Grief: The Mourning After: Dealing with Adult Bereavement / Edition 2

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Grief is inordinately lonely and the pain is torturous. Nonetheless, many bereaved continue to suffer through their losses with little support or acknowledgment of their emptiness. One hundred years ago, however, this was not the case. In the past, families took care of their own and abided by specific funeral rituals, primarily because they lived closer to one another and could easily offer their support and concern. Families today, however, are more scattered, in both a physical and emotional sense. After the march to the graveside, families disperse; they return to their homes, jobs, and private lives. As a result, the bereaved are left to deal with their grief alone and their only channels of support are the professional caregivers. In the modern age, the caregivers are handed the challenge to help mourners grieve and cope with the pain, isolation, and emotional tumult experienced after the loss of a loved one. But, as every bereavement counselor knows, grief and individual responses to it are much more varied than traditional psychotherapeutic models allow. Clearly, more rigorous researchbased models that acknowledge the multitudinal nature and manifestations of grief, in addition to the psychosociobiological factors that shape it, are needed. Dr. Sanders’ book provides such a model. In this revised edition of her classic guide, Catherine Sanders develops an integrative theory of bereavement that serves as the basis for effective strategic interventions for those suffering with grief. At the heart of her approach is a model comprised of five distinct stages of bereavement—shock, awareness of loss, conservation-withdrawal, healing, and renewal. Her theory also emphasizes the need to tailor interventions so as to allow the bereaved to experience grief in a manner consistent with his or her unique personality. Dr. Sanders begins with a detailed overview of contemporary psychotherapeutic approaches to bereavement and then goes on to describe the five phases of grief and their symptoms, as well as the core biological and psychological aspects. Defining the emotional tasks that must be completed within each phase in the series of chapters that follow, Dr. Sanders then explores the ways in which pre-morbid personality traits shape responses to grief and how certain social and physiological factors can interfere with grief resolution. This section is followed by a series of chapters on especially traumatic grievances, including suicide, homicide, and AIDS-related deaths, as well as the loss of a child, spouse, or parent. The final section of the book provides practical guidelines for clinical interventions. Dr. Sanders not only explores several new and promising approaches to grief interventions, she also outlines techniques therapists can use to help themselves cope with the continual stress of treating grief. Grief: The Mourning After is a necessary working resource for psychotherapists, social workers, psychiatrists, nurses, grief counselors, and anyone who works in the health care profession.

The book contains black-and-white illustrations.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471127772
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 11/23/1998
  • Series: Personality Processes Series
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.63 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Meet the Author

Catherine M. Sanders, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and certified grief therapist living in Colchester, Vermont, specializing in individuals who have suffered a traumatic loss. She has done extensive research into the effects of bereavement experienced by both individuals and families. Her work in the field dates back to 1968 when she began construction of the Grief Experience Inventory (GEI), a multidimensional measure of the grief experience and process. The GEI is utilized in research and clinical situations not only in this country but internationally as well. Currently, Dr. Sanders is Executive Director and Founder of the Center for the Study of Separation and Loss, a clearinghouse for the GEI. After completing her PhD at the University of South Florida, she founded and was director of the Loss and Bereavement Center where she consulted and provided training programs for professionals, conducted research, and taught graduate programs in death and dying at the University. She received both preand postdoctoral research awards from the National Institute of Mental Health to study the effects of bereavement on adults. In addition, she helped develop a bereavement training program for hospice nurses. She has written extensively in the area of bereavement and is the author of Grief: The Mourning After (Wiley), which was chosen by the American Library Association as one of the outstanding academic books of the year. She has also written Surviving Grief and Learning to Live Again (Wiley).

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Table of Contents



Theoretical Foundations: The Evolution of BereavementTheories.

Sanders' Integrative Theory of Bereavement.


The First Phase: Shock—The Impact of Grief.

The Second Phase: Awareness of Loss.

The Third Phase: Conservation-Withdrawal.

The Fourth Phase: Healing—The Turning Point.

The Fifth Phase: Renewal.


Personality Variables.

Social-Situational Variables.

Early Childhood Impact.

Death and the Family Constellation.


Suicide, Homicide, and AIDS-Related Death.


The Death of a Child.

The Death of a Spouse.

The Death of a Parent.


Rites of Passage.


Therapeutic Approaches.

Care of the Caregiver.

The Lessons of Grief.



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