When a Parent (or Loved One) Dies

As a child or teen attempts to cope with the death of a loved one, they can become overwhelmed by complex and confusing feelings. They may have many questions. These feelings and worries may be difficult for a child or teen to identify and understand.  Royalty Free Stock Photo

While grief is a normal, healing emotion, the experience of it is often difficult and painful. Our licensed therapists are trained in evidence-based approaches to support grief and bereavement in children and teens. We can help your child or teen explore their personal grief journey through various strategies, including individual therapy and art therapy, allowing for space to process emotions and find meaning. We can also help parents and other adults in the child or teen’s life to most appropriately support them.

When coping with the loss of a loved one, we are here to support you—all at no cost!

How We Can Help

Individual Therapy

We offer individual bereavement counseling and/or art therapy from licensed therapists in the outpatient, clinic, and inpatient settings and via telemedicine*. Our licensed therapists use evidence-based interventions and can help your child or teen explore their unique grief journey, better understand the grief process, ease pain, and find meaning.

Art therapy uses a combination of counseling and the process of art making to promote self-expression and foster healing for all ages. When words alone cannot fully communicate emotions and experiences, art therapy can help children and teens explore their feelings in a tangible, creative way.

Parent Consultations

Our licensed therapists can meet with parents in-person or via telemedicine* to assist you in understanding your child or teen’s behavior and their response to grief. Topics may include: normalizing grief, how your individual grief may impact your child, strategies to help you support your child or teen, questions your child or teen may have about death or loss, the multitude of emotions they may experience, and ways to process how life has changed and what life might look like in the future. We can also provide strategies for how to talk to family and friends, coping with birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, and other special occasions, and supporting your child or teen in continuing to remember their loved one.

In addition to parent consultations, Life with Cancer offers individual counseling and groups for adults who have lost a loved one to cancer.

*At this time, we are only able to provide telemedicine services to individuals living in Virginia or DC, due to license restrictions.

Education & Resources

Grief in Children and Adolescents

This 15-minute webinar is designed for parents and caregivers of children and teens who have experienced a loss, whether that be their parent, grandparent, sibling, or other family member. Dr. Thompson, Pediatric Chief Psychologist, shares typical emotional and behavioral reactions that are common among grieving children and signs that your child may need more support or intervention by a mental health professional.

Strategies to Support your Child's Grief

This 15-minute webinar, a companion to “Grief in Children and Adolescents”, will be helpful for parents and caregivers of children and adolescents who are grieving the death of a loved one in their family. Dr. Thompson shares strategies for supporting children during their grieving process, including providing structure, routine, and reassurance, mobilizing social supports, and encouraging continuing bonds with the loved one who has died.

More Information