Worden's 4 Tasks of Grief

Recent thinking about the process of grief and mourning is moving away from a fixed stage model, in which everyone goes through the same stages of loss in a fixed order, to more flexible "phase" or "task" models.In these models, persons may move through tasks in different orders, or work on several at the same time, or even revisit tasks that felt "completed" earlier. Among the most well-known task models of mourning is that of J. William Worden.

Task I: To Accept the Reality of the Loss

Task II: To Process the Pain of Grief

Task III: To Adjust to a World Without the Deceased

Task IV: To Find an Enduring Connection With the Deceased in the Midst of Embarking on a New Life

There is no set time line to completing these tasks, although they generally occur over months or years, not days or weeks. Worden points out that while it is essential to address these tasks to adjust to a loss, not every loss we experience challenges us in the same way. If you find a death is challenging you beyond your ability to cope with it, getting support from family, friends, clergy or a professional may help.