chapter  18
14 Pages

Grief and Loss

The psychotherapist Irvin Yalom wrote ‘Grief is the interest owed on the debt of attachment.’1 Loss is a fundamental part of human experience and is encountered in all phases of the life cycle. The intrapsychic processes that mediate an individual’s progress through grief and loss have been mapped by many authors, all sharing a view that the human being who suffers loss endures intense, and sometimes extreme anxiety, despair, and detachment. Individuals who are able to adapt to the loss in a productive way ultimately move on to initiate new relationships which provide meaningful social support, though they never truly ‘replace’ the lost person.