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The Anatomy of Grief

The Anatomy of Grief

by Dorothy P. Holinger Ph.D.


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An original, authoritative guide to the impact of grief on the brain, the heart, and the body of the bereaved

"Dorothy Holinger's exploration of the contours of grief is wise, moving, thought-provoking, and, best of all, extraordinarily helpful. Beautifully written and humane, it is a balm for the bereaved."—Barry Bearak, Pulitzer Prize winner for international reporting

The Anatomy of Grief sets out to examine the nexus of connections between the physiology and psychology of grief. . . . What’s central for Holinger is that turning feeling into words, and giving voice to buried emotions, acts to release tension. She is a passionate advocate for language as healer.”—Clair Wills, New York Review of Books 

Grief happens to everyone. Universal and enveloping, grief cannot be ignored or denied.
This original new book by psychologist Dorothy P. Holinger uses humanistic and physiological approaches to describe grief’s impact on the bereaved. Taking examples from literature, music, poetry, paleoarchaeology, personal experience, memoirs, and patient narratives, Holinger describes what happens in the brain, the heart, and the body of the bereaved.  
Readers will learn what grief is like after a loved one dies: how language and clarity of thought become elusive, why life feels empty, why grief surges and ebbs so persistently, and why the bereaved cry. Resting on a scientific foundation, this literary book shows the bereaved how to move through the grieving process and how understanding grief in deeper, more multidimensional ways can help quell this sorrow and allow life to be lived again with joy.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300226232
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 09/01/2020
Pages: 328
Sales rank: 359,427
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Dorothy P. Holinger, Ph.D., was an instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School for more than twenty-three years. She is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and has her own psychotherapy practice.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction: From the Depths xix

Part I Grief, Described

1 Evolutionary Origins 3

2 Forms of Grief 29

3 Language of the Bereaved 51

Part II Physiology of Grief

4 The Grief-Stricken Brain 75

5 The Broken Heart of Grief 101

6 The Grieving Body 119

Part III Lost Loved Ones

7 Mothers 139

8 Fathers 161

9 Children 182

10 Sisters and Brothers 201

11 Life Partners 223

Epilogue: A Bittersweet Alchemy 243

Notes 263

Credits 283

Index 285

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