Anomalous experiences and the bereavement process

Callum E Cooper, Chris A Roe, Graham Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapterpeer-review


Bereavement can be described as a universally experienced set of negative emotional stages following the loss of an object we hold dear. This typically involves the loss of people through physical separation or biological death, but can occur in a variety of circumstances, including separation from childhood toys or the loss of a limb through accident and amputation. To be able to experience such a personal loss we must first have formed an attachment to something, or typically someone. A psychological attachment is “the strong, affectionate tie we have with special people in our lives that leads us to feel pleasure when we interact with them and to be comforted by their nearness during times of stress”. Bowlby presented a general theory of attachment between people, particularly with regard to understanding attachments between child and caregiver. He considered terminations of attachment through death, and observed that people commonly experience emotional shock, and then physiological stress and anxiety from such loss (termed separation anxiety). However, over time the bereaved will come to accept the loss, readjust to the situation, and form new attachments.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDeath, Dying, and Mysticism
Subtitle of host publicationThe Ecstasy of the End
EditorsThomas Cattoi, Christopher M Moreman, G. C Harcourt
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherPalgrave Macmilan
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781137472083
ISBN (Print)9781137472076, 9781349501106
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

Publication series

NameInterdisciplinary approaches to the study of mysticism


  • Anomalous experiences
  • Bereavement
  • Bereavement process


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