What are the main points of Freud's grief-work theory and how can these be applied to loss?

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Karyth Cara eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Two cogent points of Treud's grief-work theory relate to expression of grief and to instincts of grief. Freud held that in order to overcome grief, it was necessary to express it. He said this during an era during which death was still common among families that the typical Western strategy was to stoically and silently turn away from overt expressions of grief after  the funeral; in many cases the name of the deceased was never to be mentioned again. Freud also held that humans have two conflicting instincts: one for survival and accomplishment versus one for withdrawal and death ("the death wish"). He held that acts of love would (it was his hope) overcome the death and destruction and withdrawal instinct.