Bereavement: Studies of Grief in Adult Life
Colin Murray Parkes


Parkes is a pioneer in caring for the bereaved, balancing teaching, psychotherapy and work in the trenches that have kept him a pivotal leader in The United Kingdom and internationally.

Parkes chooses his words carefully. He provides substantive documentation to support his findings. He brings the latest in scientific research and psychological findings to the world of the bereaved and our response to them. We sense the place and play of psychological dimensions in loss, but are freed up from the sense of psychological pressures and influences to allow one's grief to speak for itself. The scientific and clinical resources assist us as we seek to listen to those in our care.

The discussion of anger and guilt is very helpful. "The expression of irritability and anger in bereavement varies from one person to another, from one family to another and from one time to another. Sometimes it is directed against others and sometimes against the bereaved themselves, as self-reproaches or guilt." (p. 80)

The mid-section of the book explores key determinants of grief. The first exploration is relationship, gender and age. The second key determinant is the mode of death, crucial for the barriers it often presents for the bereaved. The section concludes with "personality vulnerability."

The remainder of the book includes helping the bereaved, other kinds of losses and a number of helpful appendices.

This is an essential classic, albeit quite updated, that must be in every professional library.

The Rev. Dr. Richard B. Gilbert, The World Pastoral Care Center
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