How We Grieve: Relearning the World / Edition 2

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Overview

If we wish to understand loss experiences we must learn details of survivors' stories. The new version of How We Grieve: Relearning the World tells in-depth tales of survival to illustrate the poignant disruption of life and suffering that loss entails. It shows how through grieving we overcome challenges, make choices, and reshape our lives. These intimate treatments of coping with loss address the needs of grieving people and those who hope to support and comfort them. The accounts promote understanding of grieving itself, encourage respect for individuality and the uniqueness of loss experiences, show how to deal with helplessness in the face of "choiceless" events, and offer guidance for caregivers.

The stories make it clear that grieving is not about living passively through stages or phases. We are not so alike when we grieve; our experiences are complex and richly textured. Nor is grieving about coming down with "grief symptoms". No one can treat us to make things better. No one can grieve for us.

Grieving is instead an active process of coping and relearning how to be and how to act in a world where loss transforms our lives. Loss forces us to relearn things and places; relationships with others, including fellow survivors, the deceased, even God; and our selves, our daily life patterns, and the meanings of our life stories.

This revision adds an introductory essay about developments in the author's thinking about grieving as "relearning the world." It highlights and clarifies its most distinctive and still salient themes. It elaborates on how his thinking about these themes has expanded and deepened since the first edition. And it places his treatment of those themes in the broader context of current writings on grief and loss.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Michael S. Goldsby, PhD, CCRP (Family Psychiatry of The Woodlands)
Description: This revised edition further explores the complexity of human response to loss, and expands on earlier concepts, theories, and ideas of how we grieve. The author goes beyond the mainstream theories of loss and grief and explores new avenues of scholarly thought, using real-life stories of the grief response to challenge commonly held ideas on the grieving process.
Purpose: The book offers insight and understanding about what it is to grieve the loss of a loved one and, through the personal stories of family members and friends who are have experienced a loss, how they manage to relearn their place and meaning in the world in the absence of the deceased.
Audience: It is intended for readers with theoretical and professional interests in bereavement and grieving, including counselors, clergy members, those who work in hospice or similar settings, survivors, and caregivers. Graduate students in counseling and clinical psychology will find the stories of human grief and profound loss to be insightful and pertinent to understanding how we grieve.
Features: The response to the first edition was overwhelmingly positive, as scholars acknowledged its originality, some in academia used it as a textbook, and graduate students gleaned useful material from it for their dissertations and theses. Counselors and others used it to guide their helping efforts, and many grieving persons found comfort in it. This edition offers the same unparalleled depth, adding material where new findings and acquired knowledge merit discussion. It also features an extended introductory essay about developments in the author's thinking about grieving as "relearning the world," as well as an updated review of the most salient scholarly thinking and current writings in the field. Chapter topics include stories of grieving which provide a personal and identifiable touch, respecting individuals as they grieve, relearning the world and themselves, and relearning relationships with the deceased through grief, love, and separation.
Assessment: Based on a lifetime of experience in the field of death education and counseling, the author moves far beyond the roots laid down in his first book to introduce new ideas and perceptions on how people grieve. He adds a profoundly human element to the dialog and writes in an engaging style, which both scholars and lay people will find approachable. I highly recommend this revised edition as the go-to book for those interested in gaining a better understanding of the complexity of thought and emotion inherent in how we grieve.
From The Critics
Reviewer: Michael S. Goldsby, PhD, CCRP(Family Psychiatry of The Woodlands)
Description: This revised edition further explores the complexity of human response to loss, and expands on earlier concepts, theories, and ideas of how we grieve. The author goes beyond the mainstream theories of loss and grief and explores new avenues of scholarly thought, using real-life stories of the grief response to challenge commonly held ideas on the grieving process.
Purpose: The book offers insight and understanding about what it is to grieve the loss of a loved one and, through the personal stories of family members and friends who are have experienced a loss, how they manage to relearn their place and meaning in the world in the absence of the deceased.
Audience: It is intended for readers with theoretical and professional interests in bereavement and grieving, including counselors, clergy members, those who work in hospice or similar settings, survivors, and caregivers. Graduate students in counseling and clinical psychology will find the stories of human grief and profound loss to be insightful and pertinent to understanding how we grieve.
Features: The response to the first edition was overwhelmingly positive, as scholars acknowledged its originality, some in academia used it as a textbook, and graduate students gleaned useful material from it for their dissertations and theses. Counselors and others used it to guide their helping efforts, and many grieving persons found comfort in it. This edition offers the same unparalleled depth, adding material where new findings and acquired knowledge merit discussion. It also features an extended introductory essay about developments in the author's thinking about grieving as "relearning the world," as well as an updated review of the most salient scholarly thinking and current writings in the field. Chapter topics include stories of grieving which provide a personal and identifiable touch, respecting individuals as they grieve, relearning the world and themselves, and relearning relationships with the deceased through grief, love, and separation.
Assessment: Based on a lifetime of experience in the field of death education and counseling, the author moves far beyond the roots laid down in his first book to introduce new ideas and perceptions on how people grieve. He adds a profoundly human element to the dialog and writes in an engaging style, which both scholars and lay people will find approachable. I highly recommend this revised edition as the go-to book for those interested in gaining a better understanding of the complexity of thought and emotion inherent in how we grieve.
From the Publisher
"If one is looking for a book on grief and grieving based on lived experiences rather than more remote psychosocial theories, then Thomas Attig's How We Grieve is the resource to read. Although it is not a brand new book (first published in 1996), in this reviewer's opinion no book published in the last four years comes close to the power of Attig's contribution to understanding the grief process. Attig, a former philosophy professor and past president of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, uses the power of story to unlock the mystery of the human experience of life and death, and produces a rich treasure of intensely human stories of coping with loss due to death. This book has substance, theory and organization, and is highly readable—packed with the everyday drama of life and death. It is an immensely useful and provocative, sensitive and human, inspiring and engaging book."—America

"In this richly rewarding book, Attig, a philosopher who has written and taught extensively about death, bereavement, grief, and grieving, presents his reflections on the grieving process. . . . The author writes in a graceful prose style that is often powerfully metaphorical, but that is nevertheless clear and straightforward. Insightful and enlightening. Highly recommended."—Choice

"Attig, through the use of vignettes, takes the reader along on a number of pilgrimages toward resolution; journeys whose starting points may appear to be the same but are, in fact, dissimilar. The need of the person in grief to relearn her/his world (grief resolution) is discussed along with the importance of understanding how this pilgrimage to resolution significantly changes the traveler as well as the way future journeys will be experienced. This book is a must read for anyone who is involved in providing support for individuals in grief."—David K. Meagher, Editor, The Thanatology Newsletter

"How We Grieve is a valuable resource in death education courses and workshops, as well as for those who want one good book on death and dying....(It may become a valued handbook for caregivers in hospice, hospitals, and nursing homes." —Death Studies

"Attig has written a groundbreaking book, one that may prove to be a cornerstone in a revised theory of grief and its place in human life....I would recommend it to all those who have suffered a loss, as well as those therapists and counselors who attempt to help them." —Robert A. Neimeyer, President, Association for Death Education and Counseling

"[Attig] rejects the grief stages and phases offered by Kubler-Ross, Engels, Lindemann, Bowlby, and the medical profession as static and too automatic. Instead he considers grief to be an individualized process. . . [that] should help the survivor make the transition from loving someone in the present to 'loving them in their absence.' This book should prove useful for counselors, survivors, and caregivers alike."—Readings

"Attig's How We Grieve: Relearning the World . . . is written in the 'inspirational we' model, with an emphasis on stories as the vehicle for illustrating psychological messages. Attig directly challenges the imagery of 'tasks' and 'stages,' the former associated with J. William Worden's theories . . . Unfortunately, it is difficult to write and 'inspirational' book when the message is that 'mourning never ends' and that, although people will eventually feel better, relearn the world, and form new relationships, this process does not leave them in a state of 'light, warmth, and peace.' On the other hand, Attig insists that an 'active' stance—grieving understood as something we do rather than a fate that befalls us—is a key to enduring it."—Religious Studies Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195397697
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 11/4/2010
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 264
  • Sales rank: 746,612
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Past President of the Association for Death Education and Counseling; currently an independent applied philosopher, writer, and speaker

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Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction to the Second Edition

Chapter 1 - Stories of Grieving: Listening and Responding
�Martin and Louise
�Jennifer Bill, Diane and Margaret Ed, Elise, and David Kathryn Colleen Stories Are the Heart of the Matter: The Point of Thinking about Grieving Why Do Persons Look to Books on Grieving?
They Seek General Understanding They Seek Respect for Individuality They Seek Ways to Deal with Helplessness in Grieving They Seek Guidance for Caregivers

Chapter 2 - Grieving Is Active: We Need Not Be Helpless
�The Story of Martin and Louise
�Jennifer's Story Bereavement Is Choiceless, but Grieving Is Not Grief Is an Emotion, Grieving a Coping Process Some Say We Grieve in Stages or Phases Some Describe Our Grieving in Medical Terms Is It Helpful to Talk of Stages, Phases and Medical Analogies?
Some Say that as We Grieve We Address Tasks A Task-Based, Active View Some Choices We All Have as We Grieve Grieving Is Active: A Summary

Chapter 3 - Respecting Individuals When They Grieve
�The Story of Bill and Diane
�Respecting Individual Flourishing Respecting Individual Vulnerabilities Acting Respectfully Once We Understand Individual Flourishing and Vulnerability What Our Self-Respect Requires

Chapter 4 - Relearning the World: How We Grieve
�The Story of Ed and Elise
�How We Relearn Our Worlds The Worlds We Relearn We Relearn Our Physical Surroundings We Relearn Our Relationships with Fellow Survivors We Relearn Our Selves We Relearn Our Places in Space and Time The Power of the Relearning Idea

Chapter 5 - Relearning Our Selves: Grief and Personal Integrity
�David's Story
�Margaret's Story How Are We to Understand Ourselves in Loss and Grief?
An Image of How We Become the Selves We Are Our Selves in Loss and Grief: Elaborating the Image As We Cope, We Engage with and Move beyond Suffering We Struggle to Put Our Shattered Lives Back Together We Seek New Ways to Complete Our Life Stories We Become Whole Again as Parts of Larger Wholes Together We Reshape Our Families and Communities Advantages of This Idea of Relearning Our Selves

Chapter 6 - Relearning Our Relationships with the Deceased: Grief, Love and Separation
�Kathryn's Story
�Colleen's Story What We Lose, and What We Do Not Lose, When Someone Dies Let Go We Must, but Not Entirely We Continue to Love and Cherish the Stories of Lives Now Ended We Still Care About What Those Who Died Cared About.
Advantages of This Idea of Relearning Our Relationships with the Deceased

Index

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2013

    I've worked for over 25 years with the bereaved as a hospice and

    I've worked for over 25 years with the bereaved as a hospice and palliative social worker, including over six  years running bereavement support groups.  I am so glad to have come across this book as one I can recommend to colleagues and to those clients who benefit from reading.  It resonates absolutely with what I have seen in my work.
    There are a lot of books out there that are not helpful, and worse, simply wrong.  Sadly, these books are oft-sited as the last word on what people should expect.   I am not going to try to say more.  Just read this book, please.  

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