Last reviewed 01/2018

A major bereavement is a distressing and disruptive experience, especially frightening to anyone who is going through it for the first time.

Such a person needs to be told that what is happening to them is normal, if it is. They may need help bearing it and making sense of it, and reassurance that they will eventually recover. This kind of support is often provided by family and friends.

The professional person who is involved should be able to assess whether the grief is proceeding as expected and whether the bereaved person is receiving the help which he needs from others. In addition, the professional should be able to recognise complications, know how and when to intervene, and when to seek more expert help in management. In order to do these things it is important to be familiar with normal and abnormal grief.