Loss and Grief Essay Assignment Paper

Loss and Grief Essay Assignment Paper

Loss and Grief Essay Assignment Paper

Choose one event on loss and construct an academic essay supported by relevant academic sources

This essay explores my experience of loss and grief after the death of my father in 1997 and how my grieving process relates to theories put forward to explain and deal with bereavement. Hall (2014) suggests that “loss and grief are fundamental to human life”..Harvey (1998) perceives loss as a life experience relating to something irreversible and emotions towards what is lost. Hall (2014) defines grief as “the response to the loss in its totality – including its physical, emotional, cognitive, behavioural and spiritual manifestations – and as a natural and normal reaction to loss”. It has been argued that in order to understand grief it is important to understand the role of attachment. Mallon (2008) observed that in order to have loss there must be attachment. As a result many theories of attachment play a major role in bereavement counseling. Bowlby (1980) emphasised the role of attachment in relationships. He suggests that a child’s emotional growth will be compromised if the child does not have attachment to a significant other person. The consequences can be that the individual may have difficulties connecting with others. An Essay on Loss and Grief PaperAn Essay on Loss and Grief 

This essay will first explore some of the salient theories on grief and bereavement. Secondly, a discussion of my experiences grieving my father’s death drawing on some key elements of bereavement theories will follow. Finally, a summary of the discussion will conclude the essay.

Freud (1953 – 1974) was the first major contributor to the theory of grief. His theory stressed that grieving individuals search for an attachment that has been lost. His work involved the process of breaking the links that bonded the survivor to the deceased. He identified three elements namely:

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  • Freeing the bereaved from the bondage to the deceased
  • Readjustment to life without the deceased
  • Building new relationships. An Essay on Loss and Grief Paper

Parkes (1971, 1996) argued that Freud’s concept of grief was useful in considering grief to be part of a rebuilding process which he calls ‘psychosocial transition’. Freud (1953-1974) argued that the grieving experience for the bereaved requires that they acknowledge their separation from the deceased by going through a process that includes painful emotions of guilt and anger. Furthermore, these emotions must be expressed. Key to Freud’s approach was the idea that if the bereaved failed to work with or complete their grief work, then the grieving process would become complicated and compromise recovery. This model stresses the importance of moving on as quickly as possible in order to return to ‘normal’ functioning.An Essay on Loss and Grief 

Influenced by Freud (1953-1974), several grief theorists including Kübler Ross (1969), Bowlby (1980) and Parkes & Weiss (1983) conceptualised grief as a process of predictable phases and tasks. One of the most recognised was Kübler Ross (1969), who proposed the five-stage model that constituted the following stages: An Essay on Loss and Grief Paper

  • Shock and denial
  • Anger
  • Resentment and guilt
  • Bargaining
  • Depression and Acceptance.

The model insists that failure to complete the stages would result in acute mental health complications. Hall (2014) argues that the stage theories were popular because they suggest a sense of conceptual order while offering hope of recovery and closure. Despite their popularity, most stage theories attracted criticism in the same way that Freud’s proposition attracted criticism for their lack of empirical evidence and their rigidity. Furthermore, the stage theories have been challenged for their inability to capture the complex, diverse and multi-faceted nature of the grieving experience. Baxter and Diehl (1998) argue that since grief is considered to be fluid, it is unlikely that individuals are able to go through the stages in a methodical manner as advocated by the stage theorists. In short, they do not take account of factors such as the physical, psychological, social, cultural and spiritual needs that impact on the bereaved people, their families and intimate networks (Hall 2014). An Essay on Loss and Grief PaperAn Essay on Loss and Grief 

Despite these criticisms, early stage theories have provided great groundwork and influence on current theories such as the Dual-Processing theory developed by Stroebe and Schut (1999) and Worden (2008). Hall (2014) argues that “these theories take account of many of the risks and protective factors identified by research and provide an important context for appreciating the idiosyncratic nature of attachment to the deceased that is lacking in the earlier stage theories”. Both models provide frameworks that guide intervention. Richardson and Balaswamy (2001), when evaluating the Dual Processing Model, suggested that avoiding grief can have both positive and negative outcomes. They proposed that this is where bereavement is perceived as including Loss of Orientation and Restoration Orientation. The griever in the loss-orientation is preoccupied with emotions, yearning and ruminating about the deceased, whereas, restoration orientation involves taking over the responsibilities and the roles undertaken by the deceased and making lifestyle changes, setting up a new identity without the deceased (Richardson, 2007; Bennett, 2010a). An Essay on Loss and Grief Paper

Worden (2008) suggests that grieving should be considered as an active process that involves engagement with four tasks:

  • Accepting the reality of the loss
  • Processing the pain of grief
  • Adjusting to a world without the deceased (including both internal, external and spiritual adjustments)
  • Finding an enduring connection with the deceased whilst embarking on a new life.

To understand what the client is experiencing, Worden identified seven determinants that need to be considered:

  • Who the person who died was
  • The nature of the attachment to the deceased
  • How the person died
  • Historical antecedents
  • Personality variables
  • Social mediators
  • Concurrent stressors

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