As It Is or As I Am – the Art of Becoming

A journey … towards … being

"Love and Loss" – chapter 2

Yesterday, completed, or rather continued, what I was finding hard going. Returned to Colin Murray Parkes: Love and Loss. Today everything seemed to flow. The 2nd chapter talked about attachment theory, then moved to psycho-social transition theory, asking whether the two can be integrated in relation to loss. Page 34: “If attachment theory explains the urge to cry and to search for someone who is lost and psycho-social transition theory explains the need to rethink and replan one’s life in the face of a major change, how are these two alternatives worked out in the moment-to-moment life of bereaved people?” Parkes answers his own question postulating the need for both emotional and cognitive needs to be worked through. Due to the uniqueness of people, some may have greater emotional work to go through, while others more cognitive work.

This is where questions arise if any one particular counselling theory claimed to have all the answers. On page 35, in talking of the need for expression of grief, Parkes states: “Some psychotherapists and counsellors still see this as their primary aim,” ending that sentence with what would no doubt be questioned by those advocating a strict person-centred approach: “although the proportion of people who benefit from this approach is not large.” He then promises to return to this and other therapies in chapter 18. I eagerly await that chapter.

In promising what to expect in chapter 34, the concluding sentence of the chapter is provocative: “We shall see how love in its various forms can enrich or impoverish, strengthen or undermine, cure or even kill us.”

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