In our Autumn 1992 issue we had as our theme, Therapy and Loss. We make no excuse for returning to it, under the slightly different guise of Grief and Mourning in Therapy, nor indeed is this likely to be the last word on the subject. Therapists are witnesses to the pain of mourning in our clients perhaps more often than to any other feeling. Mourning for a lost childhood, for infertility, for a child given for adoption, for an abortion, for a lost job. Some of these issues are addressed here and may rouse serious questions about our attitudes and responses to such crises. In our article on Abortion Counselling, for example, the author questions the assumption that grief and loss are inescapable consequences of abortion, even where it has been a positive choice, and points to the need for counsellors and therapists to see abortion as an unplanned event in the whole life of the person rather than as an aberration for which suffering and atonement are required. With the likely introduction of divorce into the Republic in the near future, the resulting loss for partners and children will require serious consideration.
It seemed a timely moment to look again at the work of John Bowlby and we have included a major assessment of Volumes 2 & 3 of Attachment and Loss. In this our reviewer comments on how valuable research could be as a follow-on to some of Bowlby’s insights, for example, on the differences between boys and girls/men and women in the implications of mourning. He laid much emphasis on the importance of the social aspects of mourning and how the support of such rituals is rarely available to children who suffer bereavement. This ties in well with our article on Wakes – examining the history of this ancient collective ritual and looking at the outpouring of emotion and energy designed to support the spirit of the dead person and to emphasise to the relatives how valued he or she was to the community. How different our attitude to mourning is today where the process goes largely unrecognised and little opportunity or support is given within the community for real expression of pain and suffering.
Our Winter issue will be on the theme of Therapy and Religion and will also include our Training Update. Please send us details of your training courses. If you would like to write an article for us or to review a book or a workshop which you found useful, we would be pleased to consider your material for publication. We also welcome feedback on any of our issues. Thank you for your continued support.