Home » Nonfiction » Walter, Carolyn Ambler, PhD, PhDLCSW » Grief and Loss Across the Lifespan: A Biopsychosocial Perspective

September 14 , 2010

Grief and Loss Across the Lifespan: A Biopsychosocial Perspective


"[Grief and Loss Across the Lifespan] represents a significant advance because it looks at the issues from a bio-psychosocial perspective. To a social worker who has worked mainly in a medical and nursing environment, this is a great step forward."

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– Bereavement Care

"[Offers] valued sensitivities, knowledge, and insights, and most importantly, age-appropriate interventions for a range of significant losses....Counselors will want to keep this indispensable work close at hand."

-Kenneth J. Doka, PhD
Author, Counseling Individuals With Life-Threatening Illness

"By taking a lifespan view, this book fills a gap in the literature on loss and grief and takes theory and practice in new and invigorating directions. It will be welcomed by those professionals of all disciplines who daily listen to and help re-write narratives of loss."

-Jeffrey S. Applegate, PhD
Professor Emeritus
Graduate School of Social Work & Social Research
Bryn Mawr College

"[A] thorough, thoughtful, sensitive, and up-to-date contribution that may be the best book available today for teaching bereavement, grief, and mourningÖ.[H]ighly recommended for experienced grief professionals as well as for students."

-Jeffrey Kauffman, MA, MS, LCSW, BD, CT, CAS, BCETS
Psychotherapist in private practice, Philadelphia, PA

"Walter and McCoyd have written a well-organized and comprehensive examination of grief and bereavement that will be useful to the seasoned professional as well as the student new to grief and loss. The historical analysis of grief theory from classic to postmodern is interesting reading and essential for a full understanding of grief and loss in modern society. "

Paige E. Payne, MS, MSW, LSW
Support Services Manager
PinnacleHealth Home Care and Hospice
Harrisburg, PA

Grief and Loss Across the Lifespan is unique in its treatment of grieving patterns and intervention strategies for different age groups. With this book, students and practitioners will learn how grief is influenced by biological responses to stress, psychological responses to loss, as well as social norms and support networks.

The authors utilize a developmental framework, as each level of development from infancy through old age is addressed in four ways:

  • Reviews normal developmental issues, abilities, and challenges for the age in question
  • Analyzes how individuals of each age cope with serious loss of a significant other, and how they may experience life-threatening illness themselves
  • Examines how significant others react to and mourn the death of someone in that age range
  • Identifies the normative losses a person is likely to experience, and addresses protective and risky ways of coping with those losses

The authors review important grief theories, such as postmodern and Dual Process Theory, and discuss current topics in grief, including continuing bonds, meaning making, ambiguous loss, and disenfranchised loss. With the help of this book, practitioners and students of grief counseling can learn to help patients of all ages understand that loss is at the heart of life and growth.

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