Academic journal article American Journal of Psychotherapy

The Phoenix Phenomenon: Rising from the Ashes of Grief

Academic journal article American Journal of Psychotherapy

The Phoenix Phenomenon: Rising from the Ashes of Grief

Article excerpt

JOANNE T. JOZEFOWSKI: The Phoenix Phenomenon: Rising from the Ashes of Grief. Jason Aronson, Inc., Northvale, NJ, 1999, 246 pp., $40.00, ISBN: 0-7657-- 0209-6.

Dr. Jozefowski is an experienced (R.N., Ph.D.) psychotherapist who is a diplomate of the International Academy of Behavior Medicine, Counseling, and Psychotherapy. In addition to her clinical practice, she is also an accomplished artist, who has exhibited her works nationally. Both aspects of the author's life, the professional and the artistic, are present in The Phoenix Phenomenon. It is very abstract on the one hand, and very down-to-earth on the other. It covers most possible facets of grief with an integration of a five-stage developmental model imbedded within Maslow's hierarchy of needs: impact, chaos, adaptation, equilibrium, and transformation.

One or two chapters are devoted to explain and expand on each stage of experiencing loss, for both grievers and therapists. Impact includes a great many, sometimes new feelings, like anxiety and fear, powerlessness, guilt, anger, depression, and alienation. These feelings are paralleled or followed by shock, denial, holding on, attempts at creating meaning, and grief work. Chaos is concerned with physiological changes, such as sleep, appetite, and sex that take place after a loss, including physical and mental illness. Adaptation consists of lessons and opportunities derived from the loss, including abandoning old behavior patterns according to a domino effect, despair and reality checks, decision points, planning and implementing new courses of action sometimes not available in the past. Equilibrium consists of rehearsing new behaviors, like dating, for instance, integrating new behaviors with old ones, taking risks, changing belief systems, using forgiveness of self and lost one(s), using creative atonement, and entering into a new spirituality. Transformation actually means self-actualization in Maslow's model, including enlarged awareness, an emergence of new feelings, increased compassion, creating new meanings in one's life, adding purpose and altruism to the inevitable selfabsorption of the griever.

Vignettes presented throughout the book constitute the bulk of the book. …

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