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Title: The ties that bind? : what should characterise a Christian pastoral response to a bereaved parent's desire to maintain continuing bonds with their deceased child?
Author: Jamieson, Morgan P. G.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7659 1556
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2019
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The question around which this thesis is gathered arose from a period of public concern regarding historical practice in respect of post-mortem examinations during which the researcher was required to engage with a significant number of parents who had lost a child, often many years previously. These encounters offered privileged insight into the longevity, nature and expressions of parental grief and, on subsequent reflection, raised questions as to how the specifics of Christian belief might meaningfully engage the pastoral needs of a bereaved parent. Through its capacity to accommodate conversation between human experience; the insights offered by science, philosophy and culture; and the Christian message, practical theology offered a discipline within which such questions could best be explored. Using a research methodology drawing on the principles of hermeneutic phenomenology the lived experience of ten bereaved parents was engaged through semi-structured interviews. The transcription and analysis of these interviews identified key themes - connection; continuity and identity; and reunion - which became the subject of further reflection. Common to these themes is the concept of a continuing relationship ('bond') with the deceased child, a concept at variance with the Freudian thinking that has shaped much of bereavement care over the past century. Such thinking understands a sustained 'relationship' as futile and promotes patterns of care that aim for a staged and time-limited recovery. In contrast the more recent paradigm of 'continuing bonds', which has particular resonance with the loss of a child, offers a different perspective on grief which, in turn, finds accord with a Christian narrative that is profoundly relational and incorporates a message of resurrection offering explicit hope in regard to matters of continued existence, retained identity and eventual reunion.
Supervisor: Swinton, John ; Gordon, James M. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Bereavement ; Church work with the bereaved ; Parents ; Children