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Embodied grief: bereaved parents’ narratives of their suffering body

Publication year
2009
Author(s)
Gudmundsdottir, M.
Pages
253-69
Volume
59
Number
3

Experiences and symptoms emanating from the bereaved person’s body are commonly considered to be psychosomatic reactions to loss. The lingering of such experiences is thought to reflect a maladaptive coping style that needs to be addressed to access the psychological pain underlying the symptoms. In this interpretive, phenomenological study of 15 family members in seven families who lost a child to sudden, unexpected death, stories of embodied grief are explored to further understand the grieving body. The findings of this study illuminate the many ways parents experience their grieving body and they underscore the importance of witnessing and acknowledging stories of the body in clinical work with bereaved parents who are learning to live in a world without their beloved child.

Research abstracts