The Restorative Nature of Ongoing Connections with the Deceased : Exploring Presence Within Absence book cover
1st Edition

The Restorative Nature of Ongoing Connections with the Deceased
Exploring Presence Within Absence

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after April 1, 2022
ISBN 9780367554835
April 1, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
248 Pages

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Book Description

The Restorative Nature of Ongoing Connections with the Deceased is a guide to stimulating thought and discussion about ongoing attachments between bereaved individuals and their deceased loved ones.

Chapters promote broad, inclusive training and dialogue for working with clients who establish and/or maintain a restorative connection with their deceased loved one as well as those who find aspects of such connections to be psychologically or spiritually problematic or troublesome.

Bereavement professionals will come away from this book with a better understanding and a deeper skillset for helping clients to develop continuing bonds.

Table of Contents


Edward (Ted) Rynearson, MD, and Laurie A. Burke, PhD

Section 1—Faith Tradition Perspectives

1. Faith Traditions: A Historical and Contemporary Framework

The Reverend Donald M. Mackenzie, PhD

2. Buddhist and Attachment Perspectives on the End of Life

John Ruark, MD

3. A Shamanic Experience of Restoration: Journeying, Ritual, and Ceremony

Jeffery Black, MD

4. A Christian Way of Making Sense of Life and Death

The Reverend Donald M. Mackenzie, PhD

5. Forming Paths of Continuing Connection from a Jewish Perspective

Rabbi Ted Falcon, PhD

6. Connecting through the Heart with the Deceased: A Muslim View

Imam Jamal Rahman

7. Eternal Bond with the Deceased: A Hindu Perspective

Neena Verma, PhD, PCC

Section 2—Clinical Implications

8. Restorative Internalization

Edward (Ted) Rynearson, MD

9. From Retelling to Reintegration: Narrative Fixation and the Reconstruction of Meaning

Robert A. Neimeyer, PhD, and Edward (Ted) Rynearson

10. Grieving in the Wind Telephone Booth

Craig Van Dyke, MD

11. Limitations of Traumatic Grief Therapy: The Palliative Embrace of a Homicidal Dying

Edward (Ted) Rynearson, MD, and John E. Ruark, MD

Section 3—Research Considerations

12. Sensory and Quasi-Sensory Experiences of the Deceased (SED) in Bereavement: An Overview of the Literature

Edith Maria Steffen, PsychD, and Karina S. Kamp, PhD

13. Internet Resources for the Bereaved: Facebook’s Influence on the Grieving Process

Camille B. Wortman, PhD

14. Complicated Spiritual Grief: Wrestling with Faith in the Wake of Loss

Laurie A. Burke, PhD

15. Psychic Mediums for the Bereaved: Exploring Their Procedures and Contemplating the Use of Their Services

Camille B. Wortman, PhD

Section 4—Existential Experiences:

16. Restorative Connection with the Deceased: A Panel Interview with Grievers

Laurie A. Burke, PhD

17. To Seek or Not Seek Contact with the Deceased Through a Medium: A Panel Interview with Grievers

Laurie A. Burke, PhD

Presence Within Absence: Summary Discussion

Laurie A. Burke, PhD

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Laurie A. Burke, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in traumatic loss, complicated grief, and spiritual crisis following loss. She developed the Inventory of Complicated Spiritual Grief 2.0.

Edward (Ted) Rynearson, MD, is a clinical psychiatrist and researcher in Seattle, Washington, and author of two books, Retelling Violent Death and Violent Death: Resilience and Intervention Beyond the Crisis.


"Connecting to the presence within absence of the deceased can be the saving grace for the bereaved, and yet a comprehensive text on this critical topic has been lacking. Brimming with theoretical and clinical wisdom, this book offers a unique and powerful combination of sociocultural, religious, and intrapsychic perspectives to broaden our understanding of the value of connecting to the presence of the deceased and how it may be therapeutically cultivated to console grievers." — Wendy Lichtenthal, PhD, assistant attending psychologist and director of the Bereavement Clinic at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center

"This book is destined to become a landmark contribution to the field of thanatology. Human beings have always found ways to stay connected to their deceased loved ones—what Burke and Rynearson term ‘presence within absence,’ and what others have called maintaining continuing bonds and after-death communications. The Restorative Nature of Ongoing Connections with the Deceased: Exploring Presence within Absence offers us a contemporary view of this enduring human phenomenon. It covers perspectives from all the major world religions, and it provides in-depth discussions of the clinical and research implications of the presence-within-absence phenomenon. I believe that this volume is on the cutting-edge of an important future direction in thanatology. As such, it ought to be read by anyone interested in role of the presence-within-absence experience in the healing process of grief recovery." — John R. Jordan, PhD, clinical psychologist in private practice in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and coauthor of Attachment-Informed Grief Therapy: The Clinician's Guide to Foundations and Applications