Some observations on the process of mourning



The main proposal of this paper is that normal mourning is not completed after six months to a year or two as suggested in earlier literature, but may bring about a permanent alteration of psychological structures that affect various aspects of the mourning persons’ lives. These structural consequences of mourning consist in the setting up of a persistent internalized object relationship with the lost object that affects ego and superego functions. The persistent internalized object relationship develops in parallel to the identification with the lost object, and the superego modification includes the internalization of the value systems and life project of the lost object. A new dimension of spiritual orientation, the search for transcendental value systems, is one consequence of this superego modification.