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Thanatology 2200 Study Guide - Final Guide: Funeral Director, Near-Death Experience, Prolonged Grief Disorder

Course Code
THAN 2200
Carrie Arnold
Study Guide

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Trauma, Grief, Children and Families (March 11)
Job of the family: support one another
Wofelt: developmental task of the grieving family is to become reconciled to the family
member’s death
Factors that affect grief process: age of surviving family members, relationship of the deceased
to the family member, communication and adaptability of the family system, support system
presence/absence, personal risk and protective factors of individual, nature of death, spiritual
Uncomplicated bereavement process for children: sadness, anger, guilt, sleep, irritability, social
withdrawal, clinginess, preoccupation, dreams of person, deceased is still present, aggression,
- Depends on: age, life experiences, emotional health, family and social environment
Childhood traumatic grief: death of someone important to child, trauma might be related to
separation distress than to the actual event, trauma symptoms interfere with child’s ability to go
through the typical bereavement process, mind cannot cope sometimes and “shuts off”
Trauma symptoms: re-experiencing, hyper arousal, avoidance
Current Trends in Death and Funeral Practices (Feb 25)
The Memorial Society: group serves the following- advocacy to protect people through
traditional funeral services, provide awareness of various options available, monitors costs and
funeral practices, track environmental awareness in the various funeral and cemetery services
They also: provide education and information, provide reference materials, provide a telephone
resource, and protect the consumer from exploitation during time of vulnerability
Green burial: no embalming, no casket, body buried in a natural setting where there are
indigenous plants, body is covered with a shroud instead of a container
Choices at time of death: who do you call, what container is used for the body, what choices are
actually “green” choices, what will be done with the body or ashes
Promesa: body is frozen in liquid nitrogen, flash frozen and then shaken to break into small
Resomation: uses water based alkaline that reduces the body to ash
Putting ashes in fireworks, putting them in diamonds
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Funerals, Cemeteries and Rituals (March 4)
Funeral: an organized tie, limited and flexible group, centered response to death involving rites
and ceremonies which the body of the deceased is present
Ritual: symbolic affirmation of values by means of culturally standard actions
Purpose of funerals: sanitary disposal of body, celebration of deceased, beginning of mourning
process, reintegration of community without the deceased, reaffirmation of one’s belief system
- Provide the human need to do something in the face of death
- In a death-denying culture, it is important that the body is viewed because seeing is
Helpful when you are involved in the death of someone
- Information should be gathered about the deceased person and anything involved in the
- Cost of funeral
- Remember that funerals are for the living and survivors, not for the dead
- Survivors and executor of the will may alter prearranged funeral plans made by the
- A funeral director cannot proceed with embalming without express permission of the
- Training of funeral directors involves a 2-year program
- You need to be a licensed funeral director under supervision
Common myths about cremation and burial
- 6 feet under: most grave excavations are about 5 feet deep
- Only the body is cremated, not the casket: the body is received at the crematorium in a
fully enclosed rigid container
- Once cremation is complete only ash is left: it takes aggressive mechanical processor to
reduce the calcified bone to smaller fragments
- There must be 3 days between death and burial/cremation: this is more of a religious
belief, not a law
- Bodies must be embalmed after death: no legal requirement, but must be done if the
body is to be kept for a lengthy visitation and viewing
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