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How Sigmund Freud Understood the Concept of MourningKIRIMBA NYAMBUrejected

How Sigmund Freud Understood the Concept of Mourning
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How Sigmund Freud Understood the Concept of Mourning
The subject of mourning remains widely debated among psychoanalysts. Lois Tonkin and
William Worden have contributed to the literature, but Sigmund Freud’s discussion is arguably
the best. In 1917, Freud elicited controversy after publishing the essay, “Mourning and
Melancholia.” The publication aimed at distinguishing the two responses that human beings
experience after losing a loved one. The writer believed that one set of reaction was reasonable,
while the other caused significant health issues. Some scholars opposed the work and dismissed
it as inconclusive. However, most people have since embraced the findings. Freud understood
that mourning involves emotional struggles that occur as a result of a grieved person’s inability
to cope with loss, although recovery happens with time.
A person whose relative or friend dies tends to struggle with intense emotions during the
first days of grief. Human beings develop connections with other people who offer a valuable
contribution. In case of loss, the individual who is left experiences high-intensity feelings that
disrupt their normal functioning. In fact, Freud (1917) expounded that death causes bereaved
families to depart from all their usual tasks and remain fixated on the lost attachment. Affected
individuals grapple with heightened emotions if they continue thinking about the dead person.
Alpert (2018) finds that the emotional state may have a negative effect on the nervous system if a
mourner’s mind is preoccupied with the loss. Mourners undergo a state of deep thoughts that
destabilize their feelings.
The emotional reactions that accompany mourning occur because a grieving party is
unable to cope with the loss. The inability to handle manage the internal feelings happens
because a mourner is still psychologically connected with the lost loved one. All the behaviors
that one displays during this period of mourning reveal the yearning and searching of the lost
connection, even when all facts show that re-attachment is impossible (Freud, 1917). Mourners
remain disturbed for as long as the memories of the deceased linger in their minds. Nakajima
(2018) explains that the challenge of managing grief starts when mourners delay disconnecting
from their perceived source of love. This state causes a grieving person to be uninvolved and
disinterested in ordinary tasks.
Mourning ends in recovery when one transfers affection from the deceased to another
person. The reactions that occur during grief are attributable to the emotional ties that individuals
had established. However, mourners start to change their perceptions and consider the possibility
of bonding with other available friends or relatives. The establishment of new sources is not
instantaneous. Freud (1917) stated that the psychological transformation progresses as the libido
disentangles itself from the deceased’s attachment and connects with other people. The step-bystep healing process continues as long as a mourner finds comfort in the newly formed
connections. A person then recovers without necessarily detaching from the deceased but by
learning to continue with life despite the lack of physical proximity.
Freud developed the concept of mourning in such a simplistic approach that anyone who
grieves may recover without health complications. A person who loses a loved one experiences
unstable emotions that escalate into a disruption of normal activities if a mourner fails to accept
the loss. This denial happens due to emotional connections, but one may shorten the period.
When exposed to other possible connections, mourners begin to undergo psychological healing
that culminates in significant detachment. Although people do not entirely detach, they recover
from the disruptive moods that render their lives unproductive during the initial days of
mourning. Given the inevitability of death, members of the public should understand Freud’s
model and use it to help their mourning friends.
Alpert, J. S. (2018). Emotional states and sudden death. The American Journal of Medicine,
131(5), 455-456.
Freud, S. (1917). Mourning and Melancholia. International Journal for Medical Psychoanalysis,
4(6), 288–301.
Nakajima, S. (2018). Complicated grief: Recent developments in diagnostic criteria and
treatment. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences,
373(1754), 1-10.