Abstract

Loss and bereavement are inevitable parts of life. Grief and mourning are the ways we have of expressing and assimilating these experiences. Many aspects of Gestalt therapy are well suited to working through the mourning process. In this paper the tasks of mourning are defined, and the Gestalt approach is compared with traditional bereavement counseling to see where and how they can be integrated and in what ways they may be different. Illustrative examples are drawn from current and past historical periods, cross-cultural customs and rituals, and the author's experience as a social worker working with people with HIV/AIDS, the elderly, hospice patients, and their families.

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