Colin Murray Parkes

Colin Murray Parkes OBE MD FRCPsych

Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist to St Christopher’s Hospice, Sydenham and Consultant Psychiatrist to St Joseph’s Hospice, Hackney. Formerly Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry, The Royal London Hospital Medical College and Member of Research Staff at The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations.

Author of :

Bereavement: Studies of Grief in Adult Life; publ. Pelican, London and Routledge, London & New York (3rd Ed 1996)

With Robert Weiss, Recovery from Bereavement, publ. Basic Books, New York & London (1983)

With M. Relf and A. Couldrick, Counseling in Terminal Care and Bereavement (1996) publ. British Psychological Society.

Also of numerous publications on psychological aspects of bereavement, amputation of a limb, terminal cancer care and other life crises.

With Dora Black, Scientific Editor of Bereavement Care, the international journal for Bereavement Counselors, and Advisory Editor on several journals concerned with hospice, palliative care and bereavement.

Has worked closely with Dr. (now Dame) Cicely Saunders as consultant psychiatrist to St Christopher’s Hospice, Sydenham since its inception in 1966. Here he set up the first hospice-based bereavement service and carried out some of the earliest systematic evaluations of hospice care.

He worked for 13 years with John Bowlby at the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations and edited books on the nature of human attachments, The Place of Attachment in Human Behavior (with J. Stevenson-Hinde, 1982 publ Basic Books, NY) and Attachment Across the Life Cycle (with J. Stevenson-Hinde & P. Marris, 1991, publ Routledge, London & NY). More recently he has edited Death and Bereavement Across Cultures (with P. Laungani and W. Young, 1996, publ. Routledge, London & NY) and, in 1998, with Andrew Markus, a series of papers for the BMJ which have now been published as a book entitled Coping with Loss (by BMJ Books). This last is intended for members of the health care professions.

Formerly Chairman and now Life President of Cruse: Bereavement Care.

He has acted as consultant and adviser following the disasters in Aberfan, Cheddar/Axbridge Air Crash, Bradford Football Club Fire, Capsize of the Herald of Free Enterprise and the bomb on the Pan American aircraft which exploded over Lockerbie. At the invitation of the British Government, helped to set up a program of support in New York to families from the UK who were flown out following the terrorist outrages on 11th September 2002.

Recently work has focused on traumatic bereavements (with special reference to Rwanda where he helped UNICEF to set up their Trauma Recovery Program) and on the roots in the attachments of childhood of the psychiatric problems which can follow the loss of attachments in adult life.

He was awarded an OBE by Her Majesty The Queen for his services to bereaved people in June 1996.


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