The Humanist Approach to Grief – Book

The Humanist Approach to Grief and Grieving

“The Humanist Approach to Grief and Grieving” by Jennifer Hancock offers a rational and compassionate perspective on coping with grief without relying on religious beliefs. Written specifically for non-religious individuals who are experiencing grief, this book provides a valuable resource for those struggling with the emotional trauma of bereavement. With insights, meditations, and practical advice, Jennifer Hancock helps readers come to terms with their loss and find a way to live fully despite their grief. Whether you are grieving or providing support to someone who is, this book offers a helpful and humane approach to dealing with one of life’s most difficult challenges.

About The Humanist Approach to Grief and Grieving

The Humanist Approach to Grief and Grieving by Jennifer Hancock is the resource that non-religious individuals experiencing grief need. This book provides a rational and compassionate approach to bereavement that acknowledges the unique needs of Humanists.

Unlike other approaches to grief, Humanism refuses to provide false hope of reunion that is a staple of religious belief. Jennifer Hancock recognized the need for a book on Humanist grief after presiding over her first funeral as a Humanist officiant. She felt the pain of the bereaved and longed to provide them with comfort.

Grief is a difficult emotion to process, and not much has been written about it from an explicitly Humanist perspective. However, Humanism provides an excellent framework for coping with grief that is rational, compassionate, and responsible. This book offers insights and meditations to help readers contemplate their approach to grief and find a way to live their lives fully despite their loss. If you are struggling with grief, Jennifer Hancock’s book provides a valuable resource to help you through this difficult time.

The Benefits of Taking a Humanist Approach to Grief

Taking a humanist approach to grief can offer numerous benefits. Humanism emphasizes rationality, compassion, and social responsibility, which can help individuals navigate the complex and emotional experience of grief in a way that is both meaningful and practical. By accepting grief as a natural part of the human experience, and focusing on finding ways to live fully despite loss, individuals can find a sense of peace and purpose in their grieving process. Humanist principles can also provide a helpful framework for individuals who reject religious or supernatural explanations for death and afterlife, allowing them to find solace and comfort in the present moment and in their memories of their loved ones.

Who is this book for?

This book is ideal for anyone who is experiencing grief and looking for a rational and compassionate approach to bereavement. It is especially valuable for non-religious individuals who may feel excluded from traditional religious resources for coping with grief.

Funeral directors and celebrants may also benefit from reading this book as it provides insights and guidance on how to approach grief from a Humanist perspective, which can be useful in their profession.

In addition, parents with children who are experiencing grief may find this book helpful in navigating the grieving process with their children in a way that is compassionate, responsible, and non-religious.

Overall, anyone who wants to approach grief in a rational and compassionate way, while maintaining their sanity, will find this book to be a valuable resource.


As a Humanist Celebrant myself, this book is a valuable resource for helping those dealing with loss. It is also extremely useful in helping to plan memorial services and life celebrations. Jennifer Hancock has done an excellent, thorough job of researching this well written book. In addition, I plan to offer it to my atheist and humanist friends — I know it will be of great comfort to them. Thank you, Jennifer, for writing this book. – Susan Sackett

At first I was confused by the book’s format; it is short, in fact strangely so at roughly 30 pages for the copy I read, and most of its content is in the form of essays that originally appeared elsewhere. You can read the entire thing on a single metro ride, as I did. As I read, however, I grew to like the way that choice broke the book into quick and digestible pieces, with a different moral and different tips for each section, even if I still wished it was more incorporated into a single narrative and less a collection of other works. Grief is experienced in different ways by everyone, so at the very least breaking it up this way allows one to focus on the components most important to them, and the length makes it quick to absorb in a time when you may not be able to put extended focus on reading. I appreciated that the tips given were basic and easy to follow, but also that they didn’t pretend to be a panacea but instead focused on steadying your footing to continue on your own healing path. – The Army Humanist

This short book might better be considered a pamphlet. Even so, its concise, straightforward approach is on the mark. Every Humanist celebrant (officiant) should have it on their bookshelf. Unlike planned weddings, funerals come without notice. Skimming through this tome will help those who need to minister to others who are grieving. A.A.

While somewhat limited by the author’s focus on her personal experiences, the book offers sound, practical advice for the non-religious who are grieving. The book is a good basic reference for funeral directors, celebrants and officiants, the grieving and family and friends. – K. Dietrich

There is also a discussion guide for people reading this for a book club.

Theme: Elation by Kaira.
Florida, United States