The Cultural Aspects of Grief Experiences Among Sri Lankans: A Phenomenological Study

Date
2022-12
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Abstract

Understanding the cultural components associated with the grief phenomenon promotes building multicultural competency amongst counselors (ACA, 2014; Roysircar & Pignatiello, 2011). However, it is evident that counselors often lack the appropriate multicultural competency to adequately counsel clients (Kim & Park, 2015). Specifically, a lack of multicultural competency has led to Asian clients discontinuing mental health counseling services (Dewell & Owen, 2015). Further, the unique worldview and perspectives of Asian clients calls for counselors to pay close attention to the client’s needs (Dewell & Owen, 2015; Kaduvettoor-Davidson & Inman, 2012; Kim et al., 2009). To address a specific Asian population, this study aimed to inform counselors about the unique cultural attributes associated with the grief process among adult Sri Lankans. Specifically, a phenomenological research method using a constructivist worldview was used, including a theory-based phenomenological interviewing method to focus on the phenomenon of grief as viewed by Sri Lankans (Bevan, 2014). Interviews and a focus group discussion were conducted among adult Sri Lankans using convenient and snowball sampling. The results indicated that there were culturally specific attributes associated with how adults process grief after losing a family member. Several themes appeared for each research question, including sub-themes. Overall, the study shed light on the strength of collectivism while finding new responsibilities needed to build resiliency, the power of faith and religion, change in worldview, and the significance of mental health needs. Therefore, an outcome of this study is its role in providing counselors with an understanding of culture and giving voices to the bereaved.


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Keywords
Grief, Culture, Bereavement
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