In recent years I have been involved with developing how to counsel people with the many aspects of being bereaved through a drug or alcohol related death. Through this work I have written several publications:

Primary author and editor of Supporting people bereaved through a drug or alcohol related death due to be published by Jessica Kingsley Publishing in September 2020. This is the first book to address how to counsel these bereaved people and it covers:

Part 1 – Making sense of substance-related bereavements

  • Chapter 1 – Making sense of bereavement
  • Chapter 2 – Three useful theories for bereavement support
  • Chapter 3 – Making sense of substance use
  • Chapter 4 – How addictive substance use can affect a family
  • Chapter 5 – Substance-related bereavements
  • Chapter 6 – Making sense of substance-related bereavements

Part 2 – How to support a bereaved person

  • Chapter 7 – Key considerations
  • Chapter 8 – Supporting a bereaved person
  • Chapter 9 – Bereavement counselling
  • Chapter 10 – Themes in bereavement counselling
  • Chapter 11 – Anxiety, stress and traumatic bereavement
  • Chapter 12 – Unfinished business
  • Chapter 13 – Shame and stigma 
  • Chapter 14 – Anger, blame and guilt
  • Chapter 15 – Depression
  • Chapter 16 – Counselling clients who use medication, alcohol or drugs
  • Chapter 17 – Later bereavement and how far can we help?

Part 3 – Examples of good practice

Author of How helpful is counselling for people bereaved through a substance-related death? published by Bereavement Care journal in 2019. This was the first research to be conducted into the helpfulness of counselling for people bereaved through substance use.

Co-author, along with Lorna Templeton and Dr Gordon Hay, of Chapter 7, Improving the response of services, in Families bereaved by alcohol and drugs: Research on experiences, coping and support published by Routledge in 2018.

Primary author and the chairman of the national working group that produced Bereaved through substance use: Guidelines for those whose work brings them into contact with adults after a drug or alcohol-related death published by the University of Bath in 2015. Available at This is the first guidance to be produced for any professionals, workers or volunteers who as a part of their work comes into contact with these bereaved people.

Co-author, along with Philippa Skinner and Anna O’Connell, of Bereaved by Addiction: A Booklet for Anyone Bereaved Through Drug or Alcohol Use published by DrugFAM in 2013. Available for free from DrugFAM, for contact details see

As well as the above, I was also author of Chapter 11, Feelings and stammering: Finding a way forward, in Stammering Therapy from the inside: New Perspectives on working with young people and adults published by J&R Press in 2013.