Sibling bereavement and continuing bonds.

Pacific Graduate School of Psychology, Palo Alto, California, USA.
Death Studies (Impact Factor: 0.92). 12/2006; 30(9):817-41. DOI: 10.1080/07481180600886603
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Historically, from a Freudian and medical model perspective, emotional disengagement from the deceased was seen as essential to the successful adaptation of bereavement. A major shift in the bereavement literature has occurred and it is now generally accepted that despite the permanence of physical separation, the bereaved remains involved and connected to the deceased and can be emotionally sustained through continuing bonds. The majority of literature has focused on adults and on the nature of continuing bonds following the death of a spouse. In this article, the authors demonstrate how the continuing bonds concept applies to the sibling relationship. We describe the unique continued relationship formed by bereaved children and adolescents following a sibling loss, highlight the factors that influence the siblings continuing bonds expressions, and offer clinical interventions. In our view, mental health professionals can play an important role in helping parents encourage activities that may facilitate the creation and maintenance of continuing bonds in their children.

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