Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Loss in Couples and Families

  • Froma WalshEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_469

Concept/Problem Area

Death, Loss, Grief, and Mourning in Couples and Families; Traumatic and Complex Situations; Adaptation and Resilience


Death and loss pose painful and far-reaching adaptational challenges for couples and families. A systemic conceptual framework is important for clinical assessment and intervention with end-of-life and bereavement challenges and in the recovery and resilience for survivors as they move forward in life. Death and loss involve not only individual grief; they impact the couple relationship and the family as a functional unit, touching all members and their relationships. Clinicians need to address couple and family challenges and risk factors for maladaptation and to facilitate transactional processes that foster healing and resilience.

Theoretical Context: From an Individual Focus to a Systemic Lens

Clinical theory, research, and practice approaches to death and loss in the mental health field have focused predominantly on individual...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chicago Center for Family Health and Firestone Professor EmeritaThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Farrah Hughes
    • 1
  • Allen Sabey
    • 2
  1. 1.Employee Assistance ProgramMcLeod HealthFlorenceUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA