The transformational face of loss

A heuristic exploration of loss with Cornish miners


  • Jean Farrell



loss, nostalgia, change, camaraderie, environment


This study examines ways in which loss can lead to individual experiences of change: the transformational face of loss. It is specifically interested in how loss can be experienced, recalled, and integrated as part of the journey towards what Kübler-Ross (1973) calls “acceptance” or Kessler (2019) calls “meaning”. This paper draws on the recollections of five miners who lost both their job and community when the mine they worked in closed in 1996. The heuristic approach (Moustakas, 1990) adopted in this research helped the researcher and participants tap back into their lived experience of loss, enabling a new experiencing and documenting that was both data-driven and creative. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted, recorded, and transcribed as an expression of their journey towards change. Participants were asked questions about their sensory and emotional responses to their jobs in the mine environment, how it felt to lose those jobs, both then and twenty years on from the pit closure. Themes emerged that were common to all participants. Those explored in this paper relate to camaraderie and environment. Differences were found in the time participants took to accept the loss and the ways in which they found new purpose.




How to Cite

Farrell, J. (2020). The transformational face of loss: A heuristic exploration of loss with Cornish miners. Consciousness, Spirituality & Transpersonal Psychology, 1, 108–120.