Grief and Loss

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Freedom Writers is a movie that tells the story of how a teacher, Erin Gruwell influences the education and lives of a group of students at a very diverse high school. As a novice to the classroom Mrs. Gruwell struggles to discover how to help impact her class deemed as misfits, and students who are incapable of learning. In beginning to understand the life stories and environments of the students she is able to connect with them as an educator, and meet the students where they are. Furthermore she gears their learning towards the person in the environment and sees their potential beyond the classroom. Intertwining the characters of the movie are the concepts of grief and loss. In order to gain a clinical perspective on how the students in Mrs. Gruwell’s class move towards success, one must understand their journey towards a level of restitution. Grief and loss as a concept of this non fictional story is best understood through: a definitive knowledge of grief and loss, the losses experienced by the characters, and the interventions that are applicable to persons experiencing loss.

When one thinks of grief and loss one usually thinks about losing a loved one. Moreover in practice as clinicians it is crucial to broaden the perspective that one might have on grief and loss. Loss which precedes grief, is “defined as being deprived of or being without something one has had and valued and includes the experiences of separation” (Simos, 1979, p. 1). While culture can affect the concept of loss, every being will experience loss. “Loss is an unavoidable fixture of our human existence; whenever people experience change they are touched by loss in one form or another and its ensuing grief” (Goldsworthy, 2005, p. 169). According to Goldsworthy (2005) “loss can be physical or psychosocial; physical is something that is actual or unmistakable, such as death, loss of body part or stolen objects. Psychosocial loss is something that is intangible and symbolic”...
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