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    • Tarryn Bell
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      Working in a Children’s Hospice, in addition to death, we deal with various forms of loss daily. These include the loss of “normalcy”, loss of peers, loss of friends, loss of health or physical abilities etc. As we know, if loss and grief is not dealt with effectively, the patient, family- or staff member can be at risk of developing complicated grief.

      One of the assessment tools that I regularly use during counselling, is the Loss Line. The purpose of this tool is to assess the various losses a person has experienced in their life, how they have dealt with them, and how unresolved losses can impact on a person’s ability to cope with additional loss.

      A Loss Line is easy to make and can be tailored to each person’s ability and creativity. Using a paper or poster board, the person draws a line, and with pens/crayons/pictures or magazine clippings, creates a map of their life story – from birth to present – highlighting the losses they have experienced. It is important that the facilitator does not place limitations on “los” as each person experiences loss differently.

      The Loss Line can then be explored to see the extent of loss experienced by a person, what they view as “loss” and explore how they have dealt with loss and death in the past.

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