The Other Side of What

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I tried reading this last year about 6 months after my son died, and couldn't finish it. I lost my mother 20 years ago, and my father a year before my son. His subject for a bereaved parent was a close friend who lost a daughter in New York on Not very objective. He had a couple meetings with her toward the end of the first year of the daughter's death.

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He discussed with her how "well" she was doing. She had created a foundation in her daughter's name and was functioning, could laugh, go t I tried reading this last year about 6 months after my son died, and couldn't finish it. She had created a foundation in her daughter's name and was functioning, could laugh, go to work, dress, etc. From his obersavtion he was amazed to see she had moved through her grief in a very short time. He would have been better interviewing many breaved 5 years after the death to be more objective. It's within the second year that the bereaved often realize it was an automatic pilot type of functioning.

I did flip through the book to review some of the more scientifc findings, and took it back to the library.


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I found the book to be one that promotes the attitude toward the bereaved today: What's wrong with you? It's been a year, get over it. If grief or therapy professionals use this model to help patients, I feel for the patients. View 2 comments. Mar 12, Linda Halverson rated it it was amazing. This book was exactly what I needed -- an affirming and hopeful read that helped me connect my head and intellectualizing why I feel the way I do about the loss of my loved one and my heart all the whys and what ifs and oh-my-God he's gone and how to fill the seemingly impossible hole he's left in our lives.

It gave me the intellectual permission I needed to grieve, a heads up for when that grief might be problematic, and the heart-warming hope that time will heal and that I will be resilien This book was exactly what I needed -- an affirming and hopeful read that helped me connect my head and intellectualizing why I feel the way I do about the loss of my loved one and my heart all the whys and what ifs and oh-my-God he's gone and how to fill the seemingly impossible hole he's left in our lives.

It gave me the intellectual permission I needed to grieve, a heads up for when that grief might be problematic, and the heart-warming hope that time will heal and that I will be resilient. Thank you, George.

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Aug 28, Cagne rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction , self-help , for-the-mind , read-in , psychology. It's not a self help book, and as the author says you should probably avoid this and any other book on dealing with death up to months from a traumatic event, but it' A strange book. Jun 25, Ilva rated it it was ok.

I was disappointed in the end. Was looking for a scientific approach to grief which the title promises but the author completely loses the plot at the 'afterlife' section. I felt very much as if he was pushing his own beliefs and substantiating them with selective research. The first part held promise - but that only serves to worsen my disappointment. Overall, I don't find the book very scientific at all.

Dec 12, Lisa rated it liked it. Have learned a lot from this book. Those 5 stages of grieving were originally for people who were dying, not for people who lost someone. More later Jun 23, Jennifer rated it liked it. I'd recommend this book for anyone who has known someone going through grief, or to someone just trying to understand what grief looks like. I thought the author brought an interesting perspective to the grieving process -- what we've generally been taught is "normal" stages of grief isn't necessarily so.

Based on his and others' research on the subject it seems that the people who just can't seem to get over a loss and move on are the abnormal ones.


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Most of us are "resilient" and will continue I'd recommend this book for anyone who has known someone going through grief, or to someone just trying to understand what grief looks like. Most of us are "resilient" and will continue to function normally in life, with periods of sadness that gradually lessen over time. Helpful to know that just because someone isn't showing obvious outwards signs of grief that doesn't mean they aren't grieving properly, or that they are repressing the process, and that trying to force that process upon them as in through grief counseling or incident debriefing can actually be harmful to the grieving person.

I found the first 4 or 5 chapters to be very interesting and useful, but when the author started getting into different ways of viewing the afterlife I started skimming and skipping. I would have given it a higher rating if not for those chapters. Jul 23, Heidi rated it it was ok Shelves: gal. This is a book for clinicians, plain and simple. Bonanno's theory is that the science of resilience proves that you will be better eventually, because as humans we are built to persevere.

That sort of information is probably helpful to professionals in a clinical setting, and could certainly be folded into part of a sympathetic response to someone suffering But in a book, it came off as cold and unsympathetic to the profoundly painful struggle of "moving on. This book has been on my reading list for a long time.

I figured that, with the recent, sudden passing of my mother, now would be a good time to finally read a book about bereavement. This is not a how-to about working your way through grief. Rather, it is what the byline suggests, a look at what the latest research suggests about the mechanics of human bereavement.

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Bonanno is a psychologist whose field of research is grief, so he knows what he's talking about. Much to my surprise, this is a fair This book has been on my reading list for a long time.

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Much to my surprise, this is a fairly new field of research; a lot of what was previously viewed as canon about bereavement has, in fact, now been disproved by researchers such as Bonanno. So forget those "five stages" and forget the idea that grief as to be "work" - Bonanno shows that, like most things in life, there's not just one way to grieve. In a lot of ways, I really liked this book.

Bonanno's research mirrors my own personal experience with grief. Having recently weathered some accusations that I wasn't grieving in the "right way," this book put the anxiety I felt about such accusations to rest. Bonanno shows that there is no "right way," so to speak. Rather, there are three general types of grieving - there is that small group that suffers from deep, intense grief that they find difficult to recover from; a small group that will work through a period of deep grieving that eventually evens out over time; and then there's the rest of us, what he calls the "resilient type," people who are generally okay in the face of death, although we have our ups and downs.

It's great to read about bereavement from someone who supposedly anyway actually knows what he's talking about, rather than previous psychologists, such as Freud, who posited theories about the topic without ever doing research into it and whose theories became canon. However, Bonanno lost me in the last two chapters, where he goes on and on about the religious aspect of bereavement, something that I don't personally relate to. I'm a tried and true agnostic who has never once wondered where my loved ones have "gone" after death. I believe that I'll find out when I get there - if there's a "there" to get to.

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So I didn't really need to read two chapters about what other people speculate about the afterlife, at least not in a book about bereavement. But maybe that's just me - it might work perfectly fine for other readers. Jan 18, Karla Huebner added it Shelves: psychology. This accessible but research-based book looks at the various ways in which people grieve, and concludes that the notions of "grief work" and stages of grief taken from Kubler-Ross's work on people who were themselves dying are not supported by evidence.

People grieve in different ways and differently for different people, and resilience after the death of a loved one doesn't mean that one is repressing grief. Given that I've lost what seems like a ridiculous number of friends and family members This accessible but research-based book looks at the various ways in which people grieve, and concludes that the notions of "grief work" and stages of grief taken from Kubler-Ross's work on people who were themselves dying are not supported by evidence.

Given that I've lost what seems like a ridiculous number of friends and family members in the last few years, I'd say the author makes a good case. The extent of my grief has varied considerably, and I don't think I've repressed any of it. The loss of people who were old and went through a long decline has not violently upset me, although it has made me sad and prompted me to miss them.

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There are other deaths that may cause me pain for the rest of my life, although I don't think about them all the time anymore. Grief is individual both in terms of the person who grieves and in terms of the particular loss. The comparison with grief rituals in China was interesting and suggests that while grief is natural to humans and for that matter other mammals, but the book doesn't go into that , its manifestation is strongly affected by culture. Oct 12, Rev Z rated it it was amazing. This is the most current book of which I am aware reporting on this subject and directed toward the general population.

Bonanno examines the evidence for the validity of the conventional five-stage grief model and finds it not just lacking but non-existent.