“Stories of Complicated Grief: A Critical Anthology”

25 October 2013: I had the pleasure of taking part in this very special project on complicated grief, titled Stories of Complicated Grief: A Critical Anthology, edited by Eric Miller, PhD. It will soon be released by NASW Press, and if you order a copy now, you will receive a discount off the list price.

The book’s dedicated website gives this description of the project:

Death. Sadness. Depression. Heartache. Pain.

These are words commonly used to describe the range of emotions that individuals experience when dealing with the loss of a loved one, a chronic illness, or an unwanted life-changing event.

Grief is often a difficult issue for people to deal with, and there is no right or wrong way to grieve, but there are healthy ways to cope with loss. Stories of Complicated Grief: A Critical Anthology is authored by social work and other human service scholars who have personally experienced complicated, protracted, or otherwise difficult grief and who write openly about their experiences but also place their stories in a larger academic context. This is the sense in which the book constitutes a “critical anthology” and fills a void in the academic, clinical, and general literature.

The authors in this volume discuss how their experiences of loss and grief, though harrowing, ultimately allowed them degrees of personal growth and betterment—with particular emphasis on the importance of giving voice to one’s experience in writing. Powerful and moving as the stories are in their own right, they are notable in that they all highlight academic issues regarding the nature of loss and grief, shedding light on what it means to experience complicated grief while weaving in related topics such as cultural differences, stigma, shame, losses, and traumas other than death.

These accounts provide both clinical and practical insights on the nature of complicated grief for practitioners, researchers, and laypeople, making Stories of Complicated Grief an invaluable, unprecedented resource for clinicians, academics, and anyone grappling with the effects of complicated grief in their own life.

On the website you can also find a list of contents (my contribution is Chapter 3), the book’s preface, and information about the editor, Eric Miller, PhD. This book is truly a unique contribution to the literature on complicated grief.

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