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The 50 Greatest Self-Help Books

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Grief and Bereavement
Self Help Books

The experience of loss and grief is a universal human phenomenon. Our culture provides few ritual practices to guide the bereaved through this process. In addition there is often a conspiracy of silence where close friends and even family may hesitate to speak openly about the deceased to avoid “upsetting” the grieving person. Continue reading Grief and Bereavement article»

See also:Death and Dying; Self Esteem and Self Confidence

Best Self Help Books on Grief and Bereavement

The Bereaved Parent by Harriet SchiffA Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis"These are the self help books on Grief and Bereavement I recommend most frequently."
David Yarian, Ph.D.






More Recommended Self Help Books on Grief and Bereavement

The Bereaved Parent by Harriet SchiffThe Bereaved Parent
Harriet Schiff

This classic self help book has helped thousands of parents navigate through the difficult years following the death of a child. Schiff offers her own experiences and the experiences of other parents with funerals, protracted grief, the need for support from other bereaved parents, the complicated feelings of guilt and powerlessness at being unable to protect or save one’s child, and the effects on marriage and surviving siblings. 1977, Crown
A 50 Greatest Self Help Book

 


Beyond Endurance: When a Child Dies by Ronald KnappBeyond Endurance: When a Child Dies
Ronald Knapp

The author interviewed 400 families who have experienced the death of a child. He presents the unique and common experiences for three types of death: death after a long illness, sudden or accidental death, and death by murder. He covers the grieving process, dealing with the hospital, and coping behavior and provides suggestions for mourning parents. 2005, AuthorHouse


Death Be Not Proud by John guntherDeath Be Not Proud: A Memoir
John Gunther

During the months of his illness everyone near Johnny Gunther was unforgettably impressed by his level-headed courage, his wit and quiet friendliness, and above all, his unfaltering patience through times of despair. This deeply moving self help book is a father’s memoir of a brave, intelligent, and spirited boy. 2007, Harper Perennial Modern Classics


A Grief Observed by C.S. LewisA Grief Observed
C. S. Lewis

This powerful memoir recounts the crushing grief and spiritual questioning of C. S. Lewis after his wife’s tragic death. It is a moving account of the inner turmoil and overwhelming vulnerability of grief. The book is a beautiful and unflinchingly honest memoir of how even a stalwart believer can lose all sense of meaning in the universe, and how he can gradually regain his bearings. 2001, HarperSanFrancisco
A 50 Greatest Self Help Book

 


The Grief Recovery Handbook by John James and Frank Cherry'The Grief Recovery Handbook: The Action Program for Moving Beyond Death, Divorce and Other Losses
John James and Frank Cherry

The authors present a five-step approach to grief recovery including awareness of grief, accepting responsibility, identifying recovery communications, taking action and moving beyond loss. They understand grief as a growth process and offer an authentic and accessible plan for recovery from loss. 2009, Harper Paperbacks 


Grief's Courageous Journey by Sandi CaplanGrief's Courageous Journey: A Workbook
Sandi Caplan

Grieving is an intensely personal process. If you're mourning a loss, this book guides you at your own pace along the path of your own healing journey. It provides a compassionate program of steps to take for coping with day-to-day life and accepting the changes in yourself and others. Guided by a sequence of journaling exercises and suggestions for creating healing personal rituals, you can use this self help book to tell the story of your relationship with the person who died, grieve your loss, and safely remember the past.
You will also learn techniques for redefining your present life and re-creating your sense of future. 1995, New Harbinger


Grieving Mindfully bySameet KumarGrieving Mindfully: A Compassionate And Spiritual Guide To Coping With Loss
Sameet M. Kumar

Grieving readers will find in Grieving Mindfully a new understanding of their own grief process. They will learn about the spiral staircase, a metaphor used to describe the ebb and flow of emotional pain that typically follows loss. The book offers readers new ways to cope with the events and situations that trigger personal grief by using mindfulness exercises and radical acceptance, a concept that encourages the experience of grief rather than its denial. Ultimately, this self help book presents strategies for making life more meaningful by acknowledging death and working to embrace life. 2005, New Harbinger


Healing After the Suicide of a Loved One by Ann SmolinHealing After the Suicide of a Loved One
Ann Smolin

The survivor of a person who has ended his or her own life is left a painful legacy: grief, depression, guilt, rage, despair. Healing After the Suicide Of a Loved One steers the reader away from the torture of self-blame and points to the path of healing and recovery. Filled with case studies, valuable advice, resources, and a directory of suicide support groups nationwide, this valuable self help book lends the reader strength and hope to go on living. 1993, Fireside


Helping Children Grieve: when someone they love dies by theresa HuntleyHelping Children Grieve: When Someone They Love Dies
Theresa Huntley

This self help book guides parents in helping their children cope with death. It uses a developmental approach explaining how children of different ages understand death. The author gives sound advice on how to talk about death to children. 2002, Augsburg Fortress


How to Go on Living When Someone You Love Dies by Therese RandoHow to Go on Living When Someone You Love Dies
Therese Rando

This highly recommended self help book covers a wide variety of grief circumstances. Rando describes a number of ways to cope, emphasizing that there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Each person's response to loss will be different, and the book helps the reader to understand and resolve grief, talk to children about death, resolve unfinished business, accept help and support of others and get through holidays and other difficult times of the year. 1991, Bantam

Pick of the Month Self Help BookThis book was a Pick of the Month Self Help Book! Read David's full Book Review.


How to Survive the Loss of a Love by Melba Colgrove, Harold Bloomfield and Peter McWilliamsHow to Survive the Loss of a Love
Melba Colgrove, Harold Bloomfield and Peter McWilliams

This best-selling self help book has helped people cope with many types of loss: tangible losses – the death of a loved one, divorce, robbery; intangible losses – moving, surpassing a goal; age-related transitional losses – leaving home, aging, menopause; being in limbo – awaiting the outcome of medical tests, going through a lawsuit, having a loved one missing in action. There are many short chapters, each of which addresses an aspect of loss and healing. 1993, Prelude Press


In the Wake of Suicide by Victoria AlexanderIn the Wake of Suicide: Stories of the People Left Behind
Victoria Alexander

In this self help book are breathtaking stories of incredible power for anyone struggling to find the meaning in the suicidal death of a loved one. After author Victoria Alexander’s mother took her life, she spent the next ten years collecting these stories from people like herself who have walked through one of life’s most difficult journeys. The result is a beautifully written book of powerful, spell-binding stories told by those who were left behind. 1997, Scribner


Living when a Young Friend Commits Suicide by Earl Grollman and Max MalicowLiving when a Young Friend Commits Suicide
Earl Grollman and Max Malicow


The authors offer solace and guidance to adolescents who are confronted with someone of their own age who has committed suicide. They focus on coming to grips with the reality of the suicide, and the need to cope with the experience and to continue with one’s life. 1999, Beacon Press


Lost Fathers by Laraine HerringLost Fathers: How Women Can Heal from Adolescent Father Loss
Laraine Herring

Every year an estimated one million teen girls in the United States experience the death of their fathers. Countless more lose their fathers to divorce, addiction, incarceration or abandonment. This authoritative self help guide for adult women helps you to understand how your behaviors and relationships may be shaped by losing your father at such an important time of your life. With gentle expertise, Herring blends personal stories, up-to-date psychological information and interactive exercises for readers in this healing guide. 2005, Hazelden


Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss by Hope ElelmanMotherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss
Hope Edelman

This self help book explores the profound pain of mother loss among women. As Edelman shares her own painful story and the stories of other women who lost their mothers, she describes the secondary effects that may occur, including the girl filling the lost mother’s role at home for father and younger siblings. 2006, Da Capo Press 


No Time to Say Goodbye: Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One by Carla FineNo Time to Say Goodbye: Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One
Carla Fine

In this comprehensive and well-written self help manual for suicide survivors, Fine offers advice for those recovering from the suicide of a marital partner, relative, or close friend. She provides insights into living beyond this tragedy, including dealing with feelings of guilt and anger, the stigma of suicide, and financial and legal problems; and she tells where to get help. She stresses that joining a peer support group is an important coping tool. 1999, Main Street Books


Recovering from the Loss of a Child by Katherine DonnellyRecovering from the Loss of a Child
Katherine Donnelly

When a child dies the pain and shock can seem unbearable but in sharing, understanding, and accepting this tragic loss, emotional recovery is possible. This groundbreaking self help book shows bereaved parents, siblings, and others how to cope with the loss of a child. Included are inspiring first-hand accounts from others who have survived this heart-breaking experience. 2001, iUniverse


Saying Good-Bye to the Pet You Love by Lorri A. GreeneSaying Good-Bye to the Pet You Love: A Complete Resource to Help You Heal
Lorri A. Greene

Written by a psychologist who is a leader in the field of pet bereavement, this practical but sympathetic guide validates the survivor’s often misunderstood feelings, explains the importance of the human-animal bond, and offers strategies for working through the grieving process. Some of the coping techniques include memorializing the pet, recognizing problematic thinking, and finding support. This self help book also covers dealing with guilt and explaining the pet’s death to a child. 2002, New Harbinger


Surviving the Deawth of Your Spouse by Deborah LevinsonSurviving the Death of Your Spouse: A Step-By-Step Workbook
Deborah S. Levinson

This self help book proposes a three-step model for understanding and adjusting to life after the loss of a spouse. The first step, called "Treading Water," describes the first phases of loss in which practical concerns share primacy with dealing with uncertainty and search for balance. "Pseudoequilibrium" follows, during which the surviving spouse seeks to redefine him or herself through new people and experiences. "Transition to Lift-off" and "Renewal and Resolution" occur at that point in the recovery process when the surviving spouse is ready to let go of the guilt and embrace the possibilities associated with continuing to live. The book guides the grieving spouse through each phase with step-by-step advice. 2004, New Harbinger


Talking About Death by Earl GrollmanTalking About Death: A Dialogue Between Parent and Child
Earl Grollman

This self help book consists of dialogues between parents and children and includes a children’s read-along section using appropriate language for children five and older. The book also includes a parent’s guide to talking about death which helps parents respond to children’s questions about death. 2011, Beacon


Transitions by William BridgesTransitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes, Revised 25th Anniversary Edition
William Bridges

This revered self help classic has helped hundreds of thousands of readers cope with change by providing an elegantly simple yet profoundly insightful roadmap of the transition process. 2004, Da Capo Press

 


The Widow's Handbook by Charlotte FoehnerThe Widow's Handbook: A Guide for Living
Charlotte Foehner

This is a great self help reference book with checklists to help a widow go through a trying time. Included is information on making funeral arrangements, selecting an attorney and financial advisor, dealing with wills, life insurance and survivor benefits and other practical issues facing those newly widowed. 1987, Fulcrum Publishing


When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold KushnerWhen Bad Things Happen to Good People
Harold Kushner

Harold Kushner, a Jewish rabbi facing his own child's fatal illness, deftly guides us through the inadequacies of the traditional answers to the problem of evil, then provides a uniquely practical and compassionate answer that has appealed to millions of readers across all religious creeds. Remarkable for its intensely relevant real-life examples and its fluid prose, this self help book cannot go unread by anyone who has ever been troubled by the question, "Why me?" 2004, AnchorA 50 Greatest Self Help Book

 


Working It Through by Elisabeth Kubler-RossWorking It Through
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Through words and pictures, this self help book serves as a testament to the human ability to survive and transcend the most difficult trials in life. It covers a wide range of grieving experiences including emotions, the significance of music, the loss of a child, suicide and spiritual awareness. 1997, Scribner

 


The Worst Loss by Barbara RosofThe Worst Loss: How Families Heal from the Death of a Child
Barbara Rosof

Each week some nineteen hundred American families are faced with the death of a child – the most harrowing of losses. Rosof offers compassionate advice to help parents cope. She explains why grieving is crucial to recovery, how the partners’ relationship may be affected, and the ways surviving siblings grieve. This self help book includes families telling the story of their children’s death and their aftermath. 1995, Owl Books


Grief and Bereavement Self Help Resources