Intuitive, Instrumental and Blended Grieving Styles

The Intuitive Grievers

A person who is an Intuitive Griever feels the experience of grief with great intensely. He or she may be helped by expressing his or her grief emotionally, often by crying. One of the best ways for the Intuitive Griever to cope with his or her grief is to express his or her emotions about the grief freely and openly, possibly in a group setting.

Common Characteristics of Intuitive Grievers include:

  • Expresses his or her feelings openly.
  • Anguish is expressed with sorrow with tears.
  • An Intuitive Griever is not afraid to find support in other people.
  • He or she allows the proper time to fully experience the inner pain.
  • During the grief process, he or she may become physically exhausted or riddled with anxiety.
  • During the grief process, he or she may experience long periods of confusion.
  • The confusion may make way toward an inability to concentrate.
  • Has the ability to openly discuss the grief.
  • May benefit from support groups.


The Instrumental Griever

The Instrumental Griever feels grief, but less intensely and more physically. He or she may use thinking and problem-solve as ways of coping with the grieving experience. The Instrumental Griever must have a tangible, physical way to express the grief. He or she may be reluctant to talk about feelings.

Common Characteristics of Instrumental Grievers Include:

  • He or she may push aside feelings of grief in order to cope with the present situation.
  • Chooses active ways of expressing grief.
  • May be hesitant to discuss his or her feelings.
  • May use humor to express his or her feelings as well as to manage anger.
  • Feelings may only be expressed in private.
  • Needs – and seeks – solitude to reflect upon the grief and adapt to the loss.
  • He or she may not find a support group setting an ideal place to discuss his or her feelings.



Blended Grievers

There is a continuum between Intuitive and Instrumental Grief styles.  Blended grievers are those who have characteristics of varying degrees of intuitive and instrumental grieving styles.  

You or your loved ones can be at any point on this continuum.  Many men are instrumental grievers, while many women are intuitive grievers.  Recognizing your own grief style and those of others can help you to see the uniqueness of each person’s grief experience.