How Sitting Shiva Can Help
From a practical standpoint, the shiva process and practices associated with Jewish mourning add structure to the life of a mourner following a death. In the period after suffering a loss, a mourner may be comforted by the structure and routines prescribed by traditional Jewish mourning laws.
According to board-certified psychiatrist Dr. Jorge Casariego, “Psychologically, it is imperative that a mourner experiences a gradual, normative process of disengagement from the image of the deceased that would additionally help avoid pathological mourning.” Dr. Casariego explains pathological mourning as a delayed mourning process that can eventually become chronic and emotionally disturbing. If mourning becomes chronic and problematic, it can lead to cause serious depression. After more than 40 years practicing psychiatry, Dr. Casariego has learned first-hand that it takes many individuals about a year for the completion of a normal mourning process, a fact that overlaps with the Jewish tradition of yahrzeit.
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