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  • Katherine Mackenzie

Grief Guide Part 1: Understanding Grief

Updated: Jun 3

Grief is a multifaceted response to loss, encompassing emotional, physical, and psychological dimensions. It is often described as a deep sorrow that follows the death of a loved one, but it can also arise from other significant life changes, such as divorce or job loss. According to the American Psychological Association, grief can manifest in various ways, including sadness, anger, guilt, and confusion.

Common responses to grief include emotional symptoms like intense sadness, crying, and feelings of hopelessness. Physically, individuals may experience fatigue, changes in appetite, and sleep disturbances. Psychologically, grief can lead to difficulties in concentrating, anxiety, and depression. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology found that 15-20% of individuals experiencing grief develop prolonged grief disorder, characterized by persistent and severe grief symptoms [1].

The purpose of this guide is to provide a basic understanding of grief and offer practical strategies for managing its effects. It will explore different types of grief, such as normal, complicated, and anticipatory grief, and discusses various therapeutic approaches, including psychodynamic therapy, expressive arts therapy, and somatic therapy. Additionally, this guide includes practical coping strategies like self-care practices, mindfulness, and physical activity, as well as advice on when to seek professional help.


  1. Prigerson HG, Horowitz MJ, Jacobs SC, Parkes CM, Aslan M, Goodkin K, et al.. Prolonged grief disorder: psychometric validation of criteria proposed for DSM-V and ICD-11. PLoS Med. (2009) 6:1–12. 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000121

  2. Wolfelt, A. (2013). The Journey Through Grief: Reflections on Healing. Fort Collins, CO: Companion Press.

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