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Continuing Bonds

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In a bereaved parents’ meeting, I recently spoke about the desire many parents have to continue the emotional bond with their children who have died. The signs of relief were audible. “I am tired of the pressure to ‘get over’ the death of my daughter,” one mother said. “I will love her and feel connected to her for the rest of my life.”

About 20 years ago a group of researchers and clinicians challenged the idea that came from the previous decades of psychological models that proposed grief as a series of stages or tasks to be worked through to resolution and closure. They summarized their research in a book titled Continuing Bonds: New Understanding of Grief.

Researchers Dennis Klass, Phyllis R. Silverman, and Steven Nickman studied the diaries of the bereaved in the 19th century in this country and grief rituals throughout history in other cultures. They also interviewed currently bereaved parents in support groups in the U.S. They found a pervasive and deep longing for connection to the one who died and resistance to ending their emotional attachment to the deceased.

The intensity of loss may change over time but the relationship with the one who died does not end. As these researchers concluded, experiencing an ongoing emotional connection with the deceased is more consistent with how humankind has mourned in the thousands of years before the last century, when psychology defined grief as a condition to be worked through.

CLICK HERE to purchase a copy of my book “Getting Grief Right.”


Getting Grief Right

by Dr. Patrick O'Malley

A masterpiece that will touch your heart and soul with healing powers. • A compassionate, wise, and practical guide • A must read for anyone who is grieving the loss of a loved one.


Grief Therapist

Dr. Patrick O’Malley is a psychotherapist in Fort Worth, Texas, who specializes in grief counseling. For 40 years, he has counseled individuals, couples and families
in his private practice.


Getting Grief Right

by Dr. Patrick O'Malley

By the time Mary came to see me, six months after losing her daughter to sudden infant death syndrome, she had hired and fired two other therapists. She was trying to get her grief right...

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