Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Rajean Moone


Social Work


This qualitative research study examined seven professionals’ views on grief and loss and opinions regarding reframing grief as a skill. Seven semi-structured interviews were conducted to provide data for this research study. Analytic induction was used for data analysis, with the research question being “how is grief a skill?” Major themes included grief being something that is done instead of an affliction or just emotions. Barriers to grieving was a theme, such as: grief not being taught and being sheltered from death, cultural norms that discourage grief or socialize grief out of people. Another theme was the ways that grief is a skill, which involve willingness to authentically experience grief and all it brings, being changed by grief, and learning new skills to better cope with loss and grief. The last major theme was how grief can increase skillfulness as human beings. This included many changes, including deepened understanding of self, deepened understanding of and empathy for others, and deeper understanding of life itself, including a deepened appreciation and gratitude for life, finding meaning in loss, increased meaning and purpose in life, an ability to tolerate suffering and change, and other potential changes. These findings support previous studies about grief outcomes, but also add the dimension of exploring grief as a skill that can be learned. Further research will help workers in various helping fields who wish to work more holistically with clients who are experiencing major life changes, clients who are bereaved, or clients with end-of-life issues. In each of these cases, this research provides a useful framework to better assist clients with these difficult situations, as well as potentially providing a useful orientation towards grief for individuals, communities, and cultures.

Included in

Social Work Commons