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~ Defining Transitional Medicine ~

Transitional Medicine is the term we formulated for the grief work being done utilizing the Journey of Hearts™ website. This concept was presented first in 1998 in London at MEDNET 98: The World Congress for the Internet in Medicine, then at the 2000 ITCH (Information Technology in Community Health) at the University of Victoria, School of Information Health Sciences and most recently in 2001 as part of the "Somatic Aspects of Loss and Grief," with the University of California Berkeley Extension.

Transitional Medicine combines elements of medicine, psychiatry, counseling, and complementary therapies to provide resources and support in the grieving process of going from loss through a transition to eventually reach healing following a loss or a life-changing event. This term describes an area of medicine long neglected—an area that is "stuck" between the traditional medical and traditional psychiatric practices; this is the area where the topics of grief and loss seem to get "lost." This supportive, inbetween zone is one that has been long neglected by the medical field, relegated to nursing, clergy, social workers, counselors or psychiatrists.

In Transitional Medicine a person is educated about the "normal" grief response, including what to anticipate in the transformational process that occurs following a loss. In addition, the grieving person is encouraged to draw upon or discover their internal source of strength to help them through the grief reaction as well as being taught healthy ways of coping with the loss. This site provides a variety of Grief AIDEs designed to help grieving people understand the grieving process and find their own healthy way of coping with a loss, to discover their internal source of strength in the midst of the crisis, to get through the shock and the grief reaction. Ultimately, ther grieving person emerges from the crisis transformed or reborn, forever changed and transformed, as the butterfly, and stronger and victorious, as the phoenix.

Transitional Medicine is also based on concepts of psychoneuroimmunology. New scientific research in this relatively young field has demonstrated that the mind can and does play a significant role in the disease and healing processes. Therefore many different areas—medicine, psychiatry, counseling, spirituality, art, color, poetry, and biblio- therapy—are utilized in combination to enhance the mind-body-spirit connections and create the healing experience needed following a loss.

The Transitional Process
In the grief process a person first must experience the loss or life-changing event. Then there is a transition time that involves assimilating, if necessary reframing, the loss and/or events. In time reconciliation and amelioration of the loss or events occur allowing the person to begin living again and reach healing. The ideal for Transitional Medicine is to help a grieving person in the transformational process following a loss, going from loss through transition to reach healing.

Blue TearFrom Loss...
Purple Heart Through Transition...
Fuschia Heart To Healing.
Key Points of the Transitional Process
Transitional Medicine is for the grieving person who recognizes the need to change and have decided it is time to stop suffering. In this process the grieving person:
  • Adapts to the change in situation following a loss or a significant life-altering event.
  • Reconciles the loss or ameliorates the grief.
  • Assimilates the change.
  • Emerges transformed by the loss.
The focus in Transitional Medicine is on the transformation process, recognizing that loss is an instrument for change and that a person is forever changed following a loss. Grief is a powerful, universal emotion, but is most often survivable. Grieving people must recognize that they often do not get over grief, rather in time they learn how to integrate the loss or change into their lives and keep living.

In the depths of winter I finally learned
that within me there lay an Invincible Spring.
Albert Camus

See the Emergency 911 Page for links to immediate resources
if you are feeling helpless, hopeless, overwhelmingly depressed, or suicidal.

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Information on this site is designed to support, not replace, an existing physician-patient, provider-patient relationship. We regret that we are unable to answer any specific medical, mental or health related emails. Please contact your health care provider if you need specific questions answered. Terms of Use and Privacy Statement.
All material, unless otherwise specified, is © 1997-2003 by Kirsti A. Dyer, MD, MS of Journey of Hearts. Information on this site may be shared with others, but not in for-profit ventures without permission.
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Last update Sept. 11, 2002