Unresolved Grief Essay

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UNRESOLVED GRIEF AND CONTINUING BONDS: AN ATTACHMENT PERSPECTIVE There is increasing agreement among bereavement theorists and practitioners that an ongoing attachment to the deceased can be an integral part of successful adaptation to bereavement. This position, commonly known as the ‘‘continuing bonds’’ perspective, is counter to that presented by Freud in his classic work ‘‘Mourning and Melancholia,’’ in which he proposed that successful adaptation to loss required the bereaved to detach his or her psychic investment in the deceased, or ‘‘relinquish’’ his or her attachment to the deceased, in order to complete the mourning process. According to Bowlby, healthy mourning occurs when an individual accepts ‘‘both that a change has occurred in his external world and that he is required to make corresponding changes in his internal, representational world and to reorganize, and perhaps reorient, his attachment behavior accordingly’’ Even among bereavement theorists who emphasize the role of CB in successful adaptation to bereavement, it is understood that the nature of the bond is different from what it was when the deceased was alive. Following the death, the connection is exclusively internal and no longer a bond involving the physical existence of the other. Accommodation to bereavement requires revising the mental schema of attachment to the deceased in accord with the reality of this new life situation Widows and widowers are willing for their feelings of attachment to a dead spouse to persist that their sense of identity is preserved and they can reorganize their lives along lines they find meaningful. However, certain continuing bonds can indicate the failure to adapt to the loss they have suffered. Continuing Bonds is an integral part of successful adaptation to bereavement. What is clear is that bereavement has fully accepted unresolved grief and

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