northanger (northanger) wrote,



closure :: c.1390, from O.Fr. closure "that which encloses," from L. clausura "lock, fortress, a closing," from pp. stem of claudere "to close" (see close (v.)). Originally "a fence," sense of "bringing to a close" is from 1423. Sense of "tendency to create ordered and satisfying wholes" is 1924, from Gestalt psychology.

Closure (sociology) :: In the study of human social interaction, closure is the perception of a conclusion to a relationship. The uses/meanings of the term are broad. It is often used in the contemporary United States to refer to the conclusion of a non-continuing romantic relationship, particularly in popular culture. See links for some articles.

Every era brings popular words that no one quite understands, or—worse—everyone understands differently. Closure has been such a word for 10 or 15 years. It describes something that is highly desirable but also quite vague. Those in emotional pain are said to need it, and many hope to achieve it if they can figure out what it is and how to get it. Some people apparently think that just mentioning it is consoling, as if the word itself had magic properties. At the very least, discussing it demonstrates that someone's distress is being taken seriously. Around 1910, the Gestalt school of therapy in Germany brought the term closure into psychology to describe the way scattered and troubling feelings can resolve themselves in coherent and stable mental patterns. Today, it means much more—coming to terms emotionally with tragedy, or rapidly ending the misery caused by grievous loss ... Those who think we can manage our feelings about tragedy are usually deceiving themselves. The idea seems to be based on a belief that we can sort our feelings into separate chapters that won't leak into each other. Nothing in human experience supports that notion. Consciously seeking "closure" is a way of trying to shorten the length of time it normally takes to soften the edges of grief. Everyone can sympathize with this desire without believing that the techniques clustered around the term closure will help ... A woman who lost a relative in Oklahoma City gave a reporter a response that made good sense to me. "There is no such thing as closure for people who lost family in the bombing," she said. "The only closure is when they close the lid on my casket." {Robert Fulford's column about the word "closure"}

"... one of the basic laws of Gestalt formation—the tension arising out of the need for closure is called frustration, the closure is called satisfaction ... With satisfaction, the imbalance is annihilated, it disappears. The incident is closed." Once closure has allowed the dominant need to recede from awareness, the individual returns to a state of equilibrium ... When the psychological field is disturbed by the introduction of new forces, the whole undergoes a new alignment of forces until equilibrium is once more established. { Gestalt Therapy and Gestalt Psychology}

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