Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New News on Grieving

Dr. George Bonanno has written a new book on grieving titled, The Other Side of Sadness: What the New Science of Bereavement Tells Us About Life After Loss. I've read two reviews that highly recommend the book.

Dr. Bonanno challenges the conventional wisdom that there are five stages of grief based on Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross's research of persons facing their own deaths. He contends that this research doesn't necessarily apply to those who are grieving the loss of loved ones.

Instead, he points to three "grieving patterns": 10-15% of people have chronic difficulty coping with loss; 15-20% struggle for several months and then recover; over 50%, although pained by the loss, are able to function from the beginning, demonstrating "resilience."

"Resilience" is defined as being able to function well despite the loss. He says of those who are resilient: "They oscillate between turning inward, to face the fact that the loved one is gone, and turning outward."

Resilience is an important spiritual quality-- it is the capacity to draw comfort and strength from one's faith in God. To be resilient doesn't mean that we will be immune from the pain of loss, but that we will be able to cope with it and live a full and meaningful life.

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