Getting Grief Right: Finding Your Story of Love in the Sorrow of Loss

Getting Grief Right: Finding Your Story of Love in the Sorrow of Loss

by Patrick O'Malley Ph.D., Tim Madigan


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When the New York Times ran Patrick O’Malley’s story about the loss of his infant son—and how his inability to "move on" challenged everything he was taught as a psychotherapist—it inspired an unprecedented flood of gratitude from readers.

What he shared was a truth that many have felt but rarely acknowledged by the professionals they turn to: that our grief is not a mental illness to be cured, but part of the abiding connection with the one we’ve lost.

Illuminated by O’Malley’s own story and those of many clients that he’s supported, readers learn how the familiar "stages of grief" too often mislabel our sorrow as a disorder, press us to "get over it," and amplify our suffering with shame and guilt when we do not achieve "closure" in due course.

"Sadness, regret, confusion, yearning—all the experiences of grief—are a part of the narrative of love," reflects O’Malley. Here, with uncommon sensitivity and support, he invites us to explore grief not as a process of recovery, but as the ongoing narrative of our relationship with the one we’ve lost—to be fully felt, told, and woven into our lives.

For those in bereavement and anyone supporting those who are, Getting Grief Right offers an uncommonly empathetic guide to opening to our sorrow as the full expression of our love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781622038190
Publisher: Sounds True, Incorporated
Publication date: 07/01/2017
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 412,299
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

PhD Patrick O’Malley

Patrick O'Malley, PHD, has been providing grief counseling and education to clients and colleagues for over 35 years. For more, visit

Tim Madigan

Tim Madigan, an award-winning journalist, is the author of The Burning: Massacre, Destruction, and the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 (St. Martin’s Press, 2003) and I’m Proud of You: My Friendship with Fred Rogers (Gotham/Penguin, 2006). For more, visit

Table of Contents

Introduction What's Wrong with Me? ix

Chapter 1 A Therapist Grieves 1

Chapter 2 The Cage of the Stages 15

Chapter 3 The Way Forward Through Stones 33

Chapter 4 On the Right Path 47

Chapter 5 No Person's Grief the Same 59

Chapter 6 Know Thyself 67

Chapter 7 How Death Comes 79

Chapter 8 Attachment and Grief 99

Chapter 9 Your Story 111

Chapter 10 The Culture of Positivity 125

Chapter 11 The Expectations of Others 135

Chapter 12 Help for the Helper 149

Chapter 13 Sorrows Shared 163

Chapter 14 A Therapist Grieves Still 173

Epilogue 179

Notes 183

Further Reading 191

Appendix I Seeking Help 193

Appendix II The Vocabulary of Grief 195

Getting Grief Right Study Guide: For Groups and Individuals 197

Acknowledgments 235

About the Authors 237

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