THE COURAGE TO GRIEVE by Judy Tatelbaum

THE COURAGE TO GRIEVE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A Gestalt therapist takes a stab at grief: no sparks, but some quiet ruminative moments for those so inclined. Unlike KÃœbler-Ross, Tatelbaum recognizes only three stages of grief: shock or numbness (a natural self-protection against overwhelming feelings); suffering and disorganization (the longest and most crucial stage, where we risk becoming bogged down in guilt, unacceptable anger, etc.); and a period of reorganization on our way to resolution (or ""finishing""). Where our abilities to confront the pain directly are limited, so are our chances for recovery; Tatelbaum discusses the toll of ""unsuccessful"" grief, the need to go over and over images and feelings about the deceased until we can let go of them. In extreme cases, she would have us try the Gestalt hallmark: a direct, chair-to-chair dramatized encounter with the loved one who has gone, wherein we vocalize all the things (""unfinished business"") we never got a chance to state before (e.g., anger at abandonment, or simply ""good-bye""). Though this will never dazzle with its depth (""The best solution for unsuccessful grief. . . is to resolve the grief as fully as possible""), it's a low-key treatment that may soothe effectively.

Pub Date: Oct. 22nd, 1980
Publisher: Lippincott & Crowell