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John James, founder of The Grief Recovery Institute

John W. James

Founder of The Grief Recovery Institute®
Co-Author of The Grief Recovery
Handbook & When Children Grieve

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Russell Friedman, Executive Director of The Grief Recovery Institute

Russell Friedman

Executive Director
Co-Author of The Grief Recovery
Handbook & When Children Grieve

Featured Article

Normal and Natural reactions to the death of someone important to you.

Grief is the wide range of normal and natural reactions to the death of someone important to you. The seven most common reactions are:

  • Numbness
  • Reduced Ability to Concentrate or Focus
  • Crying or NOT Crying
  • Lowered State of Energy—Not To Be Confused With Clinical Depression
  • Disturbed Sleeping Patterns and Dreams and Nightmares
  • Irregular Eating Patterns
  • Roller-Coaster of Emotions
If you’re reading this, it’s likely that someone important to you has died and you’d like some guidance about the feelings and thoughts you’re experiencing. Or, you may be reading this because you are connected to and concerned about someone who’s just experienced a death, and you’d like to have more awareness about what they’re going through, and what you can say or do to be helpful to them.

Confusion About What Is Normal In An Unfamiliar Situation

While it’s true that grief is the normal and natural reaction to a death, fortunately most of us don’t have that experience very often, making it unfamiliar. Also, grief is not generally an open topic for conversation in our society, and a great deal of the information available to us about grief is not accurate or helpful.

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Ask John & Russell – When your heart is broken your head doesn't work right and your spirit can't soar. (Published 8/26/2014)


I lost my son 10 yrs. ago to Lymphoma. I have become very bitter and withdrawn. I can't find anything to occupy my time and nothing interests me. I can't seem to pull myself up out of this slump. He was our only child and I worshiped the ground he walked on—he was my world. When he died, I felt that our Pastor deserted us, so we had no spiritual counseling. I regret we didn't seek counseling elsewhere. Maybe if we did, I wouldn't be so bitter. Is it too late to seek counseling, or would it help since it's been 10 years?

Russell Friedman Replies:

Dear Anon,

Thanks for your note and question.

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Find Local Support

If you or someone important to you wants help with grief: Look for a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist℠ in your community. The Grief Recovery Institute ® trains and mentors Certified Grief Recovery Specialists℠ throughout the United States & Canada.

See Russell and John's blog at Psychology Today

Workshops & Training Schedule

The Grief Recovery Institute ® offers Certification Training programs for those who wish to help grievers.

  • August 2014
    Omaha, NE - Aug 8-11, 2014
    Singapore - Aug 11-14, 2014
    New York, NY - Aug 15-18, 2014
    Houston, TX - Aug 22-25, 2014
    Tampa, FL - Aug 22-25, 2014
  • September 2014
    Billings, MT - Sept 5-8, 2014
    Portland, OR - Sept 12-15, 2014
    Cleveland, OH - Sept 19-22, 2014
    Moncton, NB, Canada - Sept 26-29, 2014
    Los Angeles, CA - Sept 26-29, 2014
    Wilmington, DE Sept 26-29, 2014

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