Beyond the Concept of Recovery: Growth and the Experience of Loss

January 1, 2008
Journal of Death Studies

The authors challenge the use of “recovery” to describe bereavement outcomes, citing multiple reasons why this term is inadequate and limiting for the trauma survivor.

Many bereaved persons probably would be irritated or offended to have said of them that they were ‘recovering’ from their bereavement, as if they had been sick.
Dr. Tedeschi and Dr. Calhoun

Responding to D. E. Balk (2004) about the use of the term recovery to describe bereavement outcome, the authors take the view that this term is inadequate.

Among the points raised are (a) the term recovery may imply a response to a psychological disorder, whereas bereavement responses are generally normative; (b) recovery does not easily allow for transformative outcomes in bereavement, e.g., posttraumatic growth; and (c) terminology guides the thinking of bereaved persons, clinicians, and researchers in this area, and the term recovery may produce a bias toward viewing bereavement as a disordered state. More neutral terms such as change or resolution avoid some of these pitfalls.

Read the Article “Beyond the Concept of Recovery: Growth and the Experience of Loss”

About the Authors