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Modern Grief Models

The commonly quoted 'stages of grief' models are no longer recommended by and large…

So if someone asks you 'what stage are you at?' you can choose to use one of the following to help them understand a bit better…it may make a lot more sense than the stage models.


The basic - this paradigm is used by lots of people - you have grief in you now, and it's going to stay with you, but your relationship with it will change as you grow over time…and you will grow.

Next step, a framework I find really useful years later when I reflect on my losses -  


J.William Worden - tasks of mourning:


It's nicely explained in this pdf copied in here from

Task 1: To Accept the Reality of the Loss

Although you know intellectually that the person has died, you may experience a

sense of disbelief. Integrating the reality of their death means “taking it in” with

your whole being.

For example, the reality may begin to set in immediately after the death, when you

must call the mortuary, attend the memorial or pick up the ashes.

Many weeks, months or years later when an occasion arises that they would have

been part of, the reality again hits you as you realize that your dear one has died and

they aren’t here to share these moments with you.

Task 2: To Process the Pain of Grief

Grief is experienced emotionally, cognitively, physically, and spiritually.

People may be telling you: "Get over it; move on; be strong." In contrast, one of the

aims of grief support groups is to encourage and facilitate the safe expression of all

the natural grief reactions.

Task 3: To Adjust to a World Without the Deceased

External adjustments include taking on responsibilities and learning new skills.

Internal adjustments are made as you adapt to your new identity.

Spiritual adjustments occur as you grapple with questions about your belief system

and the purpose and meaning of life.

Task 4: To Find an Enduring Connection With the Deceased in the Midst

of Embarking on a New Life

Gradually you create a balance between remembering the person who died and

living a full and meaningful life.

This article offers some more expansion here - The 4 Tasks of Grieving | Psychology Today

And another view here - a lot of us bounce around between the two 'islands' as explained in the Dual Process Model (Model Strobe & Schutt 1999)

Its not a straight line process - we move between the 'loss orientated' and 'restoration orientated' modes pretty constantly for a time'

A new model to me - 'Instrumental vs Intuitive Grieving' - if you found yourself doing home improvements or suchlike, it may have been part of the process.

I also found this useful in looking at how my teenagers at the time went abut doing their stuff.

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