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.
Legacy Work: Helping Clients with Life-Threatening Illness to Preserve Memories, Beliefs, and Values for Loved Ones
Claudia J. Sadler-Gerhardt and J. Grant Hollenbach
Legacy is popularly understood in today’s culture as referring to the idea of leaving something of oneself behind for future generations. Frequently legacy has been understood in two primary ways. First, it can indicate a material legacy—that appropriation of material and familial possessions to family or friends after one’s death, or a financial bequest to an institution or cause. Second there is the biological legacy— that inheritance of genetic traits with susceptibility to certain health conditions passed through the generations. However, the phenomenon of legacy as an aspect of aging or terminal illness has been understudied in the end of life literature, especially from the perspective of transmitting values and beliefs to loved ones left behind (Hunter, 2008a, 2008b; Hunter & Rowles, 2005). The psychosociospiritual concept of legacy work has historical roots in the field of music therapy (Cadrin, 2006; West, 1994). More recently the gerontological (Moremen, 2005; Werth, Gordon, & Johnson, 2002) and the palliative care fields (Chochinov, 2007) have begun to acknowledge the importance of helping individuals leave behind a legacy for loved ones. However, there is a paucity of literature about legacy work in counseling, which is probably indicative that clinical counseling applications of legacy interventions are underutilized in practice (for an exception, see Rayburn, 2008, which, while not specifically using the term legacy, included similar concepts).