with the material to check understanding, both of the written material but also to gain insight into losses experienced oneself (Reed, 2002). Each chapter concludes with a “Summary” where the main points covered are listed as bullet points. There is also reference back to previous chapters where a concept or scenario has been introduced. Gift of Tears is intended for people who find that they have to cope, in the course of their work or daily lives, with the grief of others--teachers, nurses, policemen, doctors, personnel officers, for example, but also ordinary neighbours next door (Reed, 2002). The main aim of the book is to help carers to contemplate and then to confront their own relationship to loss, the better to cope with the loss of others.

The approach taken is practical, but the case histories used as examples are set against a broader theoretical background. Most important of all is the need to understand that anger and guilt are regularly provoked by serious losses, and that the grieving finds these feelings particularly hard to acknowledge and express (Reed, 2002). All in all, a very practical book. A very readable book too. There is occasional “jargon”, but only where introducing concepts, such as with Bowlby's attachment theory. It is not filled with jargon, just for the sake of it, as some counselling books appear to be. However, where there is any, it is explained clearly. An example of this on page 73 is “reactive attachment disorder (RAD). This is explained in relation to children who experience “neglectful and dysfunctional parents, endure the circumstantial loss of going into foster care, changing foster parent or being adopted” who then having “been severely neglected, are unable to form normal relationships with others. Their capacity to attach has been damaged” (Reed, 2002).

Whereas Shelia Payne Sandra Horn and Marilyn Relf in her book described that loss and change are normal processes that occur within a social and cultural context, and the reader is introduced to historical and cultural perspectives which illustrate the diversity of approaches to loss. Major theoretical perspectives are explored to enable students to ...
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