Life After Loss: The Lessons of Grief

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9780684195742: Life After Loss: The Lessons of Grief

Describes normal and unresolved grief, offers advice on what to do when prolonged grief turns into depression, and explains how grief can be a vehicle for growth

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About the Author:

Vamik D. Volkan is Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, an Emeritus Training and Supervising Analyst at the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute and the Senior Erik Erikson Scholar at the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. He was the Medical Director of the University of Virginia's Blue Ridge Hospital and director of the University of Virginia's Center for the Study of Mind and Human Interaction. He is a past president of the International Society of Political Psychology, the Virginia Psychoanalytic Society, the Turkish-American Neuropsychiatric Association, and the American College of Psychoanalysts. He is also the author or co-author of forty books and the editor or co-editor of ten more. He has served on the editorial boards of sixteen professional journals including the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, and has published more than four hundred scientific papers or book chapters.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A psychiatrist reveals what he's learned about how we mourn- -and what happens when we can't. With the assistance of journalist Zintl, Volkan (Psychiatry/University of Virginia Medical Center) details how we deal with what he calls ``uncomplicated'' mourning--the psychological response to the tolerable loss of someone with whom we had little unfinished business. In successful mourning, there is movement from denial to acceptance, followed by an assessment of the relationship with the lost one and a letting-go. Mourning that doesn't progress normally is termed ``complicated'' by Volkan, who looks at the factors that lead to it, such as unfinished business with the deceased, unresolved past losses, external circumstances, and one's particular emotional makeup. Case studies from the author's practice illustrate how people may become stuck in denial, be unable to resolve their loss, and be plunged into depression. Volkan shares his views on how to help the relatively few who require psychotherapy in dealing with grief. He cautions against emotion-muffling drugs and offers his own program of ``regrief'' therapy--a brief but intense form of treatment utilizing objects such as photographs or personal possessions that link the patient to the lost one. But although Volkan directs his words not just to those experiencing grief but also to bereavement counselors and care givers, the information on grief therapy, and specifically on his own regrief therapy, is too scanty to provide much guidance. In a final chapter, the author touches on the link between mourning and creativity. Volkan offers some understanding of a universal human experience, but his therapeutic advice is too brief to be truly useful. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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