Experiences of the Bereaved: Consulting Alternative Helpers in a Western Context


What it means to grieve is changing. Grief recently became a new category of mental disorder, which could impact how we make sense of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours after we experience the death of a loved one. This new diagnosis could narrow the possibilities for how grief is understood and responded to. People can grieve in many ways. I am exploring the experiences of bereaved individuals who have consulted alternative helpers (e.g., psychics, mediums, energy healers, etc.) after the death of a loved one to value different ways of grieving, knowing, and living.


Currently recruiting participants: Yes

Eligible gender: Male, Female, Transgender, Other

Eligible ages: 18 to 85

Accepts healthy participants: Yes

Inclusion criteria:

Any post-secondary student at the University of Calgary, who: (1) have a deceased loved one, (2) have seen an alternative helper with the deceased loved one being a topic of interest, (3) are willing to meet for two separate interviews, and (4) have judged their readiness to speak about their loss in a research setting.


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Alyssa West, MSc, Counselling Psychology PhD Candidate

Principal investigator:

Kaori Wada

Clinical trial: