Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - NLU Access

Degree Name

Psy.D. Doctor of Clinical Psychology

Academic Discipline

Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Kristen Carney-Newberry, PsyD

Second Advisor

Susan S. Zoline, PhD

Third Advisor

Lawrence A. Viers, PhD


Little research to date has focused specifically on the death of group members. The research that has been conducted has shown that group therapists often experience similar reactions to the loss of an individual client with the addition of needing to manage the reactions of the other group members to the death of a group member (O’Neill & Kueppenbender, 2012). This research explored quantitatively the grief reactions of the therapist and the therapist’s perceptions of the effects on the group following the death of a member. Group therapists were defined as any mental health professional who identified as leading or coleading a psychotherapy group. They were recruited through postings on list-servs such as the American Psychological Association Division 49, American Group Psychotherapy Association, and the Illinois Group Psychotherapy Society. A snowball sampling method was also utilized by emailing mental health professionals with whom I am acquainted and requesting them to forward the email to their contacts. I created a 47-item survey with a scale that measured the individual grief reactions of therapists and their perceptions of the reactions of the group. A review of the current research on the death of clients, grief scales, and death of group members (Buelow, 1994; Hogan et al., 2001; McAuley & Forsyth, 2011) was conducted to obtain inspiration for the scale items. Descriptive statistics were utilized to obtain information on the number of respondents and information on their responses to the scale items.