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Grief Recovery Handbook, The (Revised): A Program for Moving Beyond Death, Divorce, and Other Devastating Losses [Paperback]

John W James
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 11 1998

Incomplete recovery from grief can have a lifelong negative effect onyour capacity for happiness. Drawing from their own histories, as wellas from others, the authors illustrate what grief is and how it ispossible to recover and regain energy and spontaneity. Based on a provenprogram, now extensively revised, The Grief Recovery Handbookoffers grievers the specific actions needed to complete the grievingprocess and accept loss. For those ready to regain a sense of aliveness,the principles outlined here make this a life-changinghandbook.


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"This book is required for all my classes. Themore I use this book, the more I believe that unresolved grief is themajor underlying issue in most people's lives. It is the only work of itkind that I know of that outlines the problem and provides thesolution." -- Bernard McGrane, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology, ChapmanUniversity

About the Author

John W. James was born in Danville, Illinois. He was thrust unwillingly into the arena of grief and recovery when his three-day-old son died in 1977. John lives in Los Angeles with his Emmy Award-winning wife, Jess Walton -- the evil "Jill Abbott" on The Young & the Restless -- and spends most of his free time with daughter Allison and son Cole.


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Grief is the normal and natural reaction to loss of any kind. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best in Grief Help Out There March 15 2009
Format:Paperback
I read this book 14 months into grieving my husband and best friend, who died suddenly, in my arms, with no warning of illness. Shock, trauma and loss.

At the time, I was only 8 months into my own recovery from massive brain surgery, so had little energy reserves or coping skills available to fall back on, which turned out to be a good thing: I had little choice but to live the grief wherever it took me.

However, 14 months along, I still felt locked in grief, unsatisfied with friends' responses, advice from experts in books, widows groups, and physicians. Losing him had resurrected, unbidden, many ungrieved losses in my life so that the mass had become an enormous weight still carried in my body and spirit. I was full of dread each and every day.

My bewlidered refrain: "I don't know how to do this!"

A friend gave me a copy of this book. At first, it seemed too simple to be effective, but 20 pages in, it was clear that the authors had learned how to cut through all the stuff we carry around from infancy on, and get down to the work of cleaning up old and new losses.

Grieving may never completely end, but by doing the hard work in this book honestly and completely, I found myself clearing away regrets and sadness and fears over losses in my life that I had no idea I still carried. I also came to new insights about how to continue the grieving process for my husband enough so that I could look out on the world with an open heart.

Each time I do and redo the excercises in this book, the letting go continues, and as it takes place, old losses surprisingly surface to be honoured and resolved. I no longer feel I don't know how to do this.

The Grief Handbook is so valuable, multiple copies have been purcahsed and sent to friends who have lost loved ones, or who still carry emotional wounds from unresolved relationships with the living.

The most honest and simple guide out there.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unrealistic for recovery from a death Sept. 14 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I think that the authors are a bit unrealistic in how "neat" and "tidy" they try to make grief recovery. I almost felt guilty about feeling sad while reading this book. It was harsh, not a friend. I was reading this after losing my husband in a car accident. He died upon impact. I don't think this book relates with this type of loss well at all. While his processes seem logical--grief is anything but logical. I think this would work for job loss, moving, divorce, things of that nature. Using this book to try and heal after death of a loved one simply won't work.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Feels like a miracle Nov. 1 2001
Format:Paperback
For more than a year after my father died, I felt as if I was going in slow motion, while the world raced past me. Time didn't seem to have done anything to heal me, in fact I was feeling worse. My friends tried to talk to me and help me, but I couldn't hear anything other than my own despair. One of my dear friends, in desperation, gave me a copy of The Grief Recovery Handbook. That simple act of kindness changed my life. In the solitude of my own home, without having to try to feel good so others would think I was okay, I began to read the book. Almost against my own will, I began to take the actions and do the exercises outlined in the book. One of the hardest parts about them, was that they were too easy. I began to realize how much I had been complicating the possibility of recovery by trying to use my head to fix my heart. As the direct result of creating an accurate picture of my entire relationship with my father, and completing what had been unsaid or unfinished, I regained the gratitude I felt toward life, and the energy with which to live it. While I have normal sadness and miss my dad from time to time, I am able to sustain a life of meaning and value, even though he is no longer physically here. What happened for me feels like a miracle, but in reality is the result of the safety and encouragement to take action provided by The Grief Recovery Handbook. I am eternally grateful.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
It was refreshing to finaly find a book that touched my heart and gave me the specific steps that I needed to follow to heal my heart after the "death" of the relationship with my Dad. I only wish I had found The Grief Recovery Handbook years ago. The practical information makes sense and works. Now I am free to have access to the fond memories my Dad and I once shared.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Actions speak louder than words Oct. 10 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
My brother sent me a copy of this book. Within 3 chapters I found that everything they talked about was true. I continued even though I was apprehensive from time to time. The result was like a 500 pound anvil had been lifted off my neck.
I have recommended this book and given copies to others. I have found that some people are more willing to do difficult emotional work than others. Those who do the work get better those who don't get smaller.
I am writing at this time due to the WTC mess. I am also letting you know if you don't already that I found the Handbook in Spanish. This has proven helpful for several of my employees.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To Move Through and Beyond Loss Feb. 20 2004
Format:Paperback
This book is easy to read. The authors recommend reasonable "homework" that guides the reader through his/her loss history. The entire process outlined in the book provides a crucial look at important relationships and includes exercises to help bring relationships "up-to-date". The Grief Recovery Handbook would be an excellent companion to a traditional grief support group. Readers should know that The Grief Recovery Institute, adminstered by the authors, is an excellent resource. Visit their Website at [...] I have seen this simple book help many people who are grieving even though their stories and circumstances are quite varied. The authors joined with a Child Psychologist to publish another excellent book entitled When Children Grieve.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent How To Complete your grieving Process
This book, The Grief Recovery Handbook, not only makes you feel secure you are not alone but also takes you step by step on how to grieve and go through the grieving process. Read more
Published on Feb. 14 2010 by Debra K. Grose
5.0 out of 5 stars Much Needed
A comprehensive book that will help you through all the cycles that grief will take you throu. Another good book along the same lines is Song Of Cy: Understanding Grief (Katlyn... Read more
Published on Oct. 16 2005
5.0 out of 5 stars Life Saving
This book reveals a path to resolving grief through the process of re-education. It is both clear and concise in the steps that are outlined. Read more
Published on Jan. 8 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written
This handbook is informative and helpful. The authors have touched on the truth about grief. Good work. Read more
Published on Nov. 14 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Freedom from the pain
When my mother died, I was devastated and the pain was crippling. Reading The Grief Recovery Handbook and doing the exercises helped me get back into my life. Read more
Published on Oct. 9 2001 by lola oliver
5.0 out of 5 stars finally a book that works
I was so glad to recieve this book from a friend, following the death of a loved one. After reading the hand book I understood how natural many of the things I was feeling were. Read more
Published on Oct. 9 2001
1.0 out of 5 stars Death is unique
When I lost a close family member several years ago, I had to deal with it in my own way. Grieving is a natural process. Read more
Published on Sept. 24 2001 by James Andrew
2.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, Not good
I felt that they rushed you through the process. I am farther along in my grief recovery so it do bother me that much. But if your loss is still fresh I do not recommend this book. Read more
Published on Sept. 20 2001 by Vana Rene LaBorde
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