Coping with a significant loss is one of the most demanding experiences each of us will ever have. Supporting people who are in the throes of grief can also be a highly challenging experience. This manual, with its exemplary blend of theory and practice provides a solid foundation of understanding alongside helpful practice guidance that will be of immense value to members of the caring professions, managers and supervisors and, indeed, anyone called upon to support people on their grief journey.
Neil Thompson has given us a uniquely helpful resource for professionals and paraprofessionals who find individuals, families, and communities coming to terms with loss in their practice. The book synthesizes and draws the wisdom from current bereavement literature and practice in a way that gives readers both the intellectual framework and practical advice to bring their own skills and resources to their clients. Thompson understands loss broadly. While the death of a significant person is the paradigm, he understands that many of the same dynamics play out in other losses causes, ranging from economic conditions to physical disability. Thompson’s writing is clear, the case vignettes well chosen, and the practical advice solid.
Dennis Klass, PhD Culture, Consolation, and Continuing Bonds in Bereavement: The Selected Works of Dennis Klass (Routledge, 2022).
There cannot be a manual for how to grieve, but Dr Thompson has crafted an informative manual for practitioners to understand responses to loss and how to support people who are grieving. He goes beyond psychosocial theories to describe the wider contexts and experiences of grief, including social, cultural and spiritual aspects. Dr Thompson confronts the challenges people may face when grieving, acknowledging that grief is not limited to death-related losses. Unlike many other books about grief, this book crucially provides a critical and holistic perspective that blends theory and practice.
Dr Erica Borgstrom, Senior Lecturer, the Open University
This manual is Neil Thompson’s magnum opus! As one of the leading scholars of dying, death, and bereavement, his work represents the best of his analytic powers. The manual is impressive in its scope and theoretical analysis. It analyses the many approaches in the field, and in a clear and understandable fashion is able to present both the theoretical approaches that are false and those that are acceptable. His use of a sociological approach demonstrates that many attempts to explain loss and grief using a psychological model are without foundation and that the sociological explanations offer a solid, practical way to understand human behaviour. This book is not only a must for courses in the sociology of dying and death classes, it is destined to become a standard in the field. Anyone who hopes to understand the field of thanatology needs to read this soon-to-be classic!
Dr Gerry Cox, Emeritus Professor, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
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