Graduate of the Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences receives award for her thesis

On 30 November 2022, Frida Ramsing, who is a graduate from the Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences at Aarhus BSS, received an award of merit for her thesis at the Master's thesis competition on the Danish Realm.

Frida Ramsing receives the 2022 award from the Ministry of Higher Education and Science. Photo: Private

The Master's thesis competition for the best theses or final projects on the Danish Realm is organised by the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Denmark as a joint project. The three winners of the competition each receive a prize of DKK 40,000 and have their theses disseminated to the public. The competition is a recurring event in the period 2020-2022. The purpose of the competition is to promote greater knowledge of each country across the Danish Realm – in particular among young people.

Rector Brian Bech Nielsen handed the prize to Frida Ramsing, who was then interviewed by journalist and author Martin Breum on her thesis titled: "When Death Becomes Complicated: A theoretical investigation and a Qualitative Study of Grief in Greenland."

The jury’s reasoning
Frida Ramsing’s thesis addresses some very relevant and difficult issues on death and grief by asking how we can understand grief in Greenland based on theory and practice from the field of psychology. By conducting a critical analysis of the new diagnosis for pathological grief from the WHO and current studies in Greenland, Frida concludes that these studies and this diagnosis do not pay sufficient attention to cultural and current contexts, even though such contexts are crucial to understanding and working professionally with grief.

Her thesis combines a theoretical review of theories on grief from health psychology and cultural psychology, conceptualising grief as either a pathological condition or a fundamental existential feeling, with a series of qualitative interviews investigating the practices and experiences of psychologists in Greenland. According to Frida, rather than trying to submit individual cases of grief to a universal approach, we should intervene at a societal level.

The jury emphasised her thoroughness and courage in challenging the prevailing paradigms of the healthcare system, paradigms which enforce general psychological diagnoses across cultural contexts. Based on the difficult and complex issues surrounding death and grief, Frida’s thesis highlights the need for further research into this subject as well as the need to develop new practices that acknowledge the variation in psychological phenomena across the Danish Realm. Such research and practices are considered a prerequisite for providing everyone with psychological interventions that are capable of addressing the specific challenges of each individual person in Greenland, the Faroe Islands or Denmark, keeping their cultural and psycho-social differences in mind.

The jury found that the analyses and conclusions presented in Frida’s thesis are of relevance to the further development of forms of collaboration in the healthcare system as well as to the efforts to challenge stereotypes and foster more curiosity about the diverse contexts in the Danish Realm.

The event was livestreamed from Aarhus University as well as from Ilisimatusarfik (the University of Greenland) and Fróðskaparsetur Føroya (the University on the Faroe Islands), where the Greenlandic and Faroese award winners were gathered.

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