From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Grief is a multi-faceted response to loss. Although conventionally focused on the emotional response to loss, it also has physical, cognitive, behavioral, social and philosophical dimensions. Common to human experience is the death of a loved one, whether it be a friend, family, or other close companion. While the terms are often used interchangeably, bereavement often refers to the state of loss, and grief to the reaction to loss. Losses can range from loss of employment, pets, status, a sense of safety, order or possessions to the loss of the people nearest to us. Our response to loss is varied and researchers have moved away from conventional views of grief (that is, that people move through an orderly and predictable series of responses to loss) to one that considers the wide variety of responses that are influenced by personality, family, culture, and spiritual and religious beliefs and practices.
Bereavement, while a normal part of life for us all, carries a degree of risk when limited support is available. Severe reactions to loss may carry over into familial relations and cause trauma for children, spouses and any other family members: there is an increased risk of marital breakup following the death of a child, for example. Many forms of what we term 'mental illness' have loss as their root, but are covered by many years and circumstances this often goes unnoticed. Issues of personal faith and beliefs may also face challenge, as bereaved persons reassess personal definitions in the face of great pain. While many who grieve are able to work through their loss independently, accessing additional support from bereavement professionals may promote the process of healing. Grief counseling, professional support groups or educational classes, and peer-led support groups are primary resources available to the bereaved. In the United States, local hospice agencies may be an important first contact for those seeking bereavement support.
- Anticipatory grief
- Coping (psychology)
- Disenfranchised grief
- Grief counseling
- Postponement of grief
- Posttraumatic stress disorder
- Psychological trauma
- Support group