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February 22, 1971

Loss and Grief: Psychological Management in Medical Practice

JAMA. 1971;215(8):1331. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03180210075038

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It was with skepticism that I started reading this book devoted to the clinical vagaries of object loss. Is it not inherently unfeeling to speak of thanatology (the study of the biological and medical phenomena of death) or to prescribe an approach to the treatment of the dying or bereaved? But I soon realized that this volume is a very effective counterbalance to the massive dehumanization and suppression of feelings implicit in a society that speaks of death in numbers and reveres a cult of youth, as if to say that dying and loss have nothing to do with the cycle of life.

The book is divided into five main sections: Psychological Concepts Central to Loss and Grief, Loss and Grief in Childhood, Reaction to and Management of Partial Loss, The Dying Patient, and Humanistic and Biologic Concepts Regarding Loss and Grief. It is written from the viewpoints of such