Dual Process Model
Being defined as “the psychological, behavioral, social and physical reactions to loss of someone or something that is closely tied to a person’s identity”(Casarett, Kutner, & Abrahm, 2001), grief is a “negative emotional response” (Dean A. Shepherd, 2003) that can affect one for days to even years. In the past, it was believed that most people recover from grief through the Kubler-Ross model, namely disbelief, yearning, anger, depression and acceptance.
However as time progressed, the dual process model proposed that grieving people could participate in other activities that they are interested in to divert their attention, while withdrawing from their loss. Even though one is able to resume work while recovering from grief, it is often at work where the recovery process is not being supported and hence results in detachment. Aside from personal loss, loss of jobs also contributes to people suffering from grief. Since work makes up a large part of people’s lives, it is important that work acts as an avenue for one to heal.
The creation of meaning via current jobs or new jobs will aid in restoring the lives of people. The healing process from grief can be further improved if there were to be support from the organization and superiors. In this article, the author mentioned works of Freud, Maciejewski et al. and Stroebe and Schut to illustrate how people recover from grief through time. Furthermore, Bento’s and Zell’s works were also used to further emphasize her point that support from work plays an important part in the process of healing.
However, other theoretical perspectives that the author did not recognize would include that of Wortman and Silver, as well as that of Bonanno and Kaltman. Wortman and Silver argues that the last stage of the Kubler-Ross model, which is acceptance is not always attainable. (Wortman & Silver, 1989) Instead of feeling deep grief followed by recovery over time, they suggested that there is other ways people adjust to grief, either not experiencing grief or not being able to recover from their loss at all. Wortman & Silver, 1989) On the other hand, Bonanno and Kaltman discusses about cognitive stress perspective, where it emphasizes on allowing the griever to “make subjective evaluations of the difficulties surrounding the loss” instead of facing and working through the loss. (Bonanno & Kaltman, 1999) They also touched on the trauma perspective, which focuses on “the types of losses, the role of meaning, and the social need to talk with others about particularly difficult or traumatic losses”. Bonanno & Kaltman, 1999) Though both grief work and trauma perspective touches on grievers talking about their loss, the trauma perspective helps to not only connect parts of the loss that are exceptionally difficult, it also enables grievers to find a more positive self. On the contrary, grief work sees talking about losses as one of the many avenues for grievers to reach acceptance. (Bonanno & Kaltman, 1999) Most evidence used by the author is well established in terms of reliability, as most are well known theories amongst the psychoanalytic theories, and are used by the various follow-up studies.
However, the variations of the dates of the evidence lead to the argument that the theories might not apply anymore as behaviourial patterns change with time due to different developments. Another interesting thing to note is that most of the findings originated from the West and hence might not be applicable to the Asian countries due to cultural differences, which might imply behaviourial differences as well.
While some may argue that the dual process model is believed to transcend across cultures, the author did not provide any evidence to prove that point. There was also no evidence from the author that supports her claim of how people would be “out of sync” when returning to work after a loss. One key assumption made by the author would be that the grief experienced from the loss of a loved one is of the same level as that of the loss of a job or organization. (Dean A.
Shepherd, 2003) The loss of a loved one is more likely to impact one deeper, which will then lead to greater sense of grief, thus leading to a different length of time for recovery. Therefore it is not feasible to use these two instances to draw conclusions on how the workplace could serve as part of the healing process, in terms of providing meaning. In addition, there is also the underlying assumption that the provision of personal and corporate help to grieving employees translates to a “more successful organization”.
Even though the provision of help may enable one to recover faster from the grief, it does not necessary improve the company to be more successful as the employee may just return to his original state of efficiency. In conclusion, the author manages to make the links between the different frameworks and the different approaches that companies could take, but she forgot to highlight about the industry differences that may lead to policy differences. While “flexible polices for time off” may offer an employee ore time in coping with his grief, it does not apply to all industries. The service industry is one instance, as it is an industry that requires full time and effort from its staff, and thus will not be able to implement such measures flexibly. The author also failed to apply her concepts for different societies; such that what is applicable to one country might not be applicable in another. For example, Japanese are taught from young that they should not show their feelings easily and thus when experiencing grief, they might not show signs of anger or sadness easily.
Hence, managers might not be able to recognize a grieving employee and offer suitable help efficiently. On the other hand, the culture in Western countries may lead to employees feeling that there is nothing wrong to express their sadness during work. Last but not least, the author did not mention about how other colleagues are able to offer help during one’s grief recovery, since they are essentially the people that will have more contact with the grievers, as compared to the managers in the workplace.