22 Jul Being Well Podcast: The Grieving Brain with Dr. Mary-Frances O’Connor
On today’s episode of Being Well, Forrest is joined by one of the world’s leading researchers on grief, Dr. Mary-Frances O’Connor, to help us better understand grief and grieving. They explore why grief is such a unique and intense emotion, how grief works in the brain, the problems with generalized models like the “five stages of grief,” and how we can learn to live with loss.
There’s a lot of loss in the world these days, both in our individual lives and in our broader communities, and with those losses comes grief. Grief is one of the most challenging emotions to be with, and it can be difficult to offer generalized advice because everyone’s experience of grief is profoundly unique.
About Our Guest: Mary-Frances is a neuroscientist, clinical psychologist, and associate professor of psychology at the University of Arizona, where she directs the Grief, Loss and Social Stress Lab, which investigates the effects of grief on the brain and the body. She’s also the author of the wonderful book The Grieving Brain: The Surprising Science of How We Learn from Love and Loss.
0:00: Introduction and disclaimer
3:35: Mary-Frances’ personal background
6:55: Distinguishing grief from grieving
9:20: Self-criticism and overfocus on recovery
11:20: Changing how we frame grief as something to get over
13:00: Attachment and our neurological map
16:00: Prediction error
19:30: Complicated grief
25:00: Spiritual practice or a worldview that incorporates death
28:05: Is there a ‘normal’ grieving process?
35:25: Pathology and normal human experience
46:00: Neurological overview of grief in the brain
50:40: The Dual Process Model of Grief
54:10: Sometimes distraction is okay
56:15: Therapeutic practices and learning from grief
1:01:00: Grief and its relationship to love
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Rick’s Grief and Loss Workshop: We all face losses in life, from separation and disappointment to shocking, even traumatic events. Join Rick August 13 and 14 for 7 hours of LIVE, online teaching focused on learning simple, powerful practices that help us come to terms with loss, heal, and find happiness again. Use coupon code BEINGWELL25 at checkout for an additional 25% off the registration price.
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