First Editions | Teachers College Columbia University

Skip to content Skip to main navigation

First Editions

TC's faculty in print: George Bonanno and Derald Wing Sue

TC's faculty in print: George Bonanno and Derald Wing Sue

Life After Loss

George Bonanno explores how and why we grieve

Mourning the loss of a loved one is inevitably painful—yet most people have an innate resilience that allows them not only to mourn, but emerge better for the process.

“Most of us deal with loss very well,” says George Bonanno, Professor of Clinical Psychology, whose recent book, The Other Side of Sadness, has received glowing reviews in the New Yorker, the New York Times Book Review and elsewhere. “It hurts deeply, but we can handle it.”

At the same time, Bonanno, who conducted hundreds of videotaped interviews with people who had suffered losses, makes it abundantly clear that there’s no getting around sadness. Which is good, he concludes, because sadness draws others to us to provide sympathy and also gives us the internal space to reflect on our loved one.

Bonanno, Department Chair of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at TC, has studied grief and grieving in different cultures. He calls grief “multi-faceted” and believes there is “no one-size-fits-all kind of mourning.”

Readers have responded strongly to these messages.

“So many people have written,” Bonanno says, “saying, ‘Thank you for saying that people can be OK, because I’m fine.’”

Unintended, But Still Painful

Derald Wing Sue investigates bigotry that’s off the radar

Derald Wing Sue didn’t coin the term “microaggressions”— the subtle, often unintended insults directed at people based solely on their membership in a socially devalued group—but he seems to be almost single-handedly making it a part of the lay lexicon.

In Microaggressions in Everyday Life, Sue creates a taxonomy of common microaggressions against different minority groups and documents the collective toll microaggressions take on recipients. The volume was awarded the first-ever National Diversity and Inclusion Book Prize, and Sue has been interviewed on TV and radio nationwide.

In Microaggressions and Marginality: Manifestations, Dynamics, and Impact, also released this year by John Wiley and Sons, Sue brings together essays by experts in psychology and discrimination—many of them his current and former graduate students at TC. The book is the product of eight years of research, across “a broad spectrum of society who have been treated as second-class citizens and lesser beings,” Sue writes.

In September, Sue and David Rivera, a doctoral student in counseling psychology, launched a blog—also titled “Microaggressions in Everyday Life”—on the Psychology Today Web site.

To view an interview with Sue, visit

Published Monday, Dec. 13, 2010


More Stories