Good Mourning Game
by Nicholas J. Bisenius, Ph.D., and Michele Norris, M.S.W.; Art by Steve Galloway
An enchanting gameboard is the centerpiece of this wonderful therapy tool. It creates a magical yet peaceful environment where children who've suffered a loss can resolve their grief. The board illustrates nature's basic cycle, which, like the grief cycle, moves from stormy intensity to relative calm. Game cards introduce techniques that can help children work through the grieving process. Players learn to share memories, explore feelings, enjoy laughter and play, relax, and identify their own coping strategies. When they complete the Star Path, they each receive a Shining Star—which serves as a reminder of new coping skills learned.
Whether loss has occurred through illness, death, or a change in lifestyle—such as a move, a divorce, or new custody arrangements—this game lets children resolve their grief in an open, supportive, and caring environment. Research conducted with children's grief groups shows that both group leaders and participants give the Good Mourning Game high ratings. It can be played by a therapist and one to three children, usually in about 45 minutes.