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The Healing Journey Through GriefReview - The Healing Journey Through Grief
Your Journal for Reflection and Recovery
by Phil Rich, EdD, MSW
John Wiley and Sons, 1999
Review by Margo McPhillips
May 19th 1999 (Volume 3, Issue 20)

I found this to be a comfortable, sane book. In the beginning, Rich provides suggestions how to approach the book, explaining how it is laid out. These suggestions are not demands, giving plenty of leeway for a personal approach to the book.  They are sound common sense and felt reassuring, which made me want to continue reading.

Each chapter starts with an illustrative case, followed by an explanation about that part of the grief process covered in that particular chapter. There are summary sentences in the margins for the important sections of a chapter and I found myself nodding my head as I read them. As pleasant as the reading was, I wanted to get to the journal portion and "my" grief so I grew a bit impatient with all the words. It was then that I most enjoyed the little summary sentences allowing me to control the pace somewhat.

The journal portions are very structured, formatted mostly in sentence completion, fill-in-the-blank or list style. There are a few short, timed essays to write. Following the subtopics in each chapter is a grayed-in box, "Things To Think About", which helps to focus one's attention back on what one has just written and complete the topic. The things to think about also help carry forward what you have learned into your present and future experiences.

I was initially curious about the book because of past losses and anticipated future ones, and whether there would be anything in it for me, now. There’s a lot of reading material that is as helpful for a person merely interested in those topics (for example, relationships or how to make good decisions) as it is for persons who are working through a loss. I think I learned nearly as much about myself and life from this book as I did about grief. Though I haven’t mentioned it previously, if I had to use one word to sum up this book, that word would be "warm". This would be a good book to have around whenever one were feeling sad for any reason.


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