What is disenfranchised grief?
The term disenfranchised grief was coined by Kenneth Doka, in the late 1980s. Disenfranchised grief is ultimately grief that is unsupported, unrecognized, and unacknowledged.
Disenfranchised grief is often not appreciated by others, and there is a perceived right to not mourn those losses. In essence, we say that the loss is not openly acknowledged. It is not socially sanctioned and often people do not publicly share those losses because they are embarrassed or they feel like people will minimize them or maybe even gloss over them. Basically it is seen as one has a loss, but there is no right for them to grieve that loss, resulting in the loss and the grief associated with the loss becoming disenfranchised.
This Ask the Expert is an edited excerpt from the webinar, Disenfranchised Grief: When Grief and Grievers Are Unrecognized, presented by Lisa Zoll, MSW, LCSW.