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 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.

Dr. Jorge Isaac Casariego

Dr. Casariego, a board-certified psychiatrist, has been practicing psychiatry in the United States for more than 40 years. For the past 30 years, he has worked in private practice in Florida. During his professional career, Dr. Casariego has worked with the Veterans Administration and the United States Armed Forces, and practiced in the corporate mental health system.

Suggested Books:

To Begin Again: The Journey Towards Comfort, Strength, and Faith in Difficult Times by Naomi Levy
Why Me? Why Anyone? by Jaffe, Hirshel, Rudin, James, Rudin, Marcia
Why Me? Coping with Grief, Loss, and Change by Kraus, Pesach and Goldfischer, Morrie
When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner