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Basic Tenets


1. Grief in response to the death of a loved one is a natural, normal, and health-producing process that aids the individual in adjusting to the absence of the loved one.

2. The symptoms, emotions and behaviors associated with normal grief represent a process of healthy adaptation and are not inherently pathological.

3. Mourners benefit by knowing that life-enhancing grief reactions are productive and beneficial. 

4. All persons have individual and environmental strengths that can assist them as they experience grief. The mourner benefits from the reinforcement of those strengths and the encouragement to consciously employ them during the grief process.

5. Environmental conditions can either help or hinder the mourner’s ability to adapt to the loss and enhance their life. 

6. Many symptoms of grief, though they may be uncomfortable and are commonly regarded as “negative” symptoms, are healthy coping mechanisms in that they facilitate the process of disengagement, adaptation to change and integration. 

7. Life enhancing grief symptoms should not be discouraged. Rather, they should be allowed expression while being carefully monitored so that they remain helpful to the mourner’s process of adaptation.

8. Life enhancing grief reactions to loss enable accommodation and adaptation to occur. They facilitate the process of psychological separation from the deceased.

9. Grief may be considered life depleting when the symptoms it produces significantly weaken the mourner’s aspirations, competencies and confidence.

10. Life depleting grief reactions thwart the process of adaptation and lead to entropy.

11. Life enhancing and life depleting grief reactions are on a continuum of intensity. 

12. The experience of grief evolves over a person’s lifetime and is experienced with varying levels of conscious awareness.

13. The process of grief is fertile ground for personal growth and the development or enhancement of the mourner’s strengths.

Developed by Renée Bradford Garcia, LCSW and Elizabeth C Pomeroy, PhD and published in The Grief Assessment and Intervention Workbook: A Strengths Perspective.

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