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if you have ever broke up with a real love, if you have lost a close friend or family member or if you have ever experienced a deep trauma … you may well have come across the term “The Need For Closure” and likely you will have felt the need for the ‘experience’ in question to come to some kind of satisfactory end. Or an end that you can make a satisfactory meaning of …
When I say ‘come to an end’ I am talking specifically about the feelings of hurt, guilt, pain or any unresolved issues and any of the other recursive negative emotions or thoughts that have been running around your brain as a result of the ongoing, replaying experience you want to end. And … some kind of cognitive and satisfactory understanding about the event. Most of all to CHANGE HOW what you FEEL!
‘The Need For Closure’ in terms of an event can then be thought to mean three things:
- The thoughts and feeling relative to the event, generally repetitive and unwanted, are by way of some new experience brought to an end.
- A new and conclusive understanding of the event and your ‘why did it happen‘ questions answered.
- To be able to get on and to move forward in life. To STOP the unwanted though process and MOVE ON …
The term ‘need for closure‘ became popular in the 1990’s due to media exposure and the terminology refers to an individuals need to have a satisfactory conclusion albeit a cognitive and emotional ending to some traumatic event in their life.
Individuals that score hight on the Need For Closure Scale ( Kruglanski, Webster, Clem ) are said to require rules and structure in their life and are generally intolerant to ambiguity and uncertain situations. People who have very little Need For Closure are generally more creative, optimistic and thrive on uncertainty and ambiguity. These also happen to be the characteristics of natural leaders.
If the Need For Closure is related back into a therapeutic setting as in recovering from some traumatic event then it is reasonable to assume those people with flexible beliefs and attitudes will naturally recover quicker and with less effort.
Yet this really is just another term for reframing. The art and science of CHANGING THE MEANING of what you think has or has not happened to you.
The next parts of this article will explore possible solutions and ways to satisfactorily close such an issue emotionally, take the learnings and MOVE ON.