Longing for Dad: Father Loss and Its Impact : Counseling Corner
Dawn Womack, MSW, LCSW, BACS
Child and Adolescent Counseling, LLC
Serving East & West Baton Rouge, Ascension, Livingston & St. James Parishes
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Longing for Dad: Father Loss and Its Impact

by Dawn Womack on 04/21/12

I've noticed a common theme with some of my adolescent female clients and decided to form a small group to determine if talking with others who share similar experiences/feelings would be beneficial.  The common theme is hidden emotional pain due to their current circumstances regarding their fathers.  Whether a client was very close to her father and he passed away, or a client never knew her father and he passed away, or a client knew her father and suffered physical abuse by him, or a client who knows her father but he chooses not to spend any time with her, the girls all have a lot of emotional pain to work through and learn and grow from.  This common theme caught my attention quickly because I had a poor relationship with my father and I am able to recognize the serious effects this had on me during my adolescent years. I would like to prevent other young girls from making poor choices due to the lasting effects of the emotional pain left behind from their relationships or lack of relationships with their fathers.

I decided to look for some books to use in the group and came across this one: Longing for Dad: Father Loss and Its Impact - by Beth Erickson. I gave the book to the girls and invited them to read it on their own, bring it to the group, or both. I was amazed at how helpful this book has been in the short time we have been reading it.  We had our first small group session recently and the girls were not only able to identify with the author of the book, but with each other using activities and check lists in the book to help link some feelings of self-worth and behaviors to the lack of a relationship with their fathers. 

I highly recommend this book to anyone dealing with these issues:

Product description:

Whether you lost your father through death or divorce, or you wished he would have said "I love you" instead of merely being a good provider, you may harbor unresolved hurt in your soul.

When denied meaningful contact with our fathers, either physically or emotionally, a gaping hole or "father hunger" emerges in the child's psyche. If left unfulfilled, this "father hunger" triggers pronounced psychological patterns consigning that child to personal and professional dead-ends as an adult. Father hunger manifests itself in many forms: workaholism, substance abuse, chronic depression, sexual promiscuity, violent behavior, food addiction, and an inability to sustain intimate relationships.

Dr. Beth Erickson shows you how to identify, validate and heal the pain surrounding father loss and explore the spiritual crises that unresolved loss such as this generates. By sharing compelling case studies of men and women, and her own personal struggle to accept her father's death, she guides you through the healing process. After reading the dialogues and completing the exercises, you will fill the hole in your soul and emerge from the journey at peace with yourself and your relationships with your father.



Comments (1)

1. Annette Camp, LCSW said on 4/21/12 - 10:46AM
That is a very informatiove article which you wrote regarding the relationship between fathers and daughters and how the nature of that relationship affects girls in the choices they make in life. The book you make available to the girls sounds like a valuable resource. How great to have a group for your girl clients!

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