Trauma & Bereavement


The term "normal grief" sometimes referred to as "uncomplicated grief" has a broad range of feelings that are common after loss. Lindemann, (1944) ^ describes patterns which he suggests as characteristics of normal grief:

  1. Somatic or bodily distress
  2. Preoccupation with the image of the deceased
  3. Guilt relating to the deceased or circumstance of the death
  4. Hostile reactions
  5. The inability to function as one had before the loss

After experiencing a loss many people seek bereavement counseling and often report finding it helpful in assisting them to adjust to current life demands with their loved one no longer present. Beverly Raphael (1977)* suggested the following list of variables that were significant predictors of a person not doing well after a loss:

  1. A high level of perceived non-supportiveness in the bereaved social network during the crisis
  2. A moderate level of perceived non-supportiveness in social network response to the bereavement crisis occurring together with particularly “traumatic” circumstance of the death
  3. A previously highly ambivalent marital relationship with the deceased, traumatic circumstance of the death, and any unmet needs
  4. The presence of a concurrent life crisis

The office of Student Health Services has mental health professionals who will assist students who have suffered the loss of a loved one while attending school. Call 801.863.8876 (option 3) Monday-Friday (except holidays) between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to schedule and appointment.

Mental Health

Trauma & Posttraumatic Stress:

"The essential feature of Posttraumatic Stress is the development of characteristic symptoms following exposure to an extreme traumatic stressor involving direct personal experience of an event that involves actual or threatened death or serious injury, or other treat to one’s physical integrity; or witnessing an event that involves death, injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of another person; or learning about unexpected or violent death, serious harm, or threat of death or injury experienced by a family member or other close associate." DSM-TR IV, 2000, pg 463.

The person suffers in that the traumatic event is persistently re-experienced, the persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma, numbing of general responsiveness, and persistent symptoms of increased arousal; often these features will not go away on their own and professional help is required. If you find this is a problem for you please call the office of Student Health Services at 801.863.8876 (option 3) Monday-Friday (except holidays) between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to schedule and appointment to visit with a mental health professional.

^Lindemann, E. (1944), Symptomatology and management of acute grief, American Journal of Psychiatry, 101, 141-149.
* Raphael, B. (1977), Preventive intervention with the recently bereaved, Archives of General Psychiatry, 34, 1450-1454