The Therapeutic Consequences of Visiting a Medium
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Bereavement studies have developed from the traditional phase models of letting go of our deceased loved ones, to the more recent theory of continuing bonds. Visiting a medium may provide a means of continuing bonds with the deceased but no research has been conducted to investigate the therapeutic consequences of this. The present study combined quantitative with qualitative data in a between-subjects cross-sectional survey design. Questionnaires were distributed to individuals who had visited a medium (bereaved or not) and those who were recently bereaved but had not visited a medium. Interviews with mediums explored the role they play in helping the bereaved. It was hypothesised that participants who had visited a medium would have higher well-being following a bereavement than those who had not. Other exploratory hypotheses investigated the mode of death, proximity of bereavement, frequency of medium visits, Spiritualism, and the effect of the bereavement. Visiting a medium was associated with significantly lower past life disruption and higher satisfaction with life for bereaved individuals. Very unexpected and sudden deaths were associated with higher present emotion of grief than expected deaths. No effects of bereavement, proximity of bereavement, frequency of mediums visits, or Spiritualism were found. It is suggested that visiting a medium provides a way of maintaining an evolving bond with the deceased that has beneficial consequences for the bereaved. This has practical implications for bereavement counselling. Future research should adopt a similar methodology in a longitudinal design.