There are many types of grieving styles, and that’s the topic of discussion between Dr. Heidi Horsley and Tina Barrett during the National Alliance for Grieving Children conference. Barrett is with the Tamarack Grief Center, an organization revered by Dr. Horsley and the Open to Hope Foundation. Comparing how girls grieve vs. boys is a tricky issue—since everyone grieves differently. It’s impossible to avoid lumping some stereotypes together with this conversation, however there are certainly well-established developmental differences between the genders. Still, as a nation men are under-served.

Look at almost any grief center, and you’ll find an inordinate amount of women. Tamarack Grief Center tackles this by offering a men’s retreat, geared just towards this gender and with customized therapies to connect with men and boys. Some participants have said they don’t want to come into an office and sit on a couch. They’d rather be with other men who understand while on the river catching fish.

Action vs. Process

Certainly men don’t have a corner on preferring action over process, but it’s a trend that Barrett has noticed. Dr. Horsley points out that many times, women know a man who’s grieving and are concerned because he won’t talk. If that’s the case, remember that your way of grieving isn’t the only one. You may want to help so desperately that you project your best grieving processes onto them. “What would feel helpful?” is one of the best questions you can ask.

Men may want to do something together rather than share stories or words. If you’d like to know more, contact the Tamarack Grief Center and discover a plethora of ways to help with the grieving process. There are both in-person and online methods of support, and it’s a fantastic avenue for any grieving men in your life.


Heidi Horsley

Dr. Heidi Horsley is a licensed psychologist, social worker, and bereaved sibling. She co-hosts the award-winning weekly cable television show and podcast, Open to Hope. Dr. Heidi is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, and an award-winning author, who has co-authored eight books, and serves on the United Nations Global Mental Health Task Force. She also serves on the Advisory Boards for the Tragedy Assistance Program, the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Foundation, and Peace of Mind Afghanistan. She served on the National Board of Directors for The Compassionate Friends, and for 10 yrs. worked on a Columbia University research study looking at traumatic loss over time in families who lost a firefighter in the World Trade Center.

More Articles Written by Heidi