Resources on Grief and Mourning – Information & Exercises

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We thought we’d compile a list of websites that offer insightful perspectives on grief, from clinical views to the benefits of art to facilitate healing. These resources are beneficial for those grieving as well as clinicians and are presented here to widen your knowledge base. As someone with lived experience of suicide loss writing this post, these resources can provide a deeper understanding of loss after suicide, ideas for exploring the personal mourning process and encouragement to attend one of our workshops – art-making is so helpful in processing loss. For clinicians, there is also much that can be distilled from these articles to inform your own methods and practice.

Here is a chapter from the book “Existential and Spiritual in Death Attitudes” edited by Adrian Tomer, Grafton T. Eliason and Paul T. P. Wong. Death is treated as a threat to meaning as well as an opportunity to create meaning. The book discusses suicide (as well as other losses) and provides therapeutic applications for therapists. The chapter presented online here, “Transformation of Grief through Meaning: Meaning-Centered Counseling for Bereavement” is an excellent overview of grief and mourning, themes in responding to loss, normal versus pathological or complicated grief, the accumulation of grief as well as contemporary models of grieving. Meaning Centred Counselling is also described, as well strategies of approach in “meaning-seeking, meaning-making, and meaning-reconstruction skills.” “Transforming the pain to creative works” is one of the points discussed, as a part of the adaptive process grief and mourning engenders. As well, “Mindful meditation is useful in discovering present moments, while life review is useful in making sense of the past.” There are lots of ideas and insights here. This is an excellent piece to read.

This pdf, “Remembering for Good” by Cath Duncan, social worker and life coach, contains information and reflective exercises that encourage the client to explore their grief and embrace ‘wholehearted living’ – “The goal is not to avoid loss or suffering but to live all of our experiences of loving and losing in “full bloom” and fully alive.” Her unconventional approach to grief uses ‘remembering’ – not seeking closure, but “deliberately designing reflections and rituals that affirm the miracle and significance of each of our lives.” Her book is available here.

Although brief, this article on “Experiential Methods of Grief Therapy” addresses how “resistance and unconscious defense mechanisms slows traditional counseling. Bypassing this “in relaxed states, resistance is diminished dramatically, and the time necessary to recover lost memories, feelings and images shortened.” The article covers the importance of relaxation, bodywork and breathing as valid approaches towards grief work. (If you are interested in learning more about the breath for coping with grieving, there are some exercises here.)

Here is a case study of using art with a grieving client. It may provide some personal self-exploration ideas for someone grieving loss and help with the release of intense feelings (do see a therapist if you feel you need to, before and/or after engaging in these exercises; gauge your own capacity in your own best interests!). The ideas presented here may also engender a different approach for incorporating into a clinical setting. This article does reference other resources which are worth exploring.