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date: 18 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In later life the inevitability of losses, and particularly loss through death, becomes apparent. Grief following loss contains universal and normal reactions aimed at reorganizing the inner relationship with the deceased and integrating it with one’s life. Although grief is an individual process, it occurs within a socioreligious-cultural context. Despite difficulties, the majority of the older bereaved appear to be resilient, and after a period of acute distress they gradually reorganize their life adaptively and satisfactorily. However, as they age and face accumulated losses, particularly of significant others, some older bereaved people are likely to develop symptoms of depression and anxiety, and suffer from complicated grief. In this chapter a cognitive perspective to complicated grief will be elaborated, one that views it as a form of dysfunctional-irrational evaluation of the loss event that persists over time and increases emotional disturbance. Therapeutic interventions are directed at facilitating adaptive-normative processes to grief as well as the older bereaved person’s well-being.

Keywords: bereavement, grief, grief in old age, complicated grief, ambiguous loss, well-being, cognitive grief therapy, CBT-REBT-based intervention

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