Grief Works is a collection of beautifully written stories of the many clients Julia Samuel has dealt with in 25 years of working with grief. She writes about how she’s helped people to deal with the deaths of their parents, partners, siblings and children and face their own mortality.
Britain is awash with grief counsellors working from outdated models of grief. Thinking has moved on since Kübler-Ross’ five stages of grief so it’s refreshing to hear Julia’s positive, refreshing and flexible approach to dealing with death in our stiff-upper-lip society.
There’s a chapter about how we got into this state – from the Victorians who were brilliant at dealing with death but terrible with sex, to the generation of post-war children who learnt to suppress their grief and kept it tightly inside. Keep calm and carry on.
Julia Samuel has been a grief psychotherapist for the last 25 years, dealing with people in the throes of grief in the NHS at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington and in private practice. She’s also the founder of Child Bereavement UK.
The way she talks to her clients, her flexible approach, her understanding that loss is terrifyingly complicated and affects everyone differently; it’s all music to our ears.
We heard Julia talking on a panel at the Southbank Centre during the recent ‘How do we live with death?’ weekend. “Grief is messy, chaotic and dark,” she told the audience before telling us that her way of coping with the intensity of her work is to have fun, kickbox and only watch funny films.
Grief Works is a brilliant reminder that there can be a life after death. We highly recommend it as the book to read to have a better understanding of grief and learn a healthier way of dealing with it.
Read it, weep and learn.
by Julia Samuel