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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Mourning the loss of self : a universal change process and class of therapeutic event Brooks, Dale Theodore


This study asserts that loss has been primarily focused on in terms of a set of reactions whose goals and content tend to be externally orientated. The thesis presented here states that the consideration of reaction to loss is incomplete without a detailed understanding of how the phenomenological self, on the intrapsychic level, is effected by loss. Consequently, this study takes a comprehensive look at how loss can effect this level of the phenomenological self, as well as the types of losses it can experience. An attempt is made to demonstrate that these losses to the phenomenological self can be identified and defined as a generic set of experiences, or, class of psychological events, which when taken together, this study considers as the loss of self. Given this class of psychological events, it is further claimed that mourning the loss of self, in different forms, is a universal change process. When dealt with in therapy this change process of mourning the loss of self is considered as a class of therapeutic event. An extensive literature review examines the basis for these claims, and provides the foundations for the presentation of a clinical model for mourning the loss of self. In this model, self, types of loss of self, and the process of mourning the loss of self, as relevant to this study, are defined. Utilization of this model for therapeutic purposes is demonstrated in case studies, and implications for research, as well as areas of application, are suggested.

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