Attachment-Informed Grief Therapy : The Clinician’s Guide to Foundations and Applications book cover
1st Edition

Attachment-Informed Grief Therapy
The Clinician’s Guide to Foundations and Applications

ISBN 9780415857215
Published March 24, 2016 by Routledge
226 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Attachment-Informed Grief Therapy bridges the fields of attachment studies and thanatology, uniting theory, research, and practice to enrich our understanding of how and why people grieve and how we can help the bereaved. In its pages, clinicians and students will gain a new understanding of the etiology of complicated grief and its treatment and will become better equipped to formulate accurate and specific case conceptualization and treatment plans. The authors also illustrate the ways in which the therapeutic relationship is a crucially important—though largely unrecognized—element in grief therapy, and offer guidelines for an attachment informed view of the therapeutic relationship that can serve as the foundation of all grief therapy.

Table of Contents

Series Editor’s Foreword  Acknowledgements  Introduction  Part I: An Introduction to Attachment Theory and Research  1. Foundational Concepts in Attachment Theory  2. Building on the Foundation: The Second Wave of Attachment Theory and Research  3. Attachment Theory in the Decade of the Brain  Part II: Bereavement Through the Lens of Attachment: Advances in Research, Theory and Practice  4. Insecure Attachment and Problematic Grief: Contemporary Models and Their Implications for Practice  5. The Impact of the Relationship with the Deceased  6. Trauma and the Mode of Death  Part III: Clinical Implications: Towards Attachment-Informed Grief Therapy  7. A Model of Attachment-Informed Grief Therapy  8. The Therapeutic Relationship: Core Capacities of the Attachment-Informed Grief Therapist   9. Strengthening Self-Capacities 10. Meaning-Making in Adaptation to Loss  11.Conclusions  References

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Phyllis Kosminsky is a clinical social worker specializing in work with the bereaved, particularly those who have experienced a traumatic loss. Over the past 20 years Dr. Kosminsky has provided individual counseling to hundreds of bereaved individuals and has conducted trainings for mental health professionals nationally and internationally in the treatment of normal and problematic grief. Her publications include journal articles, book chapters, and the book Getting Back to Life When Grief Won't Heal.

John (Jack) Jordan is a psychologist in private practice in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, where he has worked with survivors of traumatic losses for almost 40 years. He is the consultant for the grief Support Services of Samaritans in Boston, and the professional advisor to the Loss and Bereavement Council of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Jack provides training in the U.S. and internationally, and he has published over 45 articles, chapters, and full books, including Grief After Suicide: Coping with the Consequences and Caring for the Survivors.


"Finally! In an extraordinary blend of scholarship and clinical acumen, the rich store of information located in attachment theory/research has been retrieved and integrated with what the bereaved specifically require in the aftermath of significant loss. Synthesizing developmental psychology, traumatology, thanatology, neuroscience, and therapy research, Kosminsky and Jordan brilliantly elucidate the mourner’s experience and needs, along the way operationalizing what clinicians must know to intervene successfully to promote healthy adaptation. Practical and cutting edge, this book makes a revolutionary contribution and will become required reading for those working with loss of all kinds."

Therese A. Rando, PhD, BCETS, BCBT, founder and clinical director, The Institute for the Study and Treatment of Loss, Warwick, Rhode Island, and author of Coping With the Sudden Death of Your Loved One: A Self-Help Handbook for Traumatic Bereavement

"Reading this book at one sitting, as I did, left me moved. It starts with a crystal clear exposition of contemporary attachment theory and its neuroscience basis; defines an easy-to-understand attachment framework for helping bereaved people, and shows how sensitive therapy can help overcome physiological dysregulation and restore meaning. Convincing clinical illustrations are used throughout, contributing to an overall sense of two vastly experienced clinicians passing on deep theoretical and practical expertise to the next generation. Strongly recommended."

Jeremy Holmes, MD, FRCPsych, University of Exeter, United Kingdom, and author of Exploring in Security: Towards an Attachment-Informed Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

"Attachment-Informed Grief Therapy is a must for grief counselors. Phyllis Kosminsky and Jack Jordan provide a strong approach to theory that integrates both current research and clinical practice into an outstanding and practical guide. This is a book that every therapist should have in his or her library and one they will consult regularly."

Kenneth J. Doka, PhD, professor in the graduate school, College of New Rochelle, and senior consultant with the Hospice Foundation of America

"This is a connected and caring book—a perfect combination when writing about the tender subjects of attachment, loss, and grief. The authors reach out from the pages to connect with readers who are practicing clinicians, students, trainees, or bereaved loved ones with the perfect mix of theory, research, neuroscience, psychotherapy, and lived experience."

Judith Kay Nelson, PhD, dean emerita at the Sanville Institute for Clinical Social Work and Psychotherapy in Berkeley, California, and author of Seeing Through Tears: Crying and Attachment

"This book, by two thoughtful and creative clinicians, will educate, engage, and enrich the work of therapists and those working with the bereaved. It is both scholarly and user friendly. Key concepts in attachment, neuroscience, emotion regulation, and trauma are explained in ways that make clinical sense. A rich selection of case material illustrate practical procedures, their rationale, and clinical outcomes. The bottom line for clinicians: this book is highly relevant to your work."

Simon Shimshon Rubin, PhD, director of the International Center for the Study of Loss, Bereavement, and Human Resilience at the University of Haifa in Israel

"This book is a gold mine of information that will serve the needs of new and seasoned therapists as well as students. It helps us see our clients through the lens of attachment theory and neurobiology, which adds new and powerful dimensions to our work. The real-life examples bring information to life and allow the reader to be transported into the therapeutic setting to see how grieving clients will respond."

Jane Vair Bissler, PhD, LPCC-S, FT, clinical director and clinical counselor at Counseling for Wellness and Kelly's Grief Center in Kent, Ohio

"This thoughtful and clearly written volume provides a thorough description and review of attachment theory, including its roots in neurobiology. This review is well-integrated into the authors’ conceptualization of grief, based in theory and their extensive clinical expertise. The text is richly illustrated with extended clinical examples that will help therapists implement their approach, making the book a must-read for clinicians who want to integrate a deep understanding of attachment into their work with bereaved clients."

Laurie Anne Pearlman, PhD, coauthor of Treating Traumatic Bereavement: A Practitioner’s Guide

"An excellent discussion of attachment, one of the major mediators of the mourning process. Well written with many clinical examples of how an understanding of attachment theory and its relationship to brain development can assist the clinician in facilitating a person’s adaptation to the loss of a loved one."

J. William Worden, PhD, ABPP, clinical psychologist and author of Grief Counseling & Grief Therapy: A Handbook for the Mental Health Practitioner

"No self-respecting and ethically conscientious grief professional would set about the work of counseling a dying or bereaved person without paying attention to that individual’s attachment history, both from developmental years and adult life, for how it shapes and determines the loss experience. Kosminsky and Jordan’s impressive volume equips clinicians to make that appraisal accurately, understand it thoroughly, and use it effectively in grief therapy."Louis A. Gamino, PhD, ABPP, FT, professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at Texas A&M University Health Science Center College of Medicine

This is an exceptional text! Written by two highly skilled clinicians it presents the state of the art in attachment theory and bereavement in both a highly engaging and practical form. This book effectively bridges both research and practice and attachment and thanatology in a way that no others texts have previously done. Richly illustrated with clinical examples this impressive book will enrich the understanding and skills of both beginning and experienced clinician.

Christopher Hall, MA, BEd, chief executive officer of the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement