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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

Am I Paranoid, Or Are People Really Avoiding Me?

The simple answer to the question posed in the title of this article is, “No, you’re not paranoid, people really may be avoiding you.”

Even though you may feel like you’re slogging though emotional quicksand, in some respects you might have a heightened awareness of what is going on around you. In particular, you may sense people are avoiding you or changing the subject—away from the cause of your grief—if and when they do talk with you. As a result, you may feel as if you are being evaluated, judged, and criticized.

You may wonder why people who usually talk with you will avoid you or change the subject when you have been affected by a death. In part it’s because most of us were socialized to isolate when we were sad: “Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone.” So, if it’s true that we need to grieve alone then it follows that others do also.

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Ask John & Russell – What to keep and what to discard? Difficult decisions—but take actions of recovery first, then make those choices. (Published 2/24/2015)


My boyfriend of sixteen years died in a car accident 3 1/2 years ago. I’ve been unable to get rid of any of his clothes or personal belongings from our bedroom. What do you suggest? I know that I need to do this and should have already done so. I can't seem to bring myself to disturb his belongings! Thank You very much in advance for any feedback.

Russell Friedman Replies:

Dear Jodi,

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.

  • February 2015
    Sydney, Australia - Feb 5-8, 2015
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL - Feb 6-9, 2015
    San Antonio, TX - Feb 6-9, 2015
    San Diego, CA - Feb 20-23, 2015
    Mexico City, D.F., Mexico - Feb 20-23, 2015
    Guadalajara, Jal, Mexico - Feb 20-23, 2015
    St. Louis, MO - Feb 20-23, 2015
    London, England - Feb 27-Mar 2, 2015
    Boston, MA - Feb 27-Mar 2, 2015
  • March 2015
    Boise, ID - March 6-9, 2015
    Chicago, IL - March 13-16, 2015
    Richmond, VA - March 13-16, 2015
    Perth, Australia - March 19-22, 2015
    Calgary, AB, Canada - March 20-23, 2015
    Los Angeles, CA -March 20-23, 2015
    Oklahoma City, OK - March 20-23, 2015
    Saltillo, Coah, Mexico - March 27-30, 2015

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