Mary-Frances O'Connor
Mary-Frances O’Connor

“For some people, losing a loved one feels like a physical blow. In some ways, it is: the bereaved may experience disruptions in their body – cardiovascular, immune, endocrine and neural systems may all be affected.” Mary-Frances O’Connor, UA assistant professor of clinical psychology, will talk about “complicated grief” at 3:30 p.m.  Wednesday, (April 29) in the Great Room at the Arizona Senior Academy.

O’Connor’s research has found a mind-body connection to grief. “Complicated grief” is a form of mourning that affects 10-20 percent of people. There are physical consequences for those who are grieving, as grief passes through the body. Her research investigates this clinical condition “in which people do not adjust to the acute feelings of grief, and show increases in yearning, avoidance, and emotional numbness.”

Since she was very young, O’Connor has been interested in the ways emotions are related to physical health. All emotions are increased in grief, she notes. The death and dying process was part of her life as a child; her mother fought cancer for many years, dying when O’Connor was quite young.

This presentation will be informative, educational, and practical for those who are, or will be, going through the grief process.

Written by Sharon Stetz, Academy Village Volunteer

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Dealing With Loss and ‘Complicated Grief’: April 2015