Worden’s tasks of grief

William Worden’s Tasks of Grief is a model that describes grief as something to be worked through. There are four tasks.

What are the four tasks of grieving?

  • Task 1: Acceptance

    You must face reality that the person you once knew will not return. When you ‘lose’ someone to mental illness, accepting the loss is particularly difficult as you may still see glimpses of the person they once were. Worden argues that accepting the reality of the loss - not liking it, but accepting that it has occurred - is the foundation of healing.

  • Task 2: Work through the pain

    Allow yourself to feel the pain, rather than attempting to suppress the experience, so that you can work through your loss. In some social contexts, you may be encouraged to express your grief. In other settings you may be expected to hide your grief and get on with your life. You can hinder the mourning process by avoiding painful thoughts.

What’s your story?

You might like to think about some of the following:

  • what feelings of loss do you have?
  • what do you find unhelpful from others?
  • what can others say to support you in your grief?

It might help to communicate some of these thoughts to others. Letting other people know how they can help you can ensure you are supported in the way you need.