1st Edition

Love and Loss The Roots of Grief and its Complications

By Colin Murray Parkes Copyright 2009
    448 Pages 26 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    448 Pages 26 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Loving and grieving are two sides of the same coin: we cannot have one without risking the other. Only by understanding the nature and pattern of loving can we begin to understand the problems of grieving. Conversely, the loss of a loved person can teach us much about the nature of love.

    Love and Loss, the result of a lifetime's work, has important implications for the study of attachment and bereavement. In this volume, Colin Murray Parkes reports his innovative research that enables us to bring together knowledge of childhood attachments and problems of bereavement, resulting in a new way of thinking about love, bereavement and other losses. Areas covered include:

    • patterns of attachment and grief
    • loss of a parent, child or spouse in adult life
    • social isolation and support.

    The book concludes by looking at disorders of attachment and considering bereavement in terms of its implications on love, loss, and change in a wider context.

    Illuminating the structure and focus of thinking about love and loss, this book sheds light on a wide range of psychological issues. It will be essential reading for professionals working with bereavement, as well as graduate students of psychology, psychiatry, and sociology.

    Introduction. Part I: Attachment and Loss. Review I: Attachment and Love. Review II: Loss and Change. The Research Project. Part II: Patterns of Attachment and Patterns of Grief. Secure and Insecure Attachments. Anxious/Ambivalent Attachments. Avoidant Attachments. Disorganised Attachments. Conclusions from Part II. Part III: Other Influences on Attachment and Loss. Separation. Trauma and Bereavement. Ch. 10. Gender. Loss of a Parent in Adult Life. Loss of a Child. Loss of a Spouse or Partner. Social Isolation and Support. Other Influences. Conclusions from Part III. Part IV: Disorders of Attachment, Other Psychiatric Problems and their Prevention and Treatment. Attachments in Non-Bereaved Psychiatric Patients. Disorders of Attachment. Therapies and Outcome. Final Conclusions.


    Colin Murray Parkes is a psychiatrist, researcher and author. He has contributed to and edited numerous books and articles on the nature of human attachments and loss. His Bereavement: Studies of Grief in Adult Life first published in 1972 and now in its third edition, remains a classic. He has been a Consultant psychiatrist at St Christopher's Hospice since 1966, and is Life President of Cruse Bereavement Care. In 1996 he was awarded an OBE for services to bereaved people.

    "Love and Loss manages to be both academic and written in prose that dances with love around its subject." - Bel Mooney, The Times

    "This book represents the application of lovely and engaging prose to the description of keen scientific observations on attachment and separation. When it comes to capturing and conveying the bond between love and loss, no one holds a firmer grip than Colin Parkes." - Holly Prigerson, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, USA

    "An essential reference for all practitioners working directly with bereavement and grief." - Colin Feltham, Therapy Today

    "Colin Murray Parkes, the doyen of bereavement research, has devoted much of his career to examining the relationship of love and grief …This volume is a milestone in the history of bereavement research and in our understanding of forms of complicated grief." - Margaret S. Stroebe, Department of Clinical Psychology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

    "Love and Loss contains insight into the nature and origin of the acute and enduring clinical complications of loss, with separation and anxiety and its permutations as central elements. It also sets an agenda for future research. Dr. Parkes’ accomplishment is creative and incomparable… My recommendation is to read it." – Selby Jacobs, Professor of Psychiatry, Yale University, USA

    "Destined to join Bereavement: Studies of Grief in Adult Life as another Parkes classic." - Ken Doka, The College of New Rochelle, USA  

    "Parkes’ impressive study provides some new perspectives on the nature of attachment as developed in childhood, its effect upon the capacity (or not) to trust both oneself and others, and the influence this has on adult relationships and responses to bereavement…Love and Loss is the impressive outcome of a dedicated empiricist and a warm humanitarian." – Linda Machin, Visiting Research Fellow, Keele University, UK