Sample Philosophy Paper on Freud’s Concept of Mourning

Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic concepts are the most popular in contemporary grief examinations. In his grieving theory, Freud asserts that mourning and melancholia are comparable but different reactions to loss. The primary mourning process, as described by Freud, comprises the painful, and consequently, the unforeseen denial of accepting the reality of a loss. However, Freud’s understanding of mourning is that it is a natural process but also a pathology.

Freud argues that a mourning period is a naturally occurring process. For instance, in grief, an individual deals with a profound pain of losing a loved object or person and lacks interest in their environment (Clewell 43). The grief process occurs in the conscious mind. Thus, mourning involves obsessive recollection in which the mourner resuscitates the reality of the loss but manages to replace the actual absence with an imagined presence. Therefore, the restoration enables a mourner to examine and comprehend the loss, and the mourning eventually ends.

However, Freud also postulates that mourning is a pathology. For example, grieving may result in melancholia that requires monitoring and management as it affects a person’s mental health (Granek 49). Hence, Freud understands melancholia as a mental disease since the pathological process occurs in the unconscious mind. In melancholia, an individual mourns for a loss they are incapable of identifying and understanding wholly. Therefore, when grief becomes a pathology, a person would need help from mental health practitioners.

Sigmund Freud’s understanding of mourning is that it is both a naturally occurring process and a pathology. Grief is a painful process as one comes to terms with the loss of an object or a loved one. However, if unchecked, mourning may lead to melancholia, which a pathology. In melancholy, a person is not in a position to establish their loss and understand the mourning process.


Works Cited

Clewell, Tammy. “Mourning Beyond Melancholia: Freuds Psychoanalysis of Loss.” Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, vol. 52, no. 1, 2004, pp. 43–67., doi:10.1177/00030651040520010601.

Granek, Leeat. “Grief as Pathology: The Evolution of Grief Theory in Psychology from Freud to the Present.” History of Psychology, vol. 13, no. 1, 2010, pp. 46–73., doi:10.1037/a0016991.