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Beverley Raphael

, Sally Wooding

, and Julie Dunsmore

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date: 01 July 2022

Bereavement is the complex set reactions that occurs with the death of a loved one: the emotions of grief with yearning, angry protest, and sadness; the cognitive processes of understanding and making meaning of the finality and nature of death; and the social, cultural, spiritual, and religious contexts of adaptation. Grief may also result from other losses such as health, home, country, and safe worlds. There have been investigations into potential neurobiological substrates, without, as yet consensus about the explanatory model. This chapter covers the phenomenology of ‘normal grief’, neurobiology of bereavement, risk and protective factors influencing course and outcome, physical and mental health consequences of bereavement, and assessment and management. Counselling bereaved people requires hopeful, compassionate psychotherapeutic intervention which recognizes the human suffering involved, validates the person’s strengths, and respects their spiritual needs. Loss is a central issue for all of us, both our fears of it, and its reality. Counselling requires those involved to recognize their own sensitivities in this regard, and to assist the ‘journey’ of those affected in dealing with their loss. Most people grieve, remember with love those whom they have lost, and continue to love, and love anew.

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