Grief is the natural, healthy, spontaneous, unlearned, normal, emotional, healing process that occurs after a significant loss. Grief is experienced uniquely by each of us, and is often experienced in waves, with emotions, thinking, physical, social and spiritual/religious responses coming and going in terms of the intensity, duration and order of our reactions to the loss.
One of the keys to coping is awareness. Awareness is helped if you can learn about yourself. This holistic grief scale is for you to help yourself gain knowledge of your grief, and then to do something with that new awareness.
There are 5 sections in the grief scale. Each section represents a part of being human. They include: emotional, cognitive, physical, social, and spiritual/religious.

The Center for Grief Recovery’s Holistic Grief Scale

To be able to understand the waves of grief we have ranked each experience from 1 to 10: 1 being the low end of the scale and 10 the most intense. For example, if you have been experiencing helplessness since the death, and it is causing you to feel increasingly incompetent, frozen, or unable to exert your personal power in the world, then you would rate yourself near a 10 on helplessness.
After you have completed the scale you will have a picture of your grief at this moment in time. It is a good idea for you to periodically return to the scale and rate yourself again. You will then have a chart of your progress.
Remember that the grief scale can also capture your current experience not only after a death, but after some significant change or transition in your life, such as the loss of a job, divorce, move to another country, etc.
If you score in the severe range of the scale on most or all of the dimensions, we recommend you seek professional help.

The 5 Components of the Holistic Grief Scale

Emotional Components


Cognitive Components


Physical Components


Social Components


Spiritual/Religious Components

By, David Fireman, LCSW