Therapeutic issues and the relationship to the deceased: Working clinically with the two-track model of bereavement

Ruth Malkinson, Simon Shimshon Rubin, Eliezer Witztum

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Psychological intervention with the bereaved can provide critical assistance to individuals, families, and communities contending with the loss of significant others. In the organizational paradigm of the Two-Track Model of Bereavement, the outcome of both successful and problematic mourning are manifest along two distinct but interrelated tracks of functioning and relationship to the deceased. Reworking relationships to the deceased can help people resume authorship of their life narratives following loss. Two cases of spousal death are presented and significant features of the treatments discussed. The Two-Track Model of Bereavement emphasizes that the dimensions of a person's functioning reflect only part of the response to loss. The ongoing relationship with the complex of memories, thoughts, emotions, and needs associated with the person who has died is no less important. Although the domains of general functioning and relationship to the deceased are related, they are far from identical. Attending to the memories and emotions bound up with the deceased should continue to demand our sustained attention as therapists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)797-815
Number of pages19
JournalDeath Studies
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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