Contemporary Family Therapy

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 302–319 | Cite as

“Broken Together”: Spirituality and Religion as Coping Strategies for Couples Dealing with the Death of a Child: A Literature Review with Clinical Implications

  • Ileana UngureanuEmail author
  • Jonathan G. Sandberg
Original Paper


The death of a child is an event that can fall into the category of uncontrollable life events, testing the limits of the ability to control of bereaved parents. The literature reviewed showed that religious/spiritual coping is a unique way of coping and may be particularly important for couples who have lost a child. When assessing the couples’ coping strategies, marital therapists would be wise to look for religious/spiritual mechanisms that can be employed in the therapeutic process. Furthermore, the reviewers propose Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (Johnson, 2004, The practice of emotionally focused couple therapy: Creating connection, Routledge, New York) as well suited for helping couples grieving the death of their child.


Couples Death of a child Spirituality/religion Emotionally focused couple therapy 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Human Ecology, Department of Marriage and Family TherapySyracuse UniversitySyracuseUSA
  2. 2.Chicago Center for Family HealthChicagoUSA
  3. 3.School of Family Life, Department of Marriage and Family TherapyBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA

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