The meaning of your absence: Traumatic loss and narrative reconstruction

Robert A. Neimeyer, Luis Botella, Olga Herrero, Meritxell Pacheco, Sara Figueras, Luis Alberto Werner-Wildner

Research output: Book chapterChapterpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Like most projects, this chapter represents the convergence of both planned and accidental factors. At one level, it represents a systematic application of a conceptual model of human beings as meaning-makers that we have found to provide a fertile framework for psychotherapy (Botella & Feixas, 1998; Neimeyer & Raskin, 2000) and grief counseling (Neimeyer, 1998; Neimeyer, 2001 b; Neimeyer, Fortner, & Melby, 1999). On another level, it represents a shared response to an unpredictable event-the enrollment of one of this chapter’s authors (Luis Alberto Wener-Wildner) in a graduate psychology course offered by another (Luis Botella) at a critical moment during his attempt to reconstruct the meaning of his life following his son’s tragic act of self-destruction. The evocative personal journal and poetic reflections that trace his journey from emotional decimation to existential regeneration form the heart of this chapter, with interpretive commen-tary provided by the other authors. Our unanimous decision to coauthor the chapter rather than treat this archival material as anonymous “clinical data” reflects our shared conviction that autoethnographic personal accounts are professional contributions in their own right (Ellis, 1998), as well as our constructivist respect for many voices, regardless of their academic pedigree.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLoss of the Assumptive World
Subtitle of host publicationA Theory of Traumatic Loss
PublisherTaylor and Francis Ltd.
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781135451387
ISBN (Print)1583913130, 9781583913130
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


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