Living Fully After Loss: New Grief App from Columbia University Offers Accessible Support

M. Katherine Shear, M.D., Director, Center for Complicated Grief

With a grant from the New York Life Foundation, the Center for Complicated Grief at Columbia University’s School of Social Work has launched GriefSteps for Parents, a critical new grief app designed to support families following the loss of a loved one.

The GriefSteps for Parents program was developed using a way of thinking about grief and adaptation to loss that has been helpful to grieving people and grief therapists around the world. It was derived from knowledge gained from more than two decades of work with grieving people.*

People are built to respond adaptively to loss; we all have the capacity to do so. Although everyone grieves in their own way, we all need to accept the reality of the loss and restore our capacity to live fully again. There are some typical things that can get in the way of adapting and things that can facilitate it. Below are five tips that can help parents dealing with grief to adapt to a loss.

  1. Understand and accept grief as the natural response to a loss and the form love takes when someone we love dies
  2. Develop the capacity to live with reminders, so you can move forward freely in your life
  3. Allow yourself to learn about your genuine interests and values and do things that are meaningful and satisfying
  4. Understand your children’s grief and keep lines of communication open
  5. Remember that everyone grieves in their own way and children grieve differently from adults

1. Shear, M. K. (2012). Getting straight about grief. Depression and Anxiety, 29(6), 461-464.
2. Shear, M. K. (2015). Complicated grief. New England Journal of Medicine, 372(2), 153-160.