Joseph Robert Pfeiffer, LCSW, is a clinical and grief therapist, photographer, writer, and multimedia producer with twenty-five years of counseling experience. Joe has conducted educational programs on loss and uses a variety of creative expressions in his grief work. Joe is a speaker and consultant in the fields of clinical social work and human development. His deep passion for nature photography inspired him to develop the theme of his book, A Different Season: A Practical Guide for Growth While Grieving a Death.
Who can be helped by this book?
Anyone experiencing the death of a family member or friend will benefit from this book. It is a resource for those who work firsthand with the bereaved: churches, hospices, funeral directors, social workers, clergy, counselors and those providing grief support services. Businesses and organizations also use the book as a unique way to express their condolences to a coworker, client or donor.
Is this a book like other grief books on the market?
Actually, it’s unique. There are some excellent resources on the market; however, people experiencing a loss through death are unable to absorb much information. The premise of A Different Season is “Less is more.” The book is easy to read, concise and a practical guide to achieve that end. In my experience as a counselor, I have also found that spirituality helps many people to cope with loss. Thus, in addition to reinforcing important grief concepts, the book incorporates inclusive prayers based on Psalms from the Hebrew scriptures.
Why is the book titled A Different Season?
The photo on the book cover (snow on tulips) was taken during an unexpected snowstorm, on a spring day in Memphis. The image is symbolic of grief – – so very unexpected. As a nature photographer I have always been awed by each season which teaches me about death, life, change and loss leading to new birth. Most people can easily relate to the seasons, and readers will note the book begins with the season of Winter and moves to Fall, Summer and then Spring. This rearranging of the seasons was intentionally done to emphasize the point that many people who grieve are experiencing much uncertainty and disorder.
What do you hope people can learn from your book?
Readers need to be supported to grieve and grieve as long as they need. Some aspects of the mourning, however, may last with them throughout their lifetime. Individuals need to allow themselves to feel and validate all of their emotions without shame or reserve. The experience of grief is like nothing ever experienced, so readers need to understand that they may or will be experiencing emotional instability. The bereaved must realize that their whole self is affected by their loss. Most importantly, people can’t hurry or rush the process.