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Child bereavement is a difficult topic to explore and study because of stigmas in discussing death, and because of restrictions in doing research with young children. Thus, research in childhood bereavement is limited. This study focused on children who attended a bereavement camp after the traumatic loss of a loved one. The purpose was to understand the participants’ grief experiences. This research study used phenomenological inquiry and analysis methodology. Five female participants were interviewed for this study. In addition, participants created a sandtray world to convey their experiences at bereavement camp. The essence of participants’ experiences as revealed through verbal interviews was posttraumatic growth. In addition, the essence of participants’ experiences as revealed through their sandtray worlds was gaining a sense of support. Results of this study extend bereavement research to include the experiences of children. Further, implications for mental health professionals, counselor educators, and bereavement camps are emphasized.


© American Psychological Association, 2021. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. Please do not copy or cite without author's permission. The final article is available, upon publication, at:

Publication Title

International Journal of Play Therapy





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