Tasks Of Grief
I. Grief work, according to Dr. William Worden* is a
deliberate mental process
requiring the person who
is in mourning to confront and deal with the pain
associated with the death of a loved one.
This process includes reorganizing
one’s life to adjust
to the world without their loved one. Rather than to
“break all ties with” the deceased or “de-cathect”, as
suggested by Freud and
Bowlby, Worden sees this
taking place as a relocation of the deceased loved
to a safe place in one’s life, so that they can move on
and establish new
relationships and continue living.
The following is my interpretation of the "Tasks Of Grief".
It is my belief that by applying the following model, you can begin the process to H-E-A-L from your grief and mourning.
Understand and accept the death as real and
permanent. (i.e. it is not a mistake, and the
loved one is not coming back.) This Involves
confronting various forms of denial.
Allow yourself to feel the
pain. Crying is not bad or dangerous, in fact tears are actually very cleansing
and helpful. (See "Healing Waters...)
Stifling or avoiding the pain and tears
only causes delayed
complicated grief reactions
Restructure your thoughts and
adjust to their absence. In some cases, this will mean taking on new
tasks that were once done by the deceased.
This may also include developing a new
“sense of self” without a
as you move on with life.”
“We now know that people do not de-cathect
from the dead, but find ways to develop ‘continuing’ bonds with the deceased.” * * (Klass, et al 1996)
A. Worden suggests that in Task
the mourner finds a place for the
deceased that will enable them to
remain connected to them, but in
ahealthy way that does not prevent
them from going on with their lives.
B. This usually involves memorializing
the deceased to keep their
memory near and fresh, yet allows
the mourner to establish new
without being bound
to the past or the the pain of loss.
Remember: In the case of a lost spouse or parent: loving someone else or someone new - does NOT mean that you no longer love the person who died.
True healing allows you to establish new relationships while still retaining your loving memories.
Through continuing research and experience, our
understanding will continue to grow and become more clear.
What is important to
you, the one who is currently grieving, is:
1) you are not
2) you do not have to helplessly wait for a new stage of
II. With the help of caring individuals, you can work on
progressing through the Tasks of Grief and
begin to feel better.
No one can
understand the exact pain and feelings that
you have now in regard to the
losses in your life.
You are a unique and special person. Your feelings –
whatever they are, are legitimate and it is okay to feel
and express them.
The goal of this website is to
help people to understand grief and loss better and give them the tools they
need to come to a successful resolution of the grief.
III. We also recognize that in some cases,
may be needed.
Anyone who is experiencing complicated or
grief is urged to seek help from a qualified health care
concerned has more to do with the intensity and duration
of certain grief symptoms, rather than just those
symptoms being present in one's life.
A. How long have the symptoms been present?
More than a year or two?
B. How seriously are the symptoms impacting one's life
or to what degree is their quality of life diminished
because of on-going or chronic grief?
V. When is grief considered to be resolved?
When someone has concluded grief successfully is very
difficult to pinpoint.
By definition, grief is mental suffering cause by the loss
of a loved one or the loss of another important item
from one's life.
Some possible criteria are listed below.
A. When to person who was grieving can talk about the
lost loved one without crying or becoming overly
B. When the grieving person begins to allow themselves
to laugh and have fun again.
C. When the survivor of grief begins to establish new
relationships with other people; not just romantic
relationships, but friendships as well.
D. When the survivor begins to really "move on" with
E. According to Worden* grieving or mourning is
complete when the 4 Tasks of Grief are completed.
F. Gorer said: "The grateful acceptance of condolences
is one of the most reliable signs that the bereaved
is working through mourning satisfactorily . * * *
* “Grief Counseling and
Grief Therapy” (Third Edition)
J. William Worden c
(Springer Publishing Company, Inc. New York 10012)
* * D. Klass, et al (1996) "Continuing Bonds: New Understandings
of Grief" Taylor & Francis - Washington, DC
* * * G. D. Gorer "Death, Grief and Mourning" (1965)
Doubleday , New York
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– Jeff Marshall, SAW, GC-C
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