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Grief Fact Sheet

Grief is a normal reaction to loss. Although grief can be wrought with sadness, anger, and anxiety, it serves an important purpose. Grieving allows people to come to terms with their loss by figuring out how to move forward in life, while still cherishing memories of their loved one.

The Grief Fact Sheet provides basic information about grief, with a focus on normalization. Grief is presented as a natural process that is adaptive, despite being painful. This handout includes facts about common grief responses, timeframes, risk factors, the goals of grieving, and more.

While there are many types of loss that lead to grief, this worksheet focuses on grief resulting from the death of a loved one. We suggest using this handout as an aid during grief education, especially with those who are just starting to discuss their grief.

For information on working through grief, see the Tasks of Mourning worksheet:

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1. Casarett, D., Kutner, J. S., & Abrahm, J. (2001). Life after death: a practical approach to grief and bereavement. Annals of internal medicine, 134(3), 208-215.

2. Fox, J., & Jones, K. D. (2013). DSM‐5 and Bereavement: The Loss of Normal Grief? Journal of Counseling & Development, 91(1), 113-119.

3. Harris, D. (2010). Oppression of the bereaved: A critical analysis of grief in western society. OMEGA-Journal of death and dying, 60(3), 241-253.

4. Jordan, A. H., & Litz, B. T. (2014). Prolonged grief disorder: Diagnostic, assessment, and treatment considerations. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 45(3), 180.

5. Jordan, J. R., & Neimeyer, R. A. (2003). Does grief counseling work? Death studies, 27(9), 765-786.

6. Neimeyer, R. A., & Thompson, B. E. (2014). Meaning making and the art of grief therapy. Grief and the expressive arts: Practices for creating meaning, 3-13.

7. Neimeyer, R. A., Prigerson, H. G., & Davies, B. (2002). Mourning and meaning. American Behavioral Scientist, 46(2), 235-251.

8. Prigerson, H. G., Bierhals, A. J., Kasl, S. V., Reynolds, C. F., Shear, M. K., Day, N., ... & Jacobs, S. (1997). Traumatic grief as a risk factor for mental and physical morbidity. American journal of psychiatry, 154, 616-623.

9. Shear, M. K. (2015). Complicated grief. New England Journal of Medicine, 372(2), 153-160.

10. Silverman, G. K., Jacobs, S. C., Kasl, S. V., Shear, M. K., Maciejewski, P. K., Noaghiul, F. S., & Prigerson, H. G. (2000). Quality of life impairments associated with diagnostic criteria for traumatic grief. Psychological medicine, 30(4), 857-862.

11. Tofthagen, C. S., Kip, K., Witt, A., & McMillan, S. C. (2017). Complicated grief: risk factors, interventions, and resources for oncology nurses. Clinical journal of oncology nursing, 21(3), 331-337.

12. Tomita, T., & Kitamura, T. (2002). Clinical and research measures of grief: A reconsideration. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 43(2), 95-102.

13. Worden, J. W. (2018). Grief counseling and grief therapy, fifth edition: A handbook for the mental health practitioner. Springer Publishing Company.

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