The Dangers Of Pathologizing Grief - Dr. Donna Schuurman, EdD, FT

Feb 1st, 2024 | Episode 279

Dr. Donna Schuurman is back - this time talking about the dangers of pathologizing grief. While the term "complicated grief" has been used in various grief settings for years, it wasn't until March of 2022 that Prolonged Grief Disorder made it into the DSM-5-TR - the Diagnostical & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - as an official diagnosis. This conversation explores the concerns Donna and others in the field share about the move to pathologize grief.

We discuss:

  • What Donna’s learned about grief working in the field for over 30 years

  • How that work experience shapes her personal grief

  • Why she is so passionate about this topic

  • The history of how Prolonged Grief Disorder came to be in the DSM
  • How diagnoses are social constructs - and who often gets left out of the studies behind these constructs

  • The dangers of pathologizing grief as a mental disorder

  • The (short list) of positives of Prolonged Grief Disorder being available as a diagnosis

  • Other trends in the field to pathologize or "do away" with grief
  • What Donna is optimistic about in the field of bereavement

Register for Donna’s upcoming webinar: Flawed Foundations, Deconstructing Three Contemporary Grief Constructs Thursday, February 8, 2024.

Donna L. Schuurman, EdD, FT, is the Senior Director of Advocacy & Education at Dougy Center. Dr. Schuurman was the Executive Director of Dougy Center from 1991–2015. Dr. Schuurman is an internationally recognized authority on grief and bereaved children, teens, and families, and the author of Never the Same: Coming to Terms with the Death of a Parent (St. Martin’s Press, 2003), among other publications.

Ep 279 GOL

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