Facts & Fictions in Mental Health: Grief without Tears; November/December 2011; Scientific American Mind; by Scott O. Lilienfeld; Hal Arkowitz; 2 Page(s)
Virtually all of us experience the loss of a loved one at some point in our life. So it is surprising that the serious study of grief is not much more than 30 years old. Yet in that time, we have made significant discoveries that have deepened our understanding of this phenomenon—and challenged widely held assumptions.
In this column, we confront two common misconceptions about grief. The first is that the bereaved inevitably experience intense symptoms of distress and depression. The second is that unless those who have experienced the death of a loved one “work through” their feelings about the loss, they will surely experience delayed grief reactions, in which strong emotions may be triggered by events unrelated to the loss, even long after it occurred. As we will show, neither belief holds up well to scientific scrutiny.