Traumatic Grief : The Intersection of Trauma and Grief

This chapter focuses on the mental vulnerability of traumatic grief and recovery with this vulnerability, which implies a reduction in the number or intensity of symptoms or distress. Grief is characterized by an ambiguous presence-in-absence of the deceased, involving existential concerns such as isolation and meaninglessness. Existential isolation and loneliness can be simultaneously relieved and enhanced by an “as-if presence” of the deceased. Grief affects the identity of the bereaved and may involve the feeling of having lost a part of oneself with the loved one, due to the disruption of the shared physical existence.


The loss of a shared world with shared habits and customs creates an unwanted freedom that complicates reintegrating into one’s relationships and activities. The feeling that life is meaningless is enhanced as grief separates time into two strands: an alienated present and an ongoing past-with-the-loved one. Reintegration and acceptance of the reality of the loss involves incorporation or identification and representation of the loved one. “Traumatic grief ” denotes mental health problems following the loss of a loved one. Spiritual interventions for traumatic grief consist of providing information about grief, involving significant others, listening to the story of the loss and the lost person, providing space for emotions, finding meaning, and symbolic interaction.

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Geert E. Smid | 2023
97-110 | Utrecht : Eburon
Bereavement, Diagnosis, Instruments, Interventions, Loss, Mental health, Personal Narrative, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Psychological distress, Psychotrauma, PTSD (DSM-5), PTSD (ICD-11), Spirituality, Traumatic Grief, Vulnerability
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