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SWK317 Dynamics of Loss and Grief Assessment two


Assignment 2: Essay and Marking Rubric

Essay Information

Value:                   50%

Due Date:            20 October 2019

Word Length:        2500 words


Select one of the case studies provided.  Use this case study to write an essay about the kind of loss and grief theory and practice you would use in that particular case, and why. 

The essay should include the following:

  • An introduction that outlines the structure of the paper and highlights key points covered.
  • An outline of the particulars of the case study situation (relevant information to loss and grief, presenting issues etc) 
  • Description of the nature of loss and relevance of this developmentally, socially and culturally.
  • Identification of literature (theory, research, debate) which gave you insight into the situation in the case study
  • Description of therapeutic goals the worker may try to achieve in the scenario
  • Identification of the actions and skills the worker should exhibit within their intervention
  • Identification of community resources that could be included in your intervention
  • A conclusion that summarizes what you have presented and the key learnings


Assessment of this paper will be based significantly on your ability to critically analyse and apply relevant loss and grief literature. We recommend that you cite and discuss a substantial selection of articles from the set readings and/or other relevant sources from the loss and grief literature. Avoid the use of  information sources that are not credible. Use peer reviewed academic sources as references, keeping in mind the level of theory and knowledge appropriate for a fourth year essay. In short, express your ideas in a scholarly manner with reference to published research.


Font style and size should be easy to read, keep to size 12, with 1.5 line spacing.

It is important to properly reference your material. Use the APA version 6 Referencing Guide which is available through the CDU Library Website.

This assessment requires a minimum of 10 academic peer reviewed in-text reference citations and reference list.

You can write this essay in the first person if you wish.   While it is an academic piece, it concerns your own integration of practice ideas and theories which can be difficult to article in the ‘third person’ writing style. . 

 Assessment Criteria

 The essay will be assessed against the following criteria:

o             Demonstrated evidence of unit readings and further reading/research

o             Demonstrated ability to critically engage with theoretical frameworks 

o             Ability to apply and critically reflect on interventions and identify areas for improvement (of the intervention and your own practice)

o             Adherence to academic writing conventions

Case Study

Tina & Graham

Tina and Graham have been referred to you from the social worker in the local hospital.  A year ago their first baby died shortly after birth, because of an undiagnosed lung problem.    Tina and Graham are both in their early 30’s and work full-time in professional jobs.    

On the days leading up to the anniversary of the baby’s birth and death, Tina advised she could not get out of bed, could not eat or concentrate, is feeling helpless and ‘cannot stop crying’.   Graham was so concerned he called the hospital social worker to seek help, she referred him to your counselling service.   

Graham wishes Tina would ‘move on’ so that they can try to have another baby.  Tina says she is not ready, and doesn’t know if she ever will be.  She says she cannot stop thinking about the child they lost.   Specialists have advised that the babies lung issues were not hereditary, and there does not appear to be a genetic link that would present any unusual risk for further pregnancies.   Tina reports she is not sure she believes this, but is not sure why. 

Tina comes from a large family of seven, where she is the middle child.  Graham is one of two children.  Grahams parents divorced when he was a teenager, Tina’s are still happily married.   They have no family living locally (the closest is a 2 hour plane ride away), but they have been living in their current location for five years and have some close friends and work colleagues. 

Tina has experienced mild depression and anxiety, mostly related to work stresses, over the past decade.  Graham has not history of mental ill-health.    Tina returned to work six weeks after the loss of their baby.   Graham only took a few days leave around the birth and funeral for the baby.   The couple recently purchased their own home, a three bedroom unit, and have a large mortgage.   


Frida is a 20 year old female who lives in a small rural town, 150 kilometres from the nearest city.  Frida was the passenger in a single vehicle car accident involving three other friends.  No one died, Two young men had minor injuries (including the driver), but two young women (including Frida) where seriously injured.    Frida sustained spinal injuries and it is unlikely she will be able to walk again.

The driver was Frida’s boyfriend of two months, Alan.   At the time of the accident all the friends, including Frida, had taken amphetamines, had been drinking, and were returning from a party.  Alan had a high blood alcohol reading (well over the legal limit).   He has been charged with a range of offences related to the accident, and is awaiting trial.

Frida is now in the outpatient rehabilitation program at the local regional hospital, after three months as an in-patient.   Part of her rehabilitation program involves seeing you, the social worker, for ‘adjustment to disability’ counselling.

When you meet Frida, she tells you that she is completely confused about her feeling, has mood swings, feels guilt and anger,  and feels betrayed by Alan, who no longer visits her.  

Frida has a supportive family, and was living with her mother and two younger brothers (16 and 18) at the time of accident.  Her father had died when she was 10 years old.  

Frida was in the final year of her hairdressing apprenticeship at the time of the accident, and would like to return to that job and complete her apprenticeship but does not know if that is possible.  She also says she is ‘too embarrassed’ to ask her employer about it.

Ahmed & Aban

Ahmed was born into a large family in Iraq 44 years ago.  Due to persecution of the Yazidis community of which he was part, Ahmed was forced to flee his home in 2007 for the safety of his wife and son.    He extended family was dispersed, his parents died in the following years, and he does not have much information about the location and wellbeing of his siblings, some of whom left Iraq, some stayed.    

After a decade of living in various refugee camps in the middle east, Ahmed and his son, Aban (now aged 15) arrived in Melbourne, via a United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) program.    Ahmed’s wife died due to pregnancy complications and lack of medical care five years ago in a refugee camp.

Since arriving in Melbourne six months ago, Ahmed has become deeply depressed.  He knows that Australia offers him and his son new life and hope, but he feels overwhelmed with sadness and hopeless and he does not know why.    He is isolated and does not have friends or family.  He does not like to attend any of the community-network building social events run by the Refugee support agency that might help him meet people.  He says he cannot stop thinking about his wife and how she died.

His son, Aban, is going well.  He is enrolled in an intensive English language supported high school, and they have stable accommodation for the next 12 months as part of their resettlement program.  Aban has made some new friends, is playing sport and is coping well with school.

You are a social work mental health counsellor at the Refugee support agency which case manages Ahmed and Aban.   Ahmed has been referred to you to work with loss and grief issues.    

Lilia & Frank

Lilia and Frank live in their own home in the suburbs of a major city.  They are in their mid 70’s and have been married for almost 50 years.  Frank is an Aboriginal man and part of the stolen generation.  He was taken from his family and community in the NT when he was a young boy.  He grew up in a non-Aboriginal family (who he is still close too) and only reconnected with extended family members from the NT 15 years ago.  Frank talks with them on the phone once a month and they have visited each other a few times. 

Lilia’s parents were from in West Timor, Indonesia.  She grew up in Australia in the city she lives in now.  Her three siblings all live in the same city as her and Frank.   They were not able to have children of their own, but played a major role in the lives of their nieces and nephews who all live nearby.   They are close Lilia’s extended family and see them often.    

Frank and Lilia were both school teachers but retired 10 years ago and have enjoyed traveling around Australia and Indonesia over recent years.

After a difficult six months in which Frank seemed very forgetful and at times disorientated,  he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease two weeks ago.  He is deteriorating rapidly and Lilia is finding it very difficult to cope and make decisions about his care and their future. 

You are the social worker in a community care centre.  Lilia has been referred to you by her general practitioner. 

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A Town in Crisis

It is two months after a devastating bushfire has partially destroyed a small town of 500 people.  Forty people (including  eight  primary school aged children) were killed in the fire, or while attempting to escape it.    A third of the housing in the town has been destroyed.  

The small local health clinic, council offices, caravan park, swimming pool, primary school and general store have just re-opened.  People are slowly moving back into their homes (they had been evacuated), assessing the damage, making decisions about their futures and trying to re-establish lives.   People are devastated, many seem to be still in shock.  The local general practitioner advises that they have seen many residents about trauma, anxiety and depression since the fire. 

You are a community worker, specializing in loss and grief.  You have been employed by local council for 12 months to help the small town re-establish itself and come to terms with what has happened.  You are provided with an office, car, computer and a budget of $50,000 for activities.  You do not need to provide practical support (such as food, clothing and shelter) as other services are doing this.   Your role is focused on emotional and social aspects of support.

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