Principles for Supporting Grief

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By Megan Bronson MSN, RN, CS - ©2001 Balance Point, Inc.


There are some basic principles to keep in mind when working with and supporting oneself or another in the grieving process. These principles create the safe container for the healing process of grief and are as follows:


  • The truth spoken with care and compassion catalyzes the emotional healing process.
  • Withholding or distorting truth complicates grief and feeds denial.
  • Therefore, support compassionate truth telling.


  • People are doing the best they can with the tools they have to work with.
  • Acceptance is more helpful than judgment.
  • Therefore, avoid judgment.


  • There may be differing values and even spiritual beliefs within the same family.
  • Many families will have different values and belief systems than yours.
  • Recognize, respect, and honor difference.


  • Facilitating saying good-bye supports closure and facilitates healing later on.
  • Interfering with the process of saying good-bye blocks healing in individuals and families.
  • Support families including children in saying good-bye.


  • Feelings are neither right nor wrong, good or bad—neither are they necessarily logical.
  • Feelings need to be heard respectfully and without judgment.
  • Feelings do not need to be interpreted or analyzed.
  • Show respect for and honor feelings.


© 2001, Balance Point, Inc., Megan Bronson MSN, RN, CS
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