Our Philosophy & Principles

Our Philosophy

Dougy Center’s philosophy is grounded in a humanistic and holistic approach to understanding and supporting children and families who are grieving. Below are the principles and tenets which inform The Dougy Center Model and guide our work:

  • Natural. Loss is a normal, inevitable, and universal human experience. People have an innate capacity to adapt to loss and function healthily.
  • Complex and Nonpathological. Grief is an adaptive, nonpathological response to loss. Grief is complex and complicated because people and relationships are complex and complicated.
  • Contextual. Grief is not solely an individual experience; grief is interwoven in a sociocultural context, influenced by family, community, and other social systems. Acknowledging and addressing the sociocultural and historical factors that impact grief can reduce disparities and promote equity and inclusion.
  • Disruptive. Grief challenges our identity, relationships, beliefs, and assumptions about the world and our role in it.
  • Relational Connection and Perceived Support. Healthy adaptation to loss is fostered by supportive relationships.
  • Personal Empowerment and Agency. Healthy adaptation to loss is fostered by personal empowerment and agency.
  • Safety. Healthy adaptation to loss is fostered by psychological, physical, and emotional safety.
  • Person-centered. The duration, intensity, and experience of grief are unique for every individual.
  • Dynamic. The dynamic nature of grief cannot be captured by stage, phase, or other prescriptive models. There are no universally acceptable or “correct” ways to grieve.
  • Nonfinite. Loss is interwoven into our identity; therefore, the act of grieving is not a finite experience. Grief is ongoing.

For more information about our grief-informed model, please see Becoming Grief-Informed: A Call to Action and Appendices A & B.

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