Getting Grief Right

Published: 2017

Hardcover, 500 pages


In 2015, when the New York Times ran Patrick O’Malley’s story about the death 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 that continues to this day.
What he shared was a truth that many have longed to hear: that there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Illuminated by O’Malley’s own story and those of the many clients that he’s supported, Getting Grief Right, told with award-winning writer Tim Madigan, shows us how the commonly used “stages of grief” approach can trivialize our sorrow, treat it as a mental disorder, press us to “get over it,” and worsen our suffering with shame and guilt when we don’t. With sensitivity and support, readers will explore grief not as an illness, but as the continuing story of our connection to the one we’ve lost, to be fully felt and woven into our lives.

Reviews for "Getting Grief Right"

Juicy storytelling

With profound compassion and juicy storytelling, Patrick O’Malley offers those of us whose lives have been shattered by loss permission to mourn our loved ones with all our hearts and find our own transformational stories in the crucible of our authentic life experiences.

- Mirabai Starr, Author, "Caravan of No Despair: A Memoir of Loss and Transformation"


Getting Grief Right is a compassionate, wise, and practical guide that gives space for our grief to tell its own story and be as it is. A very valuable, up-to-date resource for anyone wanting to consciously navigate this challenging inner landscape.

- John J. Prendergast, PHD, Author, "In Touch: How to Tune In to the Inner Guidance of Your Body and Trust Yourself"

Every experience of grief is personal

Avoiding clichés and shattering the idea that grief marches through some predictable and lock-step set of ‘stages,’ O’Malley instead understands that every experience of grief is personal and unique and that every griever has a story worth telling. This book is immensely valuable, both for those who grieve and for those who want to offer them true consolation.

- Thomas G. Long, Coauthor, The Good Funeral: "Death, Grief, and the Community of Care"