Skip to content

Health & Balance

Font Size
A
A
A

Coping With Closure

What is closure and is it really achievable en masse or even personally?

WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

May 2, 2006 -- Is closure going to see the new 9/11 feature film United 93 and finally being able to face what happened to loved ones on Sept. 11, 2001?

Is closure watching the Zacharias Moussaoui verdict unfold and perhaps seeing the conspirator executed? Moussaoui is currently the only person in the United States to have been charged in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks.

Recommended Related to Mind, Body, Spirit

Your Guide to Never Feeling Tired Again

By Nancy Rones22 ways to tackle life's biggest energy zappers. Every day, 2.2 million Americans complain of being tired. Most of us chalk it up to having too much to do and not enough time to do it in, especially during extra-busy periods. But often the true culprits are our everyday habits: what we eat, how we sleep, and how we cope emotionally. Read on for some simple, recharging changes that can help you tackle all of the energy stealers in your life. Energize Your Diet ...

Read the Your Guide to Never Feeling Tired Again article > >

Or for the family of the missing Aruban teen Natalee Holloway, is closure finding her body and getting a confession?

Is closure having that final conversation or run-in with an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend where you both are open and honest about what went right -- and wrong -- in your relationship?

Closure can be all of the above or none of the above, experts tell WebMD.

"Closure is something that allows you to close one chapter and to move on with some resolution," explains Barbara O. Rothbaum, PhD, an associate professor of psychiatry and the director of the Trauma and Anxiety Recovery Program at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.

Whether or not it is something that is actually attainable depends on how you define closure, she says. "Is it being able to find some peace and move on? Then it's possible," she says. "Is it feeling like 'OK, it's over, the person has been caught and punished', then I think it's possible," she says. But "something like 9-11 is hard because you don't have a ritual like a funeral, which is meant to give closure."

For example, "part of the Jewish funeral tradition involves having the mourners throw dirt on the descending coffin, which is very painful, yet very therapeutic" she says. "There is no denying that person is dead and in the ground" and that is closure.

Closure Can Be Symbolic, Personal

But "with 9-11, so many people were not found and we couldn't bury them and go through all the processes to get closure," she says. In these cases, closure can be achieved on an individual basis for some, she says, "If a person feels that they need a burial, then it will be hard, but closure may be able to be achieved symbolically," she says.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Today on WebMD

woman in yoga class
6 health benefits of yoga.
beautiful girl lying down of grass
10 relaxation techniques to try.
 
mature woman with glass of water
Do you really need to drink 8 glasses of water a day?
coffee beans in shape of mug
Get the facts.
 
Take your medication
Slideshow
Hand appearing to hold the sun
Article
 
Hungover man
Slideshow
Welcome mat and wellington boots
Slideshow
 
Woman worn out on couch
Article
Happy and sad faces
Quiz
 
Fingertip with string tied in a bow
Article
laughing family
Quiz