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Loss and meaning: individual, spiritual, and sociocultural aspects - place for one or two PhD students

Chair group

Humanist chaplaincy studies for a plural society 
You can also have a look on the Dutch website.


prof. dr. Geert Smid, Endowed professor of psychotrauma, loss, and grief after disasters and violence

Short introduction into the research field

ChairHumanist Chaplaincy studies for a Plural Society
Supervisors Prof. dr. Geert Smid

Field of Research:  Loss and meaning: individual, spiritual, and sociocultural aspects - place for one or two PhD students

Loss experiences impact on individuals and their social environments. Meaning attribution following loss is related to circumstances of the loss, individual, spiritual, and sociocultural factors. Meaning attribution following the loss may be adaptive and contribute to individual, family and community resilience. In contrast, maladaptive meaning attributions may predispose to decreased wellbeing and ill health. Therefore, research into loss and meaning attribution may contribute to improving care. 

The care for people who seek help related to loss experiences is provided by different care providers, including but not limited to spiritual and mental health care providers and social workers. Through their collaboration, an integrated network of care for loss emerges that needs to provide culturally sensitive, interfaith or inter-philosophical care. Exploring lived experiences among care recipients and care providers across different care contexts may contribute to the integration of such a network.

To increase insight in individual, social, cultural, and spiritual aspects of loss, both qualitative and quantitative studies, as well as scoping reviews and autoethnographic studies may be employed. Research questions may address a variety of specific populations and contexts. For example, in the Netherlands, urgent research questions are related to the care for individuals and families at risk of psychological trauma, traumatic grief, or moral injury and to palliative mental health care, e.g., for people with a granted request for euthanasia.

Examples of research questions

• How do spiritual care and mental health care (e.g., psychotherapy) for people with loss experiences relate to each other across different care contexts?

• How do care recipients and care providers in palliative care and physician-assisted dying for people with mental disorders perceive and conceive end-of-life care, rituals, and good death?

Place for:

 one or two external PhD candidates

Contact and information


Supervised by professor Geert Smid.