Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2023

Document Type

Project (696 or 796 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Counseling


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Jessica Brown


group manual, ambiguous loss, foster care youth, disenfranchised grief, group counseling


Over the past ten years in the United States, there has been an average of 414,000 youth in the foster care system each year (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2020). Youth in foster care are an at-risk population for behavioral, emotional, and relational issues that are often perceived or diagnosed as dysfunctional symptoms. Common presenting symptoms reported by this population relate to ambiguous loss experiences and can be conceptualized by ambiguous loss theory. Ambiguous loss theory has been developed through research with well-defined concepts, assessments, and treatment goals. However, there is a gap in the research on ambiguous loss theory informed interventions for youth in foster care. Current interventions for youth in foster care indicate minimal effectiveness or lack feasibility. Group counseling has received the least attention in the literature for this population though group interventions promote supportiveness, collaboration, and validation which is often lacking in the lives of youth in foster care. The following group manual was created for males in foster care ages ten to thirteen to provide psychoeducation on ambiguous loss, process perceptions and feelings about the loss, learn skills for coping with ambiguity, and build the support system and resiliency. Ambiguous loss theory, trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, and creative therapeutic interventions informed the group’s developmentally appropriate interventions and activities.

Keywords: ambiguous loss, group counseling, foster care youth

Included in

Counseling Commons



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