Transformative learning in the context of suicide bereavement

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Adult Education Quarterly, 2010, 60 (2), pp. 99 - 121
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This article examines the experience of suicide bereavement through the lens of transformative learning. Its purpose is twofold: first, to analyse the dynamics of the grieving process and the transformative experience of the bereaved; second, to use this analysis to draw implications for theory, practice, and research on transformative learning. It is a study of the way in which those bereaved by suicide construct meaning about the self-volition of the death and their ongoing relationships with the deceased, themselves, and significant others. In common with transformative learning, this quest for meaning proceeds through discourse, dialogue, and the re-storying past events and relationships. While the study illustrates the general thrust of transformative learning theory, it also highlights some of its limitations as it is commonly expressed and conducted. These limitations are discussed in relation to the tension between cognition and affect, the role of relationships, and underlying conceptions of the self. © 2010 American Association for Adult and Continuing Education.
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