Posttraumatic Growth and Continuing Bonds

January 1, 2017
Continuing Bonds in Bereavement: New Directions for Research and Practice

Bereavement prompts changes in perspective and challenges individuals to develop personally. By combining PTG and continuing bonds, the distress of bereavement can be reduced, and individuals can find ways to honor their loved ones through acts of service. This chapter explores the relationship between continuing bonds and the process of posttraumatic growth (PTG) in bereaved persons.

At the heart of PTG is the paradox that one may experience gains even amidst the deepest of losses.
from Posttraumatic Growth and Continuing Bonds

In a systematic review of PTG and bereavement, C. Michael and M. Cooper found that one of the key themes to emerge was positive personal growth as evidenced by a greater sense of personal strength. Through deliberate rumination that involves dialectical thinking and acceptance of paradox, bereaved persons assimilate the experience of loss into their lives, and their narrative of their lives.

In addition, religion and spirituality can serve as a framework for promoting growth through a deepening of faith and conviction, which can then result in spiritual change that leads to an increased sense of meaning and purpose. Facilitating PTG is a delicate process when working with many bereaved persons, especially those who have experienced losses that are traumatic or seem “unnatural”.

Read the Chapter “Posttraumatic Growth and Continuing Bonds”

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