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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 Going Crazy?—An all-too frequent question from grievers.

“Since my mother’s death, I’ve had the experience of being in one room, deciding to go to another room to do something, and when I get there, I don’t have a clue what I’m there for. Am I going crazy?”

No, you’re not crazy. For most people, the immediate response to the awareness of the death of someone important to them is a sense of numbness. After that initial numbness wears off, the most common physiological reaction is a reduced ability to concentrate. The rest of the world goes out of focus. Nothing else is important. It is normal and natural that your entire being is centered on what happened and your relationship with the person who died.

The length of time that the reduced ability to concentrate lasts is individual and can vary from a few days to several months, and even longer. It is not a sign that there’s something wrong with you. Realistically, the fact that the emotional impact of the death of that person has altered your day-to-day routines indicates something very healthy. It would make no sense for you not to be affected by the death.

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Ask John & Russell – Sometimes our well-intended advice backfires—especially when it wasn’t requested. (Published 9/22/2015)


My cousin's son died two years ago unexpectedly. She does not want to go on with her life and continues to cry each day. She has two other children and two grandchildren. I kindly suggest to her to focus on them, but to no avail. HELP!! I want to help her but don't know how.

Russell Friedman Replies:

Dear Adele,

Thanks for your note and obvious concern about your cousin.

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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.

    September 2015
    Melbourne, VIC, Australia - Sept 3-6, 2015
    Des Moines, IA - Sept 11-14, 2015
    Gatwick, England - Sept 18-21, 2015
    Detroit, MI - Sept 18-21, 2015
    Houston, TX - Sept 18-21, 2015
    Los Angeles, CA - Sept 25-28, 2015
    Mexico City, D.F., Mexico - Sept 25-28, 2015
    Atlanta, GA - Sept 25-28, 2015

    October 2015
    Wilmington, DE - Oct 2-5, 2015
    Portland, OR - Oct 2-5, 2015
    Hobart, Tasmania, Australia - Oct 8-11, 2015
    San Diego, CA - Oct 16-19, 2015
    Louisville, KY - Oct 16-19, 2015
    Guadalajara, Jal, Mexico - Oct 22-25, 2015
    Edmonton, AB, Canada - Oct 23-26, 2015
    Denver, CO - Oct 23-26, 2015

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