ABSTRACT

The American psychologist Robert Neimeyer often uses the concept of giving meaning in relation to grief. He calls it reconstruction of the meaning of what is lost. Dealing with loss and change requires an active process of meaning reconstruction. There are two paths that can be followed towards meaning reconstruction: an inner path and an outer path. External meaning reconstruction means that people look outside themselves for something to give meaning to a loss. Important in external meaning reconstruction is therefore not only the extent to which someone can connect with the external system, but also the extent to which the system meets the person’s needs. Meaning reconstruction could also be seen as oscillation between the two poles of positive and negative meaning attribution that can take place during both the loss- as well as the restoration orientation. Meaning reconstruction is an active process.