ABSTRACT

In this chapter, we use the continuing bonds model of mourning to examine the process of loss and mourning associated with immigration and understand some of the psychological changes associated with immigration. We begin by explaining our use of the continuing bonds model to understand immigrants’ experiences and we review the losses often suffered by immigrants. We then explain how we integrated the assimilation 1 model, which was developed to describe how psychotherapy clients come to terms with their problems, with the continuing bonds model of mourning to characterize individual differences in how immigrants deal with the internal representations of their lost native culture. We then illustrate our conceptual tools by summarizing the results of a series of case studies based on interviews with immigrants. Finally, we offer some clinical recommendations to mental health professionals seeking to help immigrants cope with loss and mourning of native culture.