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Mourning and Melancholia

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Mourning and Melancholia
AuthorSigmund Freud
Original titleTrauer und Melancholie
Publication placeGermany

Mourning and Melancholia (German: Trauer und Melancholie) is a 1917 work of Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis.[1]

In this essay, Freud argues that mourning and melancholia are similar but different responses to loss. In mourning, a person deals with the grief of losing of a specific love object, and this process takes place in the conscious mind. In melancholia, a person grieves for a loss they are unable to fully comprehend or identify, and thus this process takes place in the unconscious mind. Mourning is considered a healthy and natural process of grieving a loss, while melancholia is considered pathological.

It has been argued by some writers that Freud's description of mourning in this work is not compatible with current models of mourning.[2][3]

Further reading[edit]

  • Freud, Sigmund (1914–1916). The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XIV, On The History of Psycho-Analytic Movement, Papers on Metapsychology and Other Works (PDF). London: Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psycho-Analysis. Retrieved November 26, 2023. The book link is to Sigmund Freud's essay "Mourning and Melacholia" which has been extracted from the book.


  1. ^ Freud, Sigmund (1917). "Trauer und Melancholie". Internationale Zeitschrift für Ärztliche Psychoanalyse [International Journal for Medical Psychoanalysis]. 4 (6): 288–301. Retrieved 13 June 2022.
  2. ^ Clewell, T (2004). "Mourning beyond melancholia: Freud's psychoanalysis of loss". Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. 52 (1): 43–67. doi:10.1177/00030651040520010601. PMID 15089015. S2CID 3015896.
  3. ^ Hagman, George, ed. (31 March 2016). New Models of Bereavement Theory and Treatment New Mourning. Taylor & Francis. p. preface. ISBN 9781317610519. Archived from the original (Ebook) on May 28, 2021. Retrieved May 28, 2021 – via Google books. Honoring the centennial of Sigmund Freud's seminal paper Mourning and Melancholia, New Models of Bereavement Theory and Treatment: New Mourning is a major contribution to our culture's changing view of bereavement and mourning, identifying flaws in old models and offering a new, valid and effective approach...