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John James, founder of The Grief Recovery Institute

John W. James

Founder of The Grief Recovery Institute®
Co-Author of The Grief Recovery
Handbook & When Children Grieve

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Russell Friedman, Executive Director of The Grief Recovery Institute

Russell Friedman

Executive Director
Co-Author of The Grief Recovery
Handbook & When Children Grieve

Featured Article

Is It Ever Too Soon To Recover?

Conflicting opinions from a wide variety of sources confuse the question of when to begin a process of completing what was left emotionally incomplete when someone important to you dies. Medical, psychological, societal and family experts all approach the issue from different perspectives.

It is not uncommon for us to hear of people being told by a mental health professional, "It's too soon to begin your grief work, you're not ready yet." We grit our teeth every time we hear that comment. Imagine that you have fallen down and gashed your leg and that blood is gushing from the wound. Then imagine someone walking by and saying: "It's too soon, you’re not ready for medical attention yet."

What if circumstances and events have broken your heart? Imagine that you are experiencing the massive and conflicting emotions caused by the death of someone important to you. Then imagine a friend, or worse, a professional, saying to you: "It's too soon, you’re not ready for emotional attention yet."

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Ask John & Russell – "I don't know what to say" is often the best thing to say. (Published 4/28/2015)


My cousin's husband was murdered. She and her husband were a wonderful couple, educated and successful. The killing was brutal. I grew up with my cousin, but as adults we haven’t been close. I don't know what words of comfort I can possibly offer. I cannot get my mind around the senselessness of this loss. I'm hurt for my cousin, and furious at the person who did this with no regard for the devastation he was leaving behind. What can I say to her?

Russell Friedman Replies:

Dear Anon,

Thanks for your note and question.

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Find Local Support

If you or someone important to you wants help with grief: Look for a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist℠ in your community. The Grief Recovery Institute ® trains and mentors Certified Grief Recovery Specialists℠ throughout the United States & Canada.

See Russell and John's blog at Psychology Today

Workshops & Training Schedule

The Grief Recovery Institute ® offers Certification Training programs for those who wish to help grievers.

    April 2015
    Melbourne, VIC, Australia - April 9-12, 2015
    San Francisco, CA - April 10-13, 2015
    Memphis, TN - April 17-20, 2015
    Denver, CO - April 17-20, 2015
    Omaha, NE - April 24-27, 2015
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada - April 24-27, 2015
    Monterrey, NL, Mexico - April 24-27, 2015
  • May 2015
    Princeton, NJ - May 1-4, 2015
    Portland, OR - May 1-4, 2015
    Los Angeles, CA - May 15-18, 2015
    Indianapolis, IN - May 15-18, 2015
    Brisbane, QLD, Australia - May 21-24, 2015
    Mexico City, DF, Mexico -May 29-June 1, 2015
    Vancouver, BC, Canada - May 29-June 1, 2015

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