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portrait of J. William Worden

J. William Worden

Professor of Psychology
  • Ph.D., Boston University
  • Ed.M., Harvard University
  • B.D., Eastern Seminary
  • B.A., Pomona College

CV Document (PDF)

Dr. Worden's clinical and research interests are in the area of health psychology, with a special focus on life-threatening illness and life-threatening behavior. At Massachusetts General Hospital he has directed four major N.I.H. funded research projects on the subjects of suicide, terminal illness care, the psychology of cancer, and bereavement. His primary therapy interest is the application of gestalt psychotherapy to individuals, couples, and groups.


  • American Psychological Association, Division 12 (Fellow)
  • American Psychological Association, Division 38 (Member)
  • Association of Death Education & Counseling-ADEC (Founding Member)
  • International Work Group on Death, Dying, and Bereavement-IWG (Founding Member)
  • American Board of Examiners in Professional Psychology (Diplomat in Clinical Psychology)
  • Gestalt Institute of Cleveland (Member)

Awards and Honors

  • Influential Leader Award in Grief and Loss, American Academy of Bereavement (2005)
  • Community Service Award, Biola University (1997)
  • Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters, Mt. Ida College, Boston (1994)
  • Clinical Practice Award, Association of Death Education and Counseling (1993)
  • Ether Day Service Award, Massachusetts General Hospital (1993)


Books, Articles

  • Worden, J.W. (2008). “Grief counseling and grief therapy: A handbook for the mental health practitioner (4th edition).” New York: Springer.
  • Worden, J.W. & Monahan, J. (2007). “Caring for bereaved Parents. In A. Armstrong-Dailey & S. Goltzer (Eds.), Hospice care for children (3rd edition)”. New York: Oxford.
  • Hogan, N., Worden, J.W., & Schmidt, L. (2005). “Consideration in conceptualizing complicated grief”. Omega, 52, 81-85.
  • Davies, B., Gudmundsdottir, M., Worden, J.W., Orlff, S., Sumner, L., and Brenner, P. (2004). “‘Living in the dragon’s shadow’: Fathers’ experiences of a child’s life-limiting illness”. Death Studies, 28, 111-135.
  • Hogan, N., Worden, J.W., & Schmidt, L. (2004). “An empirical study of proposed Complicated Grief Disorder criteria”. Omega, 48, 263-277.
  • Davies, B., Brenner, P., Orloff, S., Sumner,L., & Worden, J.W. (2002). “Addressing spirituality in pediatric hospice and palliative care”. Journal of Palliative Care, 18, 59-67.
  • Worden, J.W. (2002). “Bereavement care.” In A. Berger, R. Portenoy, & D. Weissman (Eds.), Principles and practice of palliative care and supportive oncology. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.
  • Worden, J.W. (2001). “Children who lose a parent to divorce and children who lose a parent to death”. Australian Journal of Grief and Bereavement, 4, 3-5.
  • Worden, J.W. (2000). “Towards an appropriate death.” In T. Rando (Ed.), Clinical dimensions of anticipatory mourning. Champaign, IL: Research Press.
  • Worden, J.W., Davies, B., & McCown, D. (2000). “Comparing parent loss with sibling loss.Death Studies, 23(1), 1-15.
  • Worden, J.W. (1996). Children & “grief: When a parent dies”. New York: Guilford.
  • Worden, J.W. (1996). “Tasks and mediators of mourning: A guideline for the mental health practitioner”. In Session-Psychotherapy in Practice, 2, 73-80.


  • Editorial Board: Journal of Psychosocial Oncology; Death Studies; Hospice Journal
  • Research Consultant: Fathers' Experiences with Pediatric Palliative Care (UCSF School of Nursing); Trauma, Grief, and Depression in the War Children of Darfur