The Transformative Nature of Grief and Bereavement
Joan Berzoff, M.S.W., Ed.D.

Death, loss and bereavement always change the mourner, for better or for worse. This lecture will examine some of the most valuable psychodynamic theories which best illuminate our understanding of how experiences of loss, dying and bereavement change the person who is grieving in often unexpected and positive ways. Looking at Freud, Loewald, and Klein, we will examine ways in which mourners may experience complicated grief. We will then examine more contemporary constructivist theorists as we learn about how grief can be transformative, changing the mourner's ego and ego ideals, sense of meaning, identity and purpose. We will use clinical examples, films, examples from everyday life and a narrative to consider the ways in which mourners come to initiate change: both intrapsychically and socially, leading to new outcomes. The clinical implications of this work will also be discussed.