Healing Pain: Attachment, Loss, and Grief Therapy

Healing Pain: Attachment, Loss, and Grief Therapy

Healing Pain: Attachment, Loss, and Grief Therapy

Healing Pain: Attachment, Loss, and Grief Therapy


Feelings of loss, resulting in grief, are triggered by many situations besides the death of a loved one. Healing Pain investigates why the process of grief can be such a dramatic turning-point, and why people who undergo it are never the same as they were before. A bestseller in Scandinavia, it describes the treatment methods developed by the authors to help people find the healing power inherent in health grief and gives detailed and practical advice on how to work with normal and pathological grief in individual or group settings.


Why do some people emerge from grief strengthened? Why do others become strained, depressed, anxiety-ridden, or develop psychosomatic symptoms? Why is someone who is affected by grief never the same again? What kind of forces make the grief a turning-point so dramatic that our life becomes either a freer or a more restricted one?

These questions have exercised us in the ten years we have been working with people in grief and crisis. We have been able to help many on their way, and time after time they have found healing forces in their grief that have surprised both them and us. For others, the grief became the beginning of a life as patients and clients of the social and health sectors. This book deals with these questions.

In our grief and crisis project, we have had people referred to us who needed help in connection with overwhelming acute crises and periods of grief; others needed help to release the emotions of grief after losses in the recent or more remote past. Personal development has been most obvious when the clients succeeded in unravelling their symptoms from an avoided grief reaction, but even people who came to us with more recent losses—a spouse who had deserted them, a mother who was dead, a child who had been killed on the road—have been able, through the grief, to throw off old neurosis-like behaviour patterns, thus achieving greater freedom and more strength for living.

In the last nineteen years both of us have been engaged in psychotherapy individually as well as in groups. So we had a good deal of knowledge and experience of people in need and of the therapeutic processes which can relieve mental symptoms, before we began to concentrate our efforts upon grief.

However, while working on losses, traumas and the emotions of grief, we have discovered therapeutic possibilities that we had over-looked before through not focusing sufficiently on the turning-point that grief work is. These possibilities, too, are dealt with in this book.

We are both very much practitioners. The main aim of our work has

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