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Bearing witness to grief is about accepting and experiencing suffering as an unavoidable aspect of loss. It also entails listening to and responding with clients in a way that affirms that their experiences have been heard and understood. This article describes a model for therapeutic engagement and intervention with grieving clients. The model is informed by contemporary grief and practice theories characterized by such qualities as emotional presence, reciprocity, responsiveness, empathic expression, and meaning making. Case examples from the author’s research and practice experience illustrate how these qualities contribute to what she describes as translational relationships that lead to transformations in clients’ self perceptions and assumptive worlds, and for some, to revived meaningfulness in a life changed by loss.


© Alliance for Children and Families. Reprinted with permission from Families in Society (, published by the Alliance for Children and Families.

Originally published in Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services in 2009:

Cohen Konrad, S. (2009). Loss in Translation: A Model for Therapeutic Engagement and Intervention With Grieving Clients. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, 90(4) 407-412. DOI 10.1606/1044-3894.3928