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The Neuroscience of Grief: How We Learn From Love and Loss

Mary-Frances O'Connor, PhD

The Neuroscience of Grief: How We Learn From Love and Loss

About the talk

Using an integrative view of clinical psychology and cognitive neuroscience, Dr. O’Connor explores grieving as a learning process, describing how the brain is critical in understanding that a loved one has died, updating one’s view of the world while carrying the absence of this person. Cognitive neuroscience can help clarify the “why” of grief—why it takes so long, and is so painful. Dr. O’Connor explains that older stage models of grief are no longer used and offers a new paradigm for understanding love, loss, and learning. In addition, she recounts how empirical research has helped to define prolonged grief disorder (previously called complicated grief) and how targeted psychotherapy is an effective treatment for this disabling condition.
Mary-Frances O’Connor, PhD is an Associate Professor at the University of Arizona Department of Psychology, where she directs the Grief, Loss and Social Stress (GLASS) Lab.
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