VISTAS Counseling Families and Adults

VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.

Invisible Grief: Addressing the Needs of Lesbian Widows

Vicky Whipple


This article discusses the commonalities and differences between heterosexual and lesbian widows, then outlines how professionals can better respond to grief issues in the lesbian community. The specific needs of lesbians are not addressed in traditional grief literature (Becvar, 2001; Wolfelt, 1992), although books on disenfranchised grief include lesbians (Walter, 2003). Even books about counseling the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community (Perez, DeBord, & Bieschke, 2000; Ritter & Terndrup, 2002) either do not discuss counseling a lesbian whose partner has died or mention it only briefly. The few books available to the lesbian community are anecdotal in nature (Bono, 2002; Butler, 1991).

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