Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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Veteran journalist Konigsberg offers a spot-on critique of Elisabeth K bler-Ross's seminal theory-the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. This "staged" approach, Konigsberg argues convincingly, is unscientific, tends to assume more prolonged mourning, and "completely omits positive emotions that are also integral to the experience of grief." Konigsberg also looks at various scientific studies on how people cope with grief, noting, "On average, those who got help experienced no less distress nor recovered more quickly than those who didn't." She maintains that people cope with grief thanks largely to the human capacity for resilience, relying heavily on the work of psychologist George Bonanno, though Konigsberg acknowledges that this isn't the case for those who experience the intractable grief that Freud called "melancholia." Konigsberg makes few distinctions among different mourning situations and among various therapeutic approaches (e.g., individual versus group treatment; long- versus short-term counseling; cognitive-behavioral versus psychodynamic treatment). In general, she has researched her subject, writes clearly and engagingly, and uncovers a host of interesting facts. Despite a few conceptual flaws, this book is well worth reading. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.