News & Press

The Paradoxes of Mourning: Part 1 of 3 Copy

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. Creating Hello Opportunities Paradox 1: Families must say hello before they can say goodbye.   A paradox is a seemingly self-contradictory statement or situation that is in fact often true. The paradox of mourning we will consider...

In Praise of Slow Funerals

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   Have you ever noticed that we are speed-obsessed these days, even though faster is often not better? A century ago, the Industrial Revolution brought about mass production and with it an emphasis on speed, efficiency, and productivity....

The Paradoxes of Mourning: Part 1 of 3

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. Creating Hello Opportunities Paradox 1: Families must say hello before they can say goodbye.   A paradox is a seemingly self-contradictory statement or situation that is in fact often true. The paradox of mourning we will consider...

The Paradoxes of Mourning: Part 2 of 3

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. The Dark Night of the Soul Paradox 2: Mourners must make friends with the darkness before they can enter the light.   A paradox is a seemingly self-contradictory statement or situation that is in fact often true. The paradox of mourning...

Grieving the Death of a Celebrity

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   When someone we have admired from afar dies, it’s normal and natural to experience grief. This article will help you understand your thoughts and feelings over the death of a celebrity and find healing ways to mourn.   What is...

Why Is the Funeral Ritual Important?

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   “When words are inadequate, have a ritual.”  — Author Unknown Rituals are symbolic activities that help us, together with our families and friends, express our deepest thoughts and feelings about life’s most important events.  Baptism...

Helping Your Family Heal After Stillbirth

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   Stillbirth is a profound loss Few events in life bring about such warm and wonderful feelings of anticipation as the announcement of a pregnancy. As soon as you and your family learned you were expecting, you naturally began to have...

Reaching Out for Help When You Are Grieving

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   “Action is the antidote to despair.”  – Joan Baez When someone you love dies, you must mourn if you are to renew your capacity for love.  In other words, mourning brings healing.  But healing also requires the support and...

Helping Yourself Heal During the Holiday Season

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   Holidays are often difficult for anyone who has experienced the death of someone loved.  Rather than being times of family togetherness, sharing and thanksgiving, holidays can bring feelings of sadness, loss and emptiness.   Love...

Helping Yourself Heal When a Pet Dies

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   A pet is a family member, too A pet is often a member of the family. In fact, surveys show some interesting facts about pet owners: 84 percent consider their animals family members; 99 percent talk to their pets, and 54 percent...

Helping Your Family Personalize a Funeral

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   If you are in the midst of planning a funeral, you may be feeling overwhelmed right now.  Many details must be attended to. Many people must be contacted.  Many decisions must be made. Your natural and necessary feelings of grief make...

Helping Teenagers Cope with Grief

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   Each year thousands of teenagers experience the death of someone they love. When a parent, sibling, friend or relative dies, teens feel the overwhelming loss of someone who helped shape their fragile self-identities. And these feelings...

Helping a Friend in Grief

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. “While the above guidelines will be helpful, it is important to recognize that helping a grieving friend will not be an easy task.  You may have to give more concern, time and love that you ever knew you had.  But this effort will be...

Exploring the Uniqueness of Your Suicide Grief

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   “The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love, and to be greater than our suffering.” —Ben Okri The wilderness of your grief is your wilderness. The death of someone from...

Helping Your Family Heal After Miscarriage

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   Miscarriage is a significant loss It is normal and natural to hurt deeply after miscarriage. While others may imply or outright tell you that miscarriage happens too early on for you to be attached to the baby, or that miscarriage is...

Helping a Grandparent Who Is Grieving

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   “When a grandchild dies, grandparents grieve twice.  They mourn the loss of the child and they feel the pain of their own child’s suffering.  Sometimes we forget about the grandparents when a child dies.  You can help by...

Helping a Grieving Friend in the Workplace

By Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   “Grief is a long, painful journey.  As the friend of a grieving coworker, you can choose to help make the journey more tolerable.  Tell your coworker how sorry you are and listen if she wants to talk.  Be available to her in the...

Helping Yourself Heal When an Adult Sibling Dies

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   “To the outside world we all grow old.  But not to brothers and sisters.  We know each other as we always were.  We know each other’s hearts.  We share private family jokes.  We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs...

Helping Yourself Heal When a Parent Dies

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   Your mother or father has died.  Whether you had a good, bad or indifferent relationship with the parent who died, your feelings for him or her were probably quite strong.  At bottom, most of us love our parents deeply.  And they love...

Helping Children Understand Cremation

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   The adult as role model and helper A child you care about is grieving the loss of someone loved.  If you, too, loved the person who died, you are now faced with the difficult but critical task of helping both yourself and the child...

Helping Children with Funerals

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. The adult as role model and helper A child you care about is grieving.  If you, too, loved the person who died, you are now faced with the difficult but critical task of helping both yourself and the child heal.  Throughout the coming months...

Helping Yourself Heal When Your Child Dies

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   “The experience of grief is powerful. So, too, is your ability to help yourself heal. In doing the work of grieving, you are moving toward a renewed sense of meaning and purpose in your life.” ~ ~ ~ Allow yourself to mourn Your...

Helping Children Cope With Grief

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   Adults grieve. So do children. As an adult or child, experiencing grief means to “feel,” not just to “understand.” Anyone old enough to love is old enough to grieve. Even before children are able to talk, they grieve when someone loved...

Helping Yourself Heal When Your Spouse Dies

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   “The experience of grief is powerful. So, too, is your ability to help yourself heal. In doing the work of grieving, you are moving toward a renewed sense of meaning and purpose in your life.” ~ ~ ~ Acknowledge your loss...

The Spiritual Path to Healing: An Introduction

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   After the death of someone loved, you are “torn apart” and have some very unique needs. Among these needs is to nurture yourself in five important areas: physically, emotionally, cognitively, socially, and spiritually. In the coming...

The Importance of Hope

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   “Today… I open my heart’s hand to allow… the touch of hope.” — Julia Cameron Someone you love has died.  In your heart you have come to know your deepest pain. Your grief has brought challenges that seem beyond your own capacity to...

You’re Not Going Crazy — You’re Grieving!

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   In his beautiful book A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis described his experience after the death of his wife. He wrote, “An odd by-product of my loss is that I’m aware of being an embarrassment to everyone I meet… Perhaps the bereaved ought...

Nurturing Yourself When You’re Grieving

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   “There is nothing in nature that can’t be taken as a sign of both mortality and invigoration.” — Gretel Ehrlich The word “bereaved,” which to our modern-day ears can sound like an old-fashioned term that only a funeral director might...

The Journey Through Grief: The Six Needs of Mourning

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   The death of someone loved changes our lives forever.  And the movement from the “before” to the “after” is almost always a long, painful journey.  From my own experiences with loss as well as those of the thousands of grieving people...

Open to the Presence of Your Loss

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   “In every heart there is an inner room, where we can hold our greatest treasures and our deepest pain.”  – Marianne Williamson When someone you love dies, you come to know your deepest pain. From my own experiences with loss as...

Mustering the Courage to Mourn

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   “Whatever you do, you need courage.”  — Ralph Waldo Emerson Loss brings uninvited pain into our lives. In opening to the presence of the pain of your loss, in acknowledging the inevitability of the pain, in being willing to...

Helping Yourself Heal When Someone Dies

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   Someone you love has died You are now faced with the difficult, but important, need to mourn.  Mourning is the open expression of your thoughts and feelings regarding the death and the person who has died.  It is an essential part of...

The Mourner’s Bill of Rights

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   Though you should reach out to others as you do the work of mourning, you should not feel obligated to accept the unhelpful responses you may receive from some people.  You are the one who is grieving, and as such, you have certain...

Exploring Your Feelings of Loss

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   “There is no right response to death. You make it up as you go along.” – Joan Connor On your journey through the wilderness of your grief, a critical trail marker to be on the watch for is Touchstone Four, which guides you in...

Helping a Suicide Survivor Heal

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. Historian Arnold Toynbee once wrote, “There are always two parties to a death: the person who dies and the survivors who are bereaved.” Unfortunately, many survivors of suicide suffer alone and in silence. The silence that surrounds them...

Helping a Friend in Grief

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. A friend has experienced the death of someone loved. You want to help, but you are not sure how to go about it. This article will guide you in ways to turn your cares and concerns into positive actions. Listen with your heart Helping begins...

Embracing the Sadness of Grief

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   “In every heart there is an inner room, where we can hold our greatest treasures and our deepest pain.”  — Marianne Williamson Sadness is a hallmark symptom of grief, which in turn is the consequence of losing something we care about....