Person-Centered Therapy with a Bereaved Father


Chun-Chuan Wang


This article aims to explore the changing process of a bereaved father who lost his daughter out of the 1999 Taiwan Earthquake. Initially, this father, whom I will call John, greeted me formally and politely, though with implicit distrust. However, in a period of 16 months in which I continually paid visits to the family some long conversations also took place, and John gradually' was willing to trust me. Beyond a recorded in-depth interview with John, I sensed his intense emotions over the loss, and thus invited him for therapy. John finally agreed, and there were seven therapy sessions.
I worked as a person-centered therapist. In counseling, John chose the topic, issue, and speed, and I followed. I kept field notes for the encounter within 24 hours after each session. The descriptions in this paper came out of the field notes. Two themes - a deeper understanding of John and three major changes in John – emerged from the notes. The three changes were autonomy, flexible views, and feat of retirement. They seem unrelated to each other; however, they are all induced from his grief experience. The application of the person-centered therapy appeared to open a new possibility for the field of grief therapy.