The War on Grief

I thought this article from the Huffington Post might be of interest. Robert D. Stolorow Phd is a psychoanalyst and writer and a Founding Faculty Member of the Institute of Contemporary Psychanalysis in Los Angeles.

We can all feel that we have emotions that we shouldn’t- that there is something wrong with us if we feel overwhelmed. The loss of loved ones can often leave us with overwhelming feelings of anguish and grief and Stolorow points out how easily these feelings can move towards depression and this can be confirmed by a prescription of anti-depressants from the G.P.

Stolorow describes the way this diagnosis of depression can be seen differently; that grief can be given ‘a context of emotional understanding’ and what he describes as ‘a relational home.’

Here is the article:

“Pain is not pathology,” I wrote in my book, Trauma and Human Existence (Routledge, 2007, p. 10.) The traumatizing impact of human finitude, as disclosed in the loss of a loved one, is not an illness from which one can or should recover. The enormity and everlastingness of the grief following such a loss are not manifestations of psychopathology; they are a measure of the depth of love for the lost beloved. Traumatic states of sadness and grief can devolve into clinical depression when they fail to find a context of emotional understanding — what I call a relational home — in which they can be held, borne, and integrated. In a psychiatric climate that pathologizes grief and that advocates treatments aiming at emotional riddance, such a relational home for emotional pain is becoming ever more difficult to find. Such a circumstance is actually likely to increase the incidence of clinical depression.

Robert D. Stolorow The War on Grief

Posted: 08/28/2014 6:00 pm EDT Updated: 10/28/2014 5:59 am EDT

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