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Omega (Westport). 2010;61(4):357-69.

Exploring the role of experiential avoidance from the perspective of attachment theory and the dual process model.

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  • 1Columbia University School of Social Work, New York, NY 10027, USA.


Avoidance can be adaptive and facilitate the healing process of acute grief or it can be maladaptive and hinder this same process. Maladaptive cognitive or behavioral avoidance comprises the central feature of the condition of complicated grief. This article explores the concept of experiential avoidance as it applies to bereavement, including when it is adaptive when it is problematic. Adaptive avoidance is framed using an attachment theory perspective and incorporates insights from the dual process model (DPM). An approach to clinical management of experiential avoidance in the syndrome of complicated grief is included.

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