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Understanding Your Grief: Ten Essential Touchstones for Finding Hope and Healing Your Heart Paperback – February 1, 2004

4.7 out of 5 stars 112 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Alan D. Wolfelt, PhD, is a grief counselor and the director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition. He is the author of "Healing" "Your Grieving Heart," "The Journey Through Grief," "Transcending Divorce,""" and "Understanding Your Grief," He lives in Fort Collins, Colorado.
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Product Details

  • Series: Understanding Your Grief
  • Paperback: 164 pages
  • Publisher: Companion Press; 1 edition (February 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1879651351
  • ISBN-13: 978-1879651357
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,929 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Of all the books I've read since my son was killed (and there are plenty), this one would be at the top of the recommendation list for the bereaved to read. It thoroughly covers every facet of grief that one will ever experience along the journey. For once, I had my own worst time of day acknowledged and explained. In our mourning-avoiding society, this book validates and fortifies the bereaved. In addition, Ph.D. Wolfelt adeptly and compassionately shows the way to integrate grief into a positive transformation toward a new life of hope as our loved ones would want us to live.

(Note: Knowing the nature of grief as it is, I suggest this book might be best read months after an intense loss. Otherwise you may find yourself reading each sentence or paragraph over and over trying to make sense of it due to the inherent lack of concentration caused by the severe assault to the mind as well as the heart. Where ever you are along the grief journey, it is never too late to read this book and begin proactive healing.)
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Format: Paperback
Enduring the pain of losing a loved one is certainly among life's biggest trials, and there is no "quick fix" for dealing with the grief. Before you can solve a problem you must understand it, so it's helpful to have some expert assistance for such a big endeavor. This book offers a step-by-step guide through the process, answering tough questions, dispelling myths, and dispensing advice along the way. Dr. Wolfelt is a compassionate, experienced and knowledgeable voice who presents his approach to the grieving process logically and efficiently. Ten "touchstones" make up the pathway, labeled with words like dispel, embrace, recognize, and nurture. Taking an organized approach to something like grief might sound impossible, but it may well be a critical part of making it through a very difficult time.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I lost my brother I had a lot people provide me with support, and encouraging words, but I still felt alone. I saw a grief counselor and she suggested this book. I loved it-- It's a great tool for dealing with the loss of someone close. It helped me realize that a lot of my feelings were natural. I could summarize the book, but if you lost someone recently and need support-- this is a great book and a useful tool.
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Having lost my husband, I feel a huge loss and void in my life. I was frantic to find some way to get through the abyss...and this book was recommended to me. Initially, I found the author to be very repetitive, so reading it was somewhat tedious. As I reached Touchstone Four, I noticed that what he was saying really spoke to me and described what I am feeling/dealing with pretty accurately. I realize now that Wolfelt's repetitive style is designed for people who are grieving and mourning, because the grieving process causes loss of concentration and decreased ability to retain information. You are numb with grief and yet your brain is in over-drive, so the repetition helps what he is saying to really sink in.

I am using this book as the "course outline and textbook", so to speak, for a bereavement group that I am attending. The book and it's accompanying journal are great for giving each member of our group focus on the tasks and issues at hand and keeping us from wandering aimlessly in the confusion of our grief. I have attended groups after other losses in my life, but this one is the best because it does have strong guidance and direction from both the author and our chaplain.

A friend of mine just lost his father...when I am finished with it, I think I will pass this book along to him.
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Format: Paperback
I like this book. Given we're living in an environment in which the grieving are being squeezed between the myth of the stages of grief and the "new science" of grief which seems to think people should be over it in 6 months, this book gets it right. He clearly explains the whys and wherefores of grief and offers solid practical steps for coping and healing.

My only reservation is that it's rather dense. For people who are newly grieving, it's probably way too much information, too soon. You're ready for this book when you can read a paragraph once and understand what it says.

Susan Fuller
Author How To Survive Your Grief: When Someone You Love Has Died
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I've recently completed an annotated bibliography of books on grief for the hospice where I volunteer. I read over twenty and if I were asked which one I'd recommend first, it would be this one.

One of the problems in writing a book is that you are writing to readers who are stressed, torn in different directions, and may have trouble focusing. So it's important to get a lot across in an accessible way. Wolfelt does this.

Each "Touchstone" is clearly discussed with concrete suggestions of how to work through it. The Touchstones more or less follow a chronological order, though he stresses the grief process is not linear, and that there are not stages that one works through, one, two, three.

Wolstone has written a companion book on keeping a journal and makes a number of suggestions of what might write. I know from personal experience how helpful writing can be in dealing with grief, though I am not oriented toward journals. If you are, I think it would be worthwhile checking out that book as well as reading this.
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