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Thanatology 2200 Study Guide - Final Guide: John Bowlby, Libido, Brain Injury

Course Code
THAN 2200
Jane Moore
Study Guide

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Weeks 1, 2, & 3- Theorists
Task-Based Theories:
Freud- Not pathological, mourner must separate attachment from lost entity (de-
cathect (withdraw feelings), re-cathexis (replace loss), libidinal (instinctual desires),
pleasure principle (we invest in someone to satisfy our needs), limited emotional
Lindemann- 4-6 weeks to cope, described symptoms (shortness of breath,
emptiness, irritability, anger desire to socially withdraw, etc.)
1. Being set free from a bondage to the deceased (de-cathexis)
2. Readjustment to the environment
3. Formulation of new relationships (re-cathexis)
Worden- Need for emotional ventilation, relationship with deceased continues,
tasks of mourning: (not linear), humans have a limited amount of energy to invest in
each relationship, culture values autonomy (thus continuing bonds is seen as
needy, more than one way to conduct research objective/positivistic views
denies subjective experience)
1. Accept loss
2. Experience the pain of the grief
3. Adjust to the world without the deceased
4. Find an enduring connection with the deceased while embarking on a new
Stage-Based Theories:
Kubler-Ross- Denial=healthy, stages fluctuate, studied people who were dying
Bowlby- Insecure attachments-anxious or detached feelings (importance in
children), sense of uncertainty for the future (grief=sever the attachment bond,
grief= protest of separation), grief is universal and geared towards survival
1. Numbness (protective)
2. Separation anxiety (state of despair and denial, with anger folded in
*Pathological grief is described as being stuck in one of these modes
3. Despair and disorganization (develop a new normal, a time of lost objects)
4. Acquisition of New Roles/Reorganization (Moves into aspects of life and
relationships with others)
Attachment Relationship- Apparent when loss=grief, security fostering, displayed
under conditions of threat, aim of establishing proximity/attention of attachment
figure, involve particular figures, not under conscious control, persistent over time,
unaffected by quality of experience with attachment figure, inability to contact
attachment figure= separation distress
-STUG reactions (subsequent temporary upsurges of grief; i.e. triggers or reminders
after death has occurred… grief sneaks up on you
Six R Process of Mourning:
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Avoidance Phase:
1. Recognize the loss
Confrontation Phase:
2. React to the separation
3. Recollect & re-experience the deceased and the relationship
4. Relinquish the old attachments to the deceased and the old assumptive world new
Accommodation Phase:
5. Readjust to move adaptively into the world without forgetting the old
6. Reinvest new relationships and roles
Postmodern Grief Theory:
Social construction- Humans construct their understanding of the world in ways
that they see to be true Truth’s are created within the context of the individual
Meaning making [Frankl, Neimeyer]- Mind actively structures grief experiences
according to its own principles and procedures
Narrative [White and Epstein)- A significant loss challenges one’s sense of
narrative coherence Dual process
Stroebe and Schut-An ongoing process of loss orientation (adult) and restoration
orientation (children; often find distractions)
Parkes [assumptive world]- Ex. )’ll predecease my child, stressor specific, builds
on Bowlby’s attachment (moving beyond children), grief is similar to a physical
injury, fight or flight theory grief is dependent on circumstances and stressors)
Continuing Bonds:
Klass and Silverman- Continuing bonds some do, some don’t
Disenfranchised grief
a) Relationship is not recognized Ex. Gay relationships
b) Loss is not acknowledged by societal norms Ex.Abortion
c) Griever is excluded Ex. Children, developmentally disabled
d) Circumstances of death cause embarrassment Ex. Person dies of AIDS
e) Grief expressed in nonsocially sanctioned ways Ex. Griever is deemed too expressive
(vice versa)
Ambiguous loss
Boss Frozen grief -Physically present but psychologically absent Ex. Brain injury
-Physically absent but psychologically present Ex. Missing child
The five V's
1. Validating
2. Verifying
3. Valuing
4. Ventilation
5. Being visionary
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-Grief is normal and promotes growth
-Grief is not just an emotional psychological response (biological, previous
attachments, social norms, support networks, etc.)
-Maturational Change vs. Normative Loss
- Issues of intervention: process, new roles, attitudes, new identities, transitions, etc.
Sullivan- Grief based on social systems, understood from interpersonal context (not
a single person), individual exists as part of a relationship, dynamism of grief
(recurrent patterns of behaviour that typify an individual in relation to others;
allows for reminder of the deceased person), chronic grief if person needs
relationship to feel secure in the world
Sanders- External & internal mediators, psychological forces have a biological
analogy, grief is seen as growth
Grief Work Hypothesis- Central to most bereavement research, one must do work
to cope with grief. Important to understand effective coping to avoid health
consequences, takes a lot of energy (continual process), demands of other aspects
on life crowd grief work, continuing bond means bond is not seen as broken (grief
work set aside)
Ambivalence- Attempt to come to terms with loss while holding onto memories and
meanings, & identity associated with the deceased person
-Suppression to the reality of a loss is viewed as pathological phenomenon
Inadequate representation of bereavement-related phenomena
Lack of universal application
Masculine or instrumental grief is not recognized as healthy because it may not be
as directly confrontive with the grief
Not seen as favourable or healthy in some cultures
Does not differentiate between negative and positive associated aspects of working
Two-Track Model:
Track 1- Outcome oriented; focus on stressor (functioning)
Track 2- focused on ways of transforming the bereaved person’s attachment to the
deceased, affects the relational bond
Incremental grief model:
-One loss triggers another loss
-Dyysynchrony of grief amounf bereaved individuals grieving together may cause
secondary or tertiary losses)
Dual Process Model:
Loss Orientated- Concentration of loss experience itself
Restoration Orientated- Focuses on secondary stressors
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