Wiltshire psychotherapist publishes journal to help teenagers deal with grief

By Anita Jaynes on 3 December, 2020

A new journal to help teenagers cope with grief has been published by a North Swindon psychotherapist, who discovered a gap in the resources available for young people.

Kathleen B.Whelan, a psychotherapist, who specialises in a therapeutic approach to working with clients, addressing bereavement, trauma, and suicidal themes – created the Grief Episode Guide For Teens.

The journal is a diarised guide to working through the fluid stages of grief and has been launched by Kathleen to tie in with National Grief Awareness Week, which runs from 2nd-8th December 2020. 

A former art teacher, Kathleen not only wrote the text but also illustrated the journal, which runs to over 100 pages, and is filled with illustrations, a poem, and doodles, using both clinical and non-clinical language. The cover represents mourning, the early pages are dark, but get lighter in tone towards the end of the book, to denote the move towards recovery. 

“When I was volunteering in my early days of training, a lot of the client cases I was dealing with were around loss and grief which is universal and can be considered in everyday life and come in many forms, and so this was a natural arena for me to grativate towards,” said Kathleen, who operates a private practice, Inukshuk Therapy & Publishing. 

“I soon came to realise there was a gap in resources for teenagers and young people coping with grief. The loss they are feeling could be for someone or for something. It could be grief for the loss of a person, or for a pet, or for their own identity. It’s very broad and this journal enables teenagers to pause and reconnect with themselves.

“It encourages the user to write in it, annotate it, draw and store photos in it – it will result in being a privatised account of their stages of grief. Some of my younger clients are already using the journal and finding it very helpful. One said she writes in it before she goes to bed, this helps her address  her feelings and emotions.”

Kathleen began work on the journal when she experienced a significant loss of her own, which inspired her to help others. She is now planning two further editions: one for younger children, which can be used with their parents, and a second edition for adults.

The Grief Episode Guide For Teens costs £14.99 and is available via Waterstones, Amazon and WHSmith. It has already been endorsed by organisations, including the National Counselling Society, and attracted interest from Gloucester charity Teens in Crisis, and Grief Encounter children’s charity in London. Haydon Wick Parish Council is also keen to help fund future copies, which can then be distributed locally. 

To find out more information about the journals, or to speak to Kathleen, email: InukshukTherapy@outlook.com

Pictured above: Kathleen Whelan, Psychotherapist and author of The Grief Episode Guide For Teens.