A christmas without memories: Beliefs about grief and mothering - A clinical case analysis

Nancy J. Moules, Lorraine M. Thirsk, Janice M. Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


In clinical work using the Illness Beliefs Model, therapeutic leverage is focused on challenging constraining beliefs of family members that are contributing to their suffering. This challenge occurs in many ways, including offering alternative facilitating beliefs that may lead to healing rather than suffering. This article describes an exemplar of clinical work with a family who sought services in the Family Nursing Unit at the University of Calgary, with the presenting concern of unresolved grief. This analysis describes the therapeutic conversation that occurred between the family and a team of nurse clinicians, where the young woman's beliefs about grief and mothering were distinguished as beliefs that were contributing to her emotional pain and her belief in her mothering capabilities. The nursing team offered alternative beliefs of which the family rapidly embraced and, subsequently, experienced diminishment of the suffering previously experienced.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-441
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Family Nursing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov. 2006


  • Family systems nursing
  • Grief
  • Suffering
  • Therapeutic conversations


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