The Five Ways We Grieve

The Five Ways We Grieve Cover

The Five Ways We Grieve

Finding Your Personal Path to Healing After the Loss of a Loved One

By Susan A. Berger

Trumpeter, Paperback, 9781590308998, 223pp.

Publication Date: March 8, 2011


In this new approach to understanding the impact of grief, Susan A. Berger goes beyond the commonly held theories of stages of grief with a new typology for self-awareness and personal growth. She offers practical advice for healing from a major loss in this presentation of five basic ways, or types, of grieving. These five types describe how different people respond to a major loss. The types are:

   •  Nomads, who have not yet resolved their grief and don’t often understand how their loss has affected their lives
   •  Memorialists, who are committed to preserving the memory of their loved ones by creating concrete memorials and rituals to honor them
   •  Normalizers, who are committed to re-creating a sense of family and community
   •  Activists, who focus on helping other people who are dealing with the same disease or issues that caused their loved one’s death
   •  Seekers, who adopt religious, philosophical, or spiritual beliefs to create meaning in their lives

Drawing on research results and anecdotes from working with the bereaved over the past ten years, Berger examines how a person’s worldview is affected after a major loss. According to her findings, people experience significant changes in their sense of mortality, their values and priorities, their perception of and orientation toward time, and the manner in which they “fit” in society. The five types of grieving, she finds, reflect the choices people make in their efforts to adapt to dramatic life changes.

By identifying with one of the types, readers who have suffered a recent loss—or whose lives have been shaped by an early loss—find ways of understanding the impact of the loss and of living more fully.

About the Author
Susan A. Berger, EdD, LICSW, counsels people who are confronting significant loss and other life changes. She also trains professionals in using her unique approach to helping the bereaved. She has twenty-five years' experience in the health and mental health fields as a researcher, practitioner, administrator, and consultant in both Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. She lectures widely in professional healthcare, business, government, and university settings. She has held faculty appointments at three colleges, teaching courses in human behavior and psychology. She has also served as a hospice volunteer. Dr. Berger is herself a survivor of early parental loss.

Praise For The Five Ways We Grieve

“Author Susan A. Berger offers a fascinating new view of what happens to people who lose loved ones.  The Five Ways We Grieve helps us to discover who we have become in order to give our lives meaning and purpose.”—Patriot Ledger

“This compelling volume is a treasure trove of penetrating insights. Dr. Berger will bring needed solace to many grieving hearts.”—Rabbi Earl A. Grollman, DHL, DD, author of Living When a Loved One Has Died

“Offers a fresh new approach to understanding and coping with the major losses every human being experiences.  Dr. Susan A. Berger gives bereaved people a useful tool for interpreting their responses to a loss and creating a new normal for their lives.”—Bob Deits, author of Life after Loss

“A treasure trove of penetrating insights. Dr. Susan A. Berger’s lucid and thoughtfully researched writing contains personal experiences, clinical examples, and penetrating questions to ponder. Although she takes us deeply into the realm of human torment, the essential message is one of hope as she assists us in transforming tragedy into growth. Dr. Berger will bring needed solace to many grieving hearts.”—Rabbi Earl A. Grollman, DHL, DD, author of Living When a Loved One Has Died

“This book offers hope with a plan—in the form of new ways to recognize, define, and focus on our changed identity and worldview after loss. As a child therapist specializing in illness and loss, I found this book immediately helpful.”—Sallie A. Sanborn, MS, child therapist and contributor to The Goldfish Went on Vacation