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November 04 , 2008

Grief Is a Journey

Finding Your Path Through Loss


In this groundbreaking book, Dr. Kenneth Doka explores a new, compassionate way to grieve, explaining that grief is not an illness to get over but an individual and ongoing journey.
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There is no “one-size-fits-all” way to cope with loss. The vital bonds that we form with those we love in life continue long after death—in very different ways. Grief Is a Journey is the first book to overturn the prevailing, often judgmental, ideas about grief, and replace them with a hopeful, inclusive, personalized, and research-backed approach. New science and studies behind Dr. Doka’s teaching upend the dominant but incorrect view that grief proceeds by stages.

Throughout Grief Is a Journey, Dr. Doka tells encouraging stories of his clients and other individuals, all working through unique losses. In doing so, he helps us realize that our experiences following a death are far more individual and much less predictable than the conventional “five stages” model would have us believe. Common patterns of experiencing and expressing grief still prevail, yet many other life changes accompany a primary loss. For example, the deaths of parents, even for adults, modify family patterns, change relationships, and alter old family rituals.

Unique to this book, Dr. Doka also explains how to cope with disenfranchised grief—the types of loss that are not so readily recognized or supported by society. These include the death of ex-spouses, as well as non-fatal losses such as divorce, the end of a friendship, job loss, or infertility. In addition, Dr. Doka considers losses that might be stigmatized, including death by suicide or from disease or self-destructive behaviors such as smoking or alcoholism.

Since no two people experience grief in the exact same way, Grief Is a Journey offers a variety of self-help strategies for coping with grief. It delineates the many ways we can create personal and private therapeutic rituals throughout our grief journey. This book also offers counsel on when—and where—to seek professional assistance. And finally, Dr. Doka reminds us that, however painful, grief provides opportunities for growth.
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