Chronic Sorrow

Chronic Sorrow Book.jpgI came back from Susan Roos’ workshop Saturday with an increased sensitivity to “chronic sorrow.” I think I already understood a lot about grieving the loss of someone through death or even the mourning of a dead marriage that has ended in divorce. But this is something different. What about the loss of hopes and dreams that have been spoiled by the onset of some disease like polio or Altzheimers? What about the loss of identity impacted by a debilitating injury? What about parenting an autistic child? You can’t simply readjust to a missing person. “The loss is ongoing since the loss continues to be present” says Dr. Roos. “The loss is a living loss.” I think this area of focus forces us to get past the superficial aspects of what life is about (beyond what we call “normal”) and look at the deeper issues of meaning and purpose and dignity. I am personally challenged by the need for awareness and the importance of maintaining compassion for the unique struggles these people are having. I am also encouraged by the words of Jesus, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Dr. Roos was presented by The Dallas Society of Psychoanalytic Psychology, a professional organization which I plan to join and for which she will be the next president.

Dr. Roos was kind enough to send me two lists of recommended reading on the topic of chronic sorrow which I am including here. I think that the reading of any of these books will result in our increased sensitivity and compassion for people needing to process the loss of their dreams and integrating new personal realities. Here are the books:

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CLIENTS

Ansay, A. (2001). Limbo: A memoir. NY: HarperCollins.

Catalano, R. (Ed.) (1998). When autism strikes: Families cope with childhood disintegrative disorder. New York: Plenum Press.

Featherstone, H. (1981). A difference in the family: Living with a disabled child. NY: Penguin Books.

Gill, B. (1997). Changed by a child: Companion notes for parents of a child with a disability. New York: Doubleday.

Goldfarb, L., Brotherson, M., Summers, J., & Turnbull, A. (1986). Meeting the challenge of disability or chronic illness: A family guide. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.

Marsh, J. (Ed.). (1994). From the heart: On being the mother of a child with special needs. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House.

McHugh, M. (1999). Special siblings: Growing up with someone with a disability. New York: Hyperion.

Neugeboren, J. (1997). Imagining Robert: My brother, madness, and survival. New York: William Morrow.

Park, C. (1982). The siege: The first eight years of an autistic child. Boston: Little, Brown.

Rife, J. (1994). Injured mind, shattered dreams. Cambridge, MA: Brookline Books.

Secunda, V. (1997). When madness comes home. New York: Hyperion.

Strong, M. (1989). Mainstay. New York: Penguin Books.

Suggested Readings for Clinicians and Academics

Accardo, P., & Whitman, B. (1996). Dictionary of developmental disabilities terminology. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.

Ainlay, S., Becker, G., & Coleman, L. (Eds.). (1986). The Dilemma of difference: A multidisciplinary view of stigma. New York: Plenum Press.

Bauby, J. (1997). The diving bell and the butterfly. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Catalano, R. (Ed.) (1998). When autism strikes: Families cope with childhood disintegrative disorder. New York: Plenum Press.

Doka, K. (1997). Aids, fear, and society: Challenging the dreaded disease. Washington, DC: Taylor & Francis.

Gill, B. (1997). Changed by a child: Companion notes for parents of a child with a disability. New York: Doubleday.

Goldfarb, L., Brotherson, M., Summers, J., & Turnbull, A. (1986). Meeting the challenge of disability or chronic illness: A family guide. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.

Klass, D., Silverman, P., & Nickman, S. (Eds.) (1996). Continuing bonds: New understandings of grief. Philadelphia: Taylor & Francis.

Mairs, N. (1989). Remembering the bone house. New York: Harper & Row.

Neimeyer, R. (Ed.) (2001). Meaning reconstruction & the experience of loss. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Neimeyer, R., & Raskin, J. (Eds.) (2000). Constructions of disorder: Meaning-making frameworks for psychotherapy. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Neugeboren, J. (1997). Imagining Robert: My brother, madness, and survival. New York: William Morrow & Company, Inc.

Roos, S. (2002). Chronic sorrow: Siblings of children with disabilities have needs too. The Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior Letter, 18(11).

Roos, S. (2001). Theory development: Chronic sorrow and the Gestalt construct of closure. Gestalt Review, 5(4), 289-310.

Roos, S. (2002). Chronic sorrow: A living loss. New York: Brunner-Routledge.

Secunda, V. (1997). When madness comes home. New York: Hyperion.

Strong, M. (1989). Mainstay. New York: Penguin.

Torrey, E. (1988). Surviving schizophrenia: A family manual (rev. ed.). New York: Harper & Row.

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4 Responses to Chronic Sorrow

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  2. It seems you understand a lot about this particular subject matter and it all
    shows as a result of this amazing post, titled “Chronic Sorrow
    J. Lee Jagers, PhD, ThM, LPC”. Thanks ,Anya

    • leejagers says:

      Thanks for your kind comment, Anya. It’s Dr. Roos who really understands a lot about this subject. I have learned the little I know from her. ________________________________________

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