Dr Colin Murray Parkes


Colin is an author, researcher and Emeritus Consultant Psychiatrist to St Christopher’s Hospice, Sydenham, and President for Life of Cruse: Bereavement Care. He is author of: Bereavement: Studies of Grief in Adult Life; Love and Loss: The Roots of Grief and its Complications and The Price of Love: Selected Works of Colin Murray Parkes; and editor of: Death and Bereavement Across Cultures and Responses to Terrorism: Can the Cycle be Broken? all publ. Routledge. Dr Parkes is also author of numerous peer-reviewed publications on psychological aspects of bereavement, amputation of a limb, and other life crises. Dr Parkes is on the Editorial Board of Bereavement Care, and Mortality.

Dr Parkes worked with John Bowlby at the Tavistock Institute on problems of attachments and losses in adult life, with Dame Cicely Saunders on the inception of palliative care and bereavement services at St Christopher’s Hospice, Sydenham, and with Margaret Torrie and Derek Nuttall to develop a nation-wide bereavement service, Cruse Bereavement Care, with carefully selected, trained and supervised volunteers.

His recent work has focused on Prolonged Grief Disorder, traumatic bereavements (with special reference to violent deaths, armed conflict, and the cycle of violence), and on the roots in the attachments of childhood of the psychiatric problems that can follow the loss of attachments in adult life.

Dr Parkes was awarded an OBE by Her Majesty The Queen for his services to bereaved people in June 1996. More recently, he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Bath University and the Times/Sternberg Active Life Award to recognise outstanding contributions to society and good causes.

Keynote Presentation
The Price of Love: Reflections on a Lifetime with Love and Loss

Preparing a book of Selected Works and writing comments upon them is like putting together part of a large jigsaw puzzle on which many of the pieces are missing. This researcher found new perspectives on an overall picture that has emerged. This presentation draws together ideas about (1) Love and Loss; (2) Crisis, Trauma and Transition; (3) Disasters; and (4) War, Terrorism and Breaking the Cycle of Violence; to attempt some kind of synthesis that may prove clinically useful to a wide range of professionals and stimulate future work.

Dr Parkes will present this session as part of the Conference program on Wednesday, 11th May 2016.