Letter: Counselling helps the bereaved

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Counselling helps the bereaved

Sir: Your report, "Counselling loses face in NHS review", 18 August) does little to enhance the current discussion about developing standards of good professional practice in counselling and too glibly glosses over the potential value of counselling to clients, particularly in bereavement.

In our experience, clients come to services such as Cruse Bereavement Care because they recognise a need for support in moving themselves through a particularly difficult life event. In counselling, they are offered opportunities for expression of their grief and loss together with a variety of supports to enable them to readjust and build a new way forward. For the majority of the 35,000 clients counselled by Cruse in a year, this is felt to be beneficial.

A research study of a bereavement counselling service conducted by M Relf (1994) showed that those who received counselling made less use of GPs than a control group who received no such counselling. The savings to the Health Service more than outweighed the cost of providing the bereavement service.

Counselling is offered by Cruse as part of a much broader range of bereavement support services designed to meet the varied needs of clients.


Director, Cruse

Richmond, Surrey