Liberating Losses

Liberating Losses:  When Death Brings Relief

Jennifer Elison & Chris Mcgonigle






The Grief Recovery Handbook absolutely changed my life both personally and professionally in my practice as a Registered Psychologist. I also obtained training to become a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist to have the opportunity to help others successfully say goodbye to relationships that have ended or changed due to death, divorce, or any other loss.

This is the book utilized in The Grief Recovery Method programs, and I have witnessed it transform people’s lives. It takes a non-judgmental and non-pathologizing approach to grief and the normal and natural reactions to loss that we all experience as human beings. It also provides the action steps to recover from loss.

The Grief Recovery Method gave me the opportunity to complete relationships in my life that were unfinished, including the death of my father, and learn how to actually move forward in my life without dragging around all of the unresolved emotions I had accumulated over time.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is grieving any form of loss!
– Ashley Hoogenberg, Psychologist



When someone dies, those left behind are expected to grieve. But, as taboo as it is to admit, not every death brings great sadness. Labeled “nontraditional grief response” by therapists and counselors, a positive reaction following a death is becoming more common, especially now that drugs and medical treatments keep people alive much longer than they or their families might wish. Sometimes we are relieved that our loved one is no longer suffering; at the other end of the spectrum, a death might finally free us of an abusive or unhappy relationship. In either case, the cultural expectation for sadness, loneliness, and despair only adds to the guilt and conflict felt by many “relieved grievers.”Authors Jennifer Elison and Chris McGonigle have lived through their own “liberating losses.” Illuminating for the first time a reaction that many deem insensitive, inappropriate, or strange, Ellison and McGonigle share their own and others’ stories, thoughtful clinical analysis, and pragmatic counsel. Wise, compassionate, and groundbreaking, Liberating Losses expands the traditional definition of grief and, in so doing, generously validates the feelings that so many feel obliged to hide.


Marty Tousley

Marty Tousley, Hospice Bereavement Coordinator, author of blog Grief Healing

I found this book to be extraordinary in its insights, generous in the honesty of its authors and unique in the permission it offers so many troubled grievers to feel what others may regard as “unacceptable” feelings. Because I often work with people grieving the loss of their pets, I am particularly interested in and sensitive to the needs of “disenfranchised” grievers. In my work as a hospice bereavement counselor, I’ve certainly encountered a number of widows and widowers who were consumed with guilt because they felt so liberated and free instead of sorrowful and lonely (as their families and friends expected them to feel) when their spouses died. I think the impact of this book will be enormous, and I am grateful to both these authors for having the courage, the discipline and the collaborative effort it must have taken to write it. (As one who’s authored some books and articles of my own, I know how challenging it can be to collaborate with another writer!) Thank you, thank you, thank you for producing such an important work!
I am more than pleased to recommend this book to my clients as well as my bereavement colleagues, and I have already taken the liberty of listing it on the Links page of my own Grief Healing Web site, at […] — under the (newly created, thanks to this pioneering work!) category of DEATH THAT BRINGS RELIEF.