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And all subsided in the hush
that followed, in the calm
of great wings folding
and shadowy forms lying down.

I rose and left that room,
the house of my grief
and my bondage, my book
never again to be opened.

To see as once I saw,
steadied by the darkness
in which I walked
and would make my way.

John Haines


Home   < Grief Recovery Articles  < The Difference Between Grief and Mourning

The Difference Between Grief and Mourning

by David Fireman, LCSW

It is critical to know the difference between grief and mourning. Both processes are there to help the bereaved face the reality that their loved one is gone and then to slowly begin to accommodate to that fact. This accommodation phase is essentially the ongoing process of adjustment the mourner must make both internally (psychologically) and externally (socially, behaviorally) to his/her loss. Grief is the natural psychological, behavioral, social, and physical response which helps the mourner recognize the loss and get ready for the larger and often longer experience of mourning. As Therese A. Rando says, “Grief is actually the beginning part of mourning.” Mourning that is not complicated by certain risk factors (see article on Rando’s 7 risk factors for complicated grief and mourning), may last a number of years if not forever under some circumstances. Uncomplicated acute grief, on the other hand, may last a number of months and in some cases, even longer. In other words, one can mourn but not be in acute grief. Therefore, by definition, mourning is a more encompassing phenomenon that involves more than grief.

The distinction between grief and mourning is important in treatment considerations. Many therapists help bereaved individuals with expressing their feelings, thoughts, and reactions to the loss (grief), but not with the next challenges, such as adapting to the new world without the deceased (mourning). Consequently, mourners can be left alone to restructure themselves and their worlds after a loss.

 

Copyright, 2011
David Fireman, LCSW
773/274-4600
www.griefcounselor.org

 

 

The Center is expanding.

Center for Grief Recovery and Therapeutic Services has immediate openings for two full-time licensed psychologists. Click here for more information

The Center is expanding. Click here to for more about our newest clincial professional counselor, Elizabeth Cerven


New Groups

The Center is now taking names for new Healing Our Losses Group. See attached flyer and FAQ for detailed info. Contact Us by phone or email to find out more.

New Workshops
Center colleague Allan Schnarr, MDiv, PhD offering new CHANGE OF HEART . . . . Vulnerability and Self-transcendence workshop . . . [read more]

Center colleague Allan Schnarr, MDiv, PhD offering new "TRANSFORMING LOVE - Creativity as a way of new life" workshop . . . [read more]

News and Events
Thank You! Our 30th Anniversary celebration was a hit. To read more, click on this link.

Center Grief Recovery celebrates 30 Years with Open House Fundraiser. To learn more, click on this link.

We are excited to announce that Paul Martin, PsyD has become the Center's assistant director. To learn more about Paul's practice click on this link.

The Center Expands Again! Please join us in welcoming Megan Kelleher, LCSW who comes to us with wonderfully empathic presence, and a broad range of helping skills. You can learn more about her by visiting our Therapists section or clicking on this link.

Community Walk for Grief Support: Celebrating 25 Years of Transformation
The Center celebrated its 25th year anniversary with a fund raiser walk in Rogers Park, Chicago on June 4.
[read more]

New Articles

New interview on ideas for what to say and do to support the bereaved, by the Center's Meg Kelleher, LCSW. [read here]

Pain Bonds Us - I feel close to you when you let your pain show. A protective shield inside me slides away. [read more]

Private Practice: Dynamic Psychotherapy and Bereavement Counseling (CEU) [read more]

You Know Therapy Is Working When . . . - You feel increasingly uncomfortable with the status quo when it is causing harm. [read more]

Ideas About Mourning - For the griever the future feels shattered; everything hoped for is broken and gone/ lost like a broken mirror. [read more]

Myths and Realities of Mourning - Regrettably, our society maintains a host of unrealistic assumptions and inappropriate expectations when it comes to the work of grief and mourning. Here are some myths to consider: [read more]

The Difference Between Grief and Mourning - It is critical to know the difference between grief and mourning. Both processes are there to help the bereaved face the reality that their loved one is gone and then to slowly begin to accommodate to that fact. [read more]



 
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