Culturally Sensitive Approaches to Finding Meaning in Traumatic Bereavement

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Abstract

Mourning behaviors and ways of dealing with bereavement comprise important aspects of an individual’s cultural identity and profoundly affect the way the bereaved survivor finds meaning following traumatic loss. Finding meaning encompasses the bereaved individual’s evaluation of the loss of the loved person and its implications for the future-a cognitive, emotional and spiritual process aimed at strengthening the individual’s ability to live with the loss within his or her cultural context. The aim of the this chapter is to describe culturally sensitive approaches to finding meaning following traumatic bereavement. It illustrates how different modes of symbolic interaction with the deceased person may aid in finding meaning in a culturally sensitive way. In culturally diverse patients with symptoms of PTSD and PCBD/PGD following traumatic bereavement, exposure-based treatments may therefore be complemented with interventions aimed at finding meaning that include various modes of symbolic interaction with the deceased person.

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Smid, G. E., & Boelen, P. A. (2021). Culturally Sensitive Approaches to Finding Meaning in Traumatic Bereavement. In New Techniques of Grief Therapy: Bereavement and Beyond (pp. 46–54). Taylor and Francis. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781351069120-4

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