Meaning Reconstruction and the Experience of Loss

Pages: 359
Item #: 431651A
ISBN: 978-1-55798-742-6
List Price: $19.95
Member/Affiliate Price: $19.95
Copyright: 2001
Format: Hardcover
Note: This book is out of print and no longer available for purchase.

Individual chapters of this book are available to purchase online.

Debunking the notion that an invariant sequence of stages of grief occurs among all who experience the death of a loved one, this groundbreaking volume clearly demonstrates that highly individual processes of meaning-making are at the heart of grief dynamics. Leading the reader through earlier conceptions of grief and mourning in which successful grieving is viewed as withdrawal of psychic energy from the deceased, the healthy role of continued symbolic bonds is stressed as well as appreciation of life-enhancing growth as one integrates the lessons of loss.

A prominent theme in the volume is that symptoms in the bereaved have meaning-making significance, and that meaning reconstruction in response to loss is the central process in grieving. More scientifically oriented readers will find comprehensive discussions of research programs supporting these tenets, particularly those linking grief with responses to loss involved in trauma. Practitioners will find clinically informed models and ample case descriptions to bridge concepts with the lived world of real people suffering real losses. All will find new paradigms for approaching loss and reconstruction of meaning in a respectful, revealing way that has significance both personally and professionally.

Table of Contents



Introduction: Meaning Reconstruction and Loss
—Robert A. Neimeyer

I. Breaking Ground: Toward a Fresh Theory of Grieving

  1. Beyond Decathexis: Toward a New Psychoanalytic Understanding and Treatment of Mourning
    —George Hagman
  2. Relearning the World: Making and Finding Meanings
    —Thomas Attig
  3. Meaning Making in the Dual Process Model of Coping With Bereavement
    —Margaret S. Stroebe and Henk Schut

II. Re-Establishing Relationships: Context and Connection

  1. The Inner Representation of the Dead Child in the Psychic and Social Narratives of Bereaved Parents
    —Dennis Klass
  2. Family Construction of Meaning
    —Janice Winchester Nadeau
  3. The Death of a Child With a Developmental Disability
    —Elizabeth Moulton Milo

III. Transcending Trauma: Growth After Loss

  1. The Tormented and the Transformed: Understanding Responses to Loss and Trauma
    —Christopher G. Davis
  2. Posttraumatic Growth: The Positive Lessons of Loss
    —Lawrence G. Calhoun and Richard G. Tedeschi
  3. Spiritual Resources Following a Partner's Death From AIDS
    —T. Anne Richards
  4. Positive Outcomes of Losing a Loved One
    —Thomas T. Frantz, Megan M. Farrell, and Barbara C. Trolley

IV. Healing Stories: Research and Reflexivity

  1. Shattered Beliefs: Reconstituting the Self of the Trauma Counselor
    —Marla J. Arvay
  2. Embracing Their Memory: The Construction of Accounts of Loss and Hope
    —John H. Harvey, Heather R. Carlson, Tamara M. Huff, and Melinda A. Green
  3. Research as Therapy: The Power of Narrative to Effect Change
    —Bronna D. Romanoff

V. Renegotiating the World: Meaning Making in Grief Therapy

  1. The Language of Loss: Grief Therapy as a Process of Meaning Reconstruction
    —Robert A. Neimeyer
  2. Construing Stress: A Constructivist Therapeutic Approach to Posttraumatic Stress Reactions
    —Kenneth W. Sewell and Amy M. Williams
  3. Trauma, Grief, and Surviving Childhood Sexual Abuse
    —Stephen J. Fleming and Sheri Kathleen Bélanger
  4. Videography: Re-Storying the Lives of Clients Facing Terminal Illness
    —Sandra A. Rigazio-DiGilio

Subject Index

Author Index

About the Editor

Reviews & Awards

Essential reading for undergraduates, scholars, philosophers, and educators, the book provides a foundation for more empathetic and facilitative bereavement therapy.
—CHOICE Magazine