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Farber, S.K. (2016). Unresolved Grief Disguised as Self-Injury: The Message from Silver Linings Playbook. Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 10(2):132-151.

(2016). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 10(2):132-151

Unresolved Grief Disguised as Self-Injury: The Message from Silver Linings Playbook

Sharon K. Farber, Ph.D.

Because emotional difficulties often emerge from unresolved grief, the possibility of this should be considered with any patient. A thoughtful thirteen-year-old girl from a loving family began cutting herself but without the disaffected, alienated clinical picture often seen in adolescents who do this, making the case quite puzzling. Her father, to whom she had had a secure attachment, died suddenly when she was ten. She never received the help children need in order to grieve. Unable to express it verbally, the psychic pain impelled her body to communicate it. When her family brought her for psychotherapy, it helped her use words to express thoughts and feelings about her loss to an empathic listener who could see and hear her as she really was, as her father had done. The paper explores the therapeutic process and theoretical background to understanding unresolved grief.

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