Hey all, to help you with your LCSW Exam Prep this week we are looking at grief and Bereavement. This topic comes up on the LCSW exam in a few ways: differential diagnosis (usually between Bereavement, Adjustment Disorder, and Major Depressive Disorder); stages of grief; and the expression of grief throughout the life cycle. Here's a sample question to get us going:
A 53 year-old man seeks help from a social worker in private practice. During the assessment, the man reports that his wife of 25 years died a month ago in a car accident. The man tells the social worker that he has been having difficulty sleeping and does not feel like spending time with his grown children or friends. He says, "the most troubling thing is that I keep going to her grave and talking to her like she's still here...I feel like I'm nuts." What should the social worker do FIRST:
A. refer the client for a psychiatric evaluation
B. provide the client with information about a grief support group
C. normalize the client's experience as a typical expression of grief
D. contact the client's children to elicit additional support
Grief is a normal response when a loved one dies; this can include family members, spouses, friends, and even pets. As therapists, we should be able to identify typical signs and symptoms of grief reactions and assess whether or not the person is experiencing a clinical disturbance as a result. Everyone experiences grief and therefore it's important to know the signs of grief as you prep for the LCSW exam. The signs of grief often look like other symptoms of mental illness, including, but not limited to: deep feelings of sadness or anxiety, tearfulness, decreased sleeping and/or eating, isolative behavior, irritability and difficulty focusing on work/tasks. One way therapists can help is by reassuring clients that grief is not inherently pathological and that their responses and behaviors can actually facilitate healing.
C is the correct answer to the question above; the client is describing a very typical expression of grief, including going to the grave site to "talk" with his wife; A would not be necessary at this time; B may be helpful, but not before the therapist acknowledges and normalizes the client's feelings; D is incorrect as it would violate confidentiality and may not be helpful.
Do you need more help with your LCSW Exam Prep? Fill out this LCSW Exam Assessment and a TDC coach will get in touch with you!
Think our straightforward, sensible approach could help you PASS your social work exam or MFT exam? If you're preparing for the social work exam click here- Social Work Exam Prep; if you're preparing for the MFT exam, click here MFT Exam Prep. Learn more about our exam prep at the The Therapist Development Center home page.
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Coming up next week: Health-related Disorders