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Jan Hatanaka

Dr. Jan Hatanaka’s approach to grief and reconciliation is informed by: her personal experience; her extensive academic research on the universality of grief and loss; and her in-depth discussions with hundreds of individuals willing to recount their personal stories.

The founder of Grief Reconciliation International Inc., she holds positions at York University, Toronto, in the Department of Nursing, the Religious Studies program, and the York Institute for Health Research. She has a B.Sc. in nursing from the University of Ottawa, an M.A. in education and counseling psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Ph.D. in theology from the University of Wales.

The Choice

Finding Life in the Face of Adversity — Six Stories from a Therapist’s Casebook
Jan Hatanaka


Now available in paperback — Jan Hatanaka’s insightful book on how people visited with great adversity can make the choice to live a life of enhanced meaning.

Using her own story and five stories from her casebook as a therapist, Hatanaka, the founder of Grief Reconciliation International, discusses the complex relationship between adversity, grief, and the reconciliation of grief (coming to terms with grief).

Included is her own heart-wrenching experience of recovering from a major stroke. Hatanaka draws on her personal, clinical, and academic experience as she takes the reader through the Grief Reconciliation Process, describing the steps taken by people who manage to find life in the face of adversity. The Choice is brilliant in its simple, gentle, and profound exploration of the reality of suffering and the hope that can flow from it.

This book will also help those in the grips of this experience; the loved ones of those who are suffering; and health-care professionals, including medical practitioners, counselors, and clergy.

From the Author

This book is about the futility of running from adversity and the necessity of giving adversity its rightful place in our lives. It shows dramatically how we must wrestle with this choice.

No one escapes the choice. Adversity will come. It may come while we sit in a doctor’s office; by way of a phone call in the middle of the night; or when we glance across at a parent one day and realize that most of who they once were is gone. When the reality of adversity presents itself, and we can be sure that it will, this choice will reveal itself to us.

I hope that by reading this book you will begin to recognize what you are up against. I hope you will understand that there is a way to walk with adversity — that its weight will not crush you. You do not have to be on your own to do the learning. A process of learning to live with adversity is outlined in these pages. The specific steps come from the hard-won wisdom of those who have done it. People, like you, who were happily going about their lives when a great struggle imposed itself on them. I hope to show how learning to live with the reality of adversity can be accomplished by those who are willing to do the work.

From the Back Cover

A dramatic, challenging, and liberating book that introduces the choice we all must make when faced with adversity — a book that traces the intense struggles and triumphs of those who have learned to reconcile grief in their lives:

  • The author herself, who survived a major stroke
  • An up-and-coming student, whose fall on a football field renders him a paraplegic and takes him to the edge of suicide
  • An MBA graduate, who discovers that unresolved grief in his family two generations back is threatening his marriage today
  • A mother of two young children, who experiences a terrorism threat and can’t reconnect with her family and colleagues
  • A retired boxer, who faces the toughest bout of all when given the news that his condition is inoperable
  • A woman entering her senior years who is emerging from a deep well of depression over the loss of her twenty-year-old son
Finding Life in the Face of Adversity

$16.95 CAD / $16.95 USD / £10.95 GBP

214 pages

ISBN 978-1-926645-49-0

Available now from: (U.S.) (Canada) (UK)