The Grief Recovery Handbook

The Grief Recovery Handbook

The Grief Recovery Handbook

John W. James & Russell Friedman





Newly updated and expanded to commemorate its twentieth anniversary—this classic resource helps people complete the grieving process and move toward recovery and happiness.

Incomplete recovery from grief can have a lifelong negative effect on the capacity for happiness. Drawing from their own histories as well as from others’, the authors illustrate how it is possible to recover from grief and regain energy and spontaneity. Based on a proven program, The Grief Recovery Handbook offers grievers the specific actions needed to move beyond loss. New material in this edition includes guidance for dealing with:

  • Loss of faith
  • Loss of career and financial issues
  • Loss of health
  • Growing up in an alcoholic or dysfunctional home



One very simple truth is brought forth in this powerful little book. Bluntly, the majority of our society does not know how or even want to deal with the negative (“bad”) feelings which are the natural response to loss.

We’ve been trained that “boys don’t cry”, “have a cookie and you’ll feel better”, “forget the past”, in other words stuff the feelings that make other people uncomfortable. Or as a good friend of mine use to do, compartmentalize: put everything in boxes in your mind and put them on a shelf in the back so you don’t have to deal with them and they don’t have to bother anyone else.

Unfortunately, emotional pain can be like an infection in your body. It may be scabbed over, but it’s going to keep festering until you do what is necessary to heal it. Some people respond to the built up, festering pain by actually becoming physically ill. Some people grab an uzi and head to the mall. Then some people become angry, bitter people who turn to alcohol and/or drugs to numb the lifetime of unresolved pain. Either way the outcome isn’t good for that person or the people around him/her.

This book helps the reader to understand these concepts clearly and simply. Then it gives you tools to finally heal. If you have lost a loved one to death, rest assured that the goal is NOT for you to bury them again, by trying to make you let go of your relationship with that person. It IS about expressing the pain caused by the loss and letting go of only that pain so that you can remember your loved one with a smile instead of a knife in the heart. Read more…

Barnes & Noble

We are all ill equipped to deal with grief. We have been socialized to stuff it, pretend we’re okay, however none of the things we’ve been taught about loss helps one heal from a devastating loss. Whether it be the death of a very special loved one, divorce or major disruption to what we know as our life we have NATRUAL emotions that occur yet we are taught we should feel that way.
This handbook, whether working on your own or with a partner walks you through the necessary steps to deal with, and move forward in to a new normal not leaving the past behind, but carrying with you the things that are what you fell in love with and eventually incorporate them into your every day life.
I recommend this book for anyone who feels stuck and unable to move forward however small those step are, so that you can learn to carry the good forward with you.



I use this book quite a bit in practice with clients and have found it to be an excellent resource. I’ve referred friends to this, and I have received positive feedback as they’ve used it as well. I find that the information is easy to understand, true to the experience of those having difficulty managing loss of any sort, and relatively easy to translate into information that both youth and adult clients are able to use.