Picks and Pans Review: Good News on Grieving

updated 11/30/2009 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/30/2009 01:00AM

>In a new book about how we process loss, psychology professor George A. Bonanno says the conventional wisdom is wrong.

AREN'T THERE FIVE STAGES OF GRIEF?

K├╝bler-Ross's stages [denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance] were for people facing their own deaths. No research extended those to bereavement.

WHAT DOES YOUR RESEARCH SHOW?

There are three grieving patterns: 10-15% of people have chronic difficulties, 15-20% struggle for months but then recover, and well over 50% show resilience.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY RESILIENCE?

People are deeply pained, but from the beginning they can function. They oscillate between turning inward, to face the fact that the loved one is gone, and turning outward.

WHY ARE SO MANY PEOPLE RESILIENT?

Any nomadic creature who spent time grieving would have been left behind. We seem to have the equipment to deal with very difficult things.

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