Abstract

Since the traumatic events of September 11, 2001, the concept of closure in dealing with grief and loss has received increased attention. In this article, we challenge the popular belief that a lack of completion forms the core of neurosis resulting in a decreased ability to live a lively present-centered life. We begin by reviewing prevalent, traditional, linear models and approaches to human suffering and grief. We then provide reasons for doubting the utility of linear models that are related to constructs of closure, describe emerging non-linear paradigms for grief and loss, and emphasize the evolving Gestalt perspective. Finally, we discuss benefits of non-closure and end with a vignette illustrating our belief that closure does not occur for significant loss and that there are advantages of non-closure during a lifetime.

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