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Durham e-Theses
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An exploration of the experience of loss and its relationship to counselling practice

Hunt, Kathryn Frances (2004) An exploration of the experience of loss and its relationship to counselling practice. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Abstract

The research approach was qualitative, heuristic (Moustakas, 1990) and ethnographic. I emphasised personal and subjective knowledge as essential components of objectivity (Bridgman, 1950). The interview sample was thought to be experienced in loss. Ethnography was chosen as an approach because it bore a close resemblance to the routine ways in which people make sense of their everyday lives. (Hammersley & Atkinson, 1995)The main question was: What do people do when they experience loss? The results challenge prevailing medical theories in that we notice that grief can be life long and not necessarily pathological. Grief is idiosyncratic in nature. Books about the theory of grief speak to us although we are aware of them as simplistic and yet not simple enough to hold our experience. We search for models of loss in an attempt to plot ourselves in the process. We may feel wise and realise that all along we have held the key to our own difficulties in the process of loss. The agency and wisdom of the mourner is not acknowledged in medical models of grief. By interacting in the world we work at grief, when watching TV, reading a novel, involved in a love affair, friendship, putting a photograph in a frame or wallet, listening to music, talking, having sex, walking, being silent, accepting a caress, visiting a place.... The list is endless. All activity provides opportunity and location for grief work. The definition of grief work could be broader. The findings suggest that each of us has a functional grieving self, which is permanent, contains a cumulative store of pain and is ready when needed. It is located in a timeless dimension of the constantly changing, fluid self, a self that is not just intrapersonal but also located in the interpersonal, physical, spiritual and cultural domain.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:2004
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 Sep 2011 10:00

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