Time of Change? The Spiritual Challenges of Bereavement and Loss

August 1, 2006
Omega: Journal of Death and Dying

Coping with grief can include, in part, trying either to assimilate the loss into the existing worldview and its spiritual and religious components, or changing those components in congruence with the new reality. This spiritual or religious challenge can lead to loss of faith and a loss of spiritual meaning, but it can also provide a struggle that eventually leads to growth in the religious and spiritual domains. In a similar way, the bereaved person’s experiences with their proximate culture and social world, particularly if their social systems include a religious community or shared spiritual beliefs with others, can lead to negative changes, but there is the possibility for growth in the social domain as well. Clinicians who work with bereaved persons need to be aware of the possibility that such themes may be important to their clients, and some suggestions are made to assist clinicians in this kind of work.

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