Colin Murray Parkes
Colin Murray Parkes (born 1928) is a British psychiatrist and the author of numerous books and publications on grief. He was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by the Queen Elizabeth II for his services to bereaved people in June 1996.
Since 1966, Parkes has worked at St. Christopher’s Hospice in Sydenham, where he set up the first hospice-based bereavement service and carried out some of the earliest systematic evaluations of hospice care.
Parkes serves as an honorary consultant psychiatrist to St. Christopher's Hospice in Sydenham. He was formerly a senior lecturer in psychiatry at the Royal London Hospital Medical College and a member of the research staff at the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations.
Parkes is a former chairman and now life president of the charity Cruse Bereavement Care. He acted as a consultant and adviser following the Aberfan disaster (October 21, 1966), the air crash of Invicta International Airlines Flight 435 in Switzerland (April 10, 1973), the Bradford Football Club fire (May 11, 1985), the capsize of the MS Herald of Free Enterprise in Belgium (March 6, 1987), and the Pan American Flight 103 explosion over Lockerbie (December 21, 1988). At the invitation of UNICEF, he acted as consultant in setting up the Trauma Recovery Programme in Rwanda in April 1995. At the invitation of the British government, he helped to set up a programme of support to assist families from the United Kingdom who were flown out following the terrorist attacks of 11 September, 2001, in New York. In April 2005, Parkes was sent by Help the Hospices with Ann Dent to India to assess the psychological needs of people bereaved by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami.
Writing and editorial career
Parkes worked with Dora Black as a scientific editor of Bereavement Care, the international journal for bereavement counsellors. He also has served as an advisory editor on several journals concerned with hospice, palliative care, and bereavement, and has edited books on the nature of human attachments, The Place of Attachment in Human Behaviour and Attachment Across the Life Cycle. More recently he has edited Death and Bereavement Across Cultures and, in 1998, with Andrew Markus, a series of papers which have now been published as a book entitled Coping with Loss. This last work is intended for members of the health care professions.
Parkes was one of the first to analogize human searching behaviors to that of animal species who mate for life. Parkes quotes Konrad Lorenz who studied the "searching" behavior in the greylag goose who would search for a mate even if the mate had been killed in plain sight. The goose will fly great distances, calling and wailing for the lost partner, often going such great distances as to get lost or injured in an accident. The frantic goose was detrimental to itself, unable to give up the search for the mate that was lost. Parkes studied bereaved widows and found the searching behaviors to be similar. He observed their tendency to look for their husbands in a crowd or go to call their name or dial them on the phone...even though they were dead.
Recently Parkes's work has focused on traumatic bereavements (with special reference to violent deaths and the cycle of violence) and on the childhood roots of psychiatric problems that can follow the loss of attachments in adult life.
- Laungani, P. & Young, W. & Parkes, Colin Murray (Editors) (1996). Death and Bereavement Across Cultures. London & NY: Routledge.
- Markus, Andrew & Parkes, Colin Murray (Editors (1998). Coping with Loss. BMJ Books.
- Parkes, Colin Murray (Editor & Contributor) (2014). Responses to Terrorism: Can psychosocial approaches break the cycle of violence?. Routledge Hove, UK & New York.
- Parkes, Colin Murray (2015). The Price of Love: The Selected Works of Colin Murray Parkes. UK & New York: Routledge, Hove.
- Parkes, Colin Murray. Bereavement: Studies of Grief in Adult Life (4th edition with Holly Prigerson 2010 ed.). London & New York: Pelican, London and Routledge.
- Parkes, Colin Murray (2006). Love and Loss: the roots of Grief and its Complications. London & New York: Routledge.
- Relf, M. & Couldrick, A. & Parkes, Colin Murray (1996). Counselling in Terminal Care and Bereavement. British Psychological Society.
- Stevenson-Hinde, J. & Marris, P. & Parkes, Colin Murray (Editors) (1991). Attachment Across the Life Cycle. London & NY: Routledge.
- Stevenson-Hinde, J. & Parkes, Colin Murray (1982). The Place of Attachment in Human Behaviour. New York: Basic Books.
- Weiss, Robert & Parkes, Colin Murray (1983). Recovery from Bereavement. New York & London: Basic Books.
- "Colin Murray Parkes". Hospice History Project. 1996. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
- Meerabeau, Liz; Wright, Kerri (2011). "6". Long Term Conditions: Nursing Care and Management. Wiley Blackwell.
- Stein, Samuel; Black, David Macleod (1999). Beyond belief: psychotherapy and religion. Karnac. p. xiii. ISBN 1-85575-186-0.
- "Bereavement 'raises risk of dangerous heart changes'". BBC News. 14 November 2010. Retrieved 18 July 2011.