WHO THIS COURSE IS FOR
If this sounds like you, and the kind of people you’d love to learn with, we’d love for you to apply!
You’re looking for fresh perspectives and new, creative approaches – to enrich and enliven your grief support practice.
- Are you dissatisfied with models of grief that suggest that grief is the same for everyone, and offer “shoulds” and “should nots” that you’ve found have limited relevance in grief support?
- Are you tired of the pathologization of grieving, and looking for ways of working that notice and nurture the client’s (and your!) agency and resilience?
- Are you tuned into social justice issues and wanting to find respectful ways of working with people across different life experiences, kinds of losses, and cultures?
- Do you already recognise the agency and hope that creativity can facilitate, and want to learn how to bring more creativity into your work?
- Are you an experienced practitioner who is noticing that your work is feeling less inspired, and at times boring or even despairing?
If any of this resonates with you, we think you’ll be delighted with our course. Our course material is relevant to a wide range of different kinds of losses, not just the death of a loved one. We teach contemporary grief support approaches that are richly supported by research and theory, and offer counter-culture, deeply respectful, creative, and even enjoyable ways to help your clients to create their own unique pathway(s) to meaning after loss.
You already have some volunteer or professional experience and basic training – working in a caring or helping role. We’re selecting applicants who are already familiar with foundational skills such as empathy, listening, and rapport-building, so that we can focus on more advanced and grief-specific theory and practice. Therapists, Social Workers, Hospice Workers, Counsellors, Art Therapists, Music Therapists, Nurses, Clergy, Spiritual Directors, Funeral Directors, and Life Coaches have all found our course relevant to their work.
You want a learning experience that is rich, supportive, and experiential, and you’re excited to draw on your own experiences of making meaning after loss. Through recorded demos, practice sessions with your classmates, experiential heART-making, and reflective journaling, we’ll help you to integrate the theories and methods of Creative Grief Support, so that you’ll finish our course feeling confident that you have the skills to support people who are struggling with grief.
You may already work a lot with loss, and you’re looking for fresh perspectives and new, creative tools to deepen and enrich your practice. This isn’t a beginner’s course – experienced Social Workers, Psychologists, Hospice Workers, Counselors, Art Therapists, Spiritual Counselors and Pastors looking to develop their practice are welcome.
You’re prepared to commit a significant amount of time and to fully participate. You will be able to fit this course in with a full-time job, but expect to devote at least 10 hours a week to your learning.
I enrolled in the Creative grief coaching program to enhance my knowledge and skill-set on non-death and death related grief and loss. The class provides a foundation for an active and supportive global online learning community. The instructors are skilled, creative and professional in their facilitation, teaching, learner support and presentation of the course material. I found the prescribed literature, course notes and tools informative, practical and deeply empathetic in approach. Listening to participant’s personal stories and the work in grief was stimulating, moving and helpful. I recommend the program for anyone who wants to grow with heart and backbone in their personal journey and vocational practice in grief.
After years of seeking to upgrade my coaching credentials, I finally found what I was looking for! This program is totally interactive and provided me with the best creative tools I have found to coach clients through loss and grief. Since I completed the Creative grief studio certification course in 2013, the support I offer has shifted from formal across-the-desk discussion to empowering clients to use a creative and embodied approach individualized to them through their own resources of touch, smell, play, remembering, etc. My confidence, motivation and creative toolbox is now like no other but, most importantly, I have witnessed how my learning guides me through supporting my clients to bring back, maintain or enhance their quality of life.
WHAT’S IN THE COURSE?
Our course is based on narrative theory (Madigan, 2011) and shame resilience theory (Brown, 2006). Over the course of 4 months, we’ll cover the following modules:
1. Preparing for the course
We’ll all be meeting each other and getting familiar with our private online classroom and the various ways that we’ll learn, as we get ready for our first live call the following week.
2. Introduction to grief
We’ll introduce you to the core themes that we’ll explore more deeply throughout the course: grief as a creative and social meaning-making process, shame resilience, agency, belonging, and hope.
3. The support relationship
We’ll look at the role of the support relationship in Creative Grief Support, and what it means to nurture a non-pathologizing “Two-Way Account” (White, 1997) of Creative Grief Support.
4. Meaning-making after loss
We’ll cover the core philosophical assumptions that underpin our approach, including the roles of language and social discourse in meaning-making after loss, and a critique of mainstream grief theories.
5. Shame in meaning-making after loss
We’ll explore the potential effects of shame on meaning-making after loss, what supports shame to grow, and the intersections of social injustice with grief and shame.
6. Shame resilience and generative meaning-making
You’ll learn what shame resilience is, why it’s important in meaning-making after loss, and what kinds of themes and creative conversations can support shame resilience in meaning-making.
7. Emotions in grieving
We’ll critically review various social discourses about emotions and cover a variety of creative ways to support greater range and flexibility in the experience, understanding, and expression of grieving emotions.
8. Embodying agency
We’ll look into the multiple and multi-directional relationships between grief and the body, as well as various creative ways to support your grieving clients to find ways to embody agency during and after loss.
9. Remembering Conversations
We’ll introduce you to the comforting philosophy and deeply respectful approach of facilitating re-membering conversations with clients who are grieving the death of a loved one.
10. Re-membering conversations in conflicted relationships and after traumatic death
You’ll learn how you can use re-membering conversations with people grieving the death of a person with whom they had a difficult or abusive relationship, or when the death was traumatic.
11. Traumatic grief
We’ll explore the nature of trauma, its potential effects, how to know when your client needs specialist trauma support, and an approach to facilitating safe and helpful conversations about trauma.
12. Grieving in community
We’ll discuss how grief may significantly alter a person’s social world, and cover several creative ideas for supporting your clients to transform relational conflict that may compound stress or loneliness after loss.
13. Support when death is near
We’ll get to grips with the ethics, values, choices, and aesthetics involved in supporting your clients and their families to create meaning when death is near.
14. Becoming: your values, ethics, limits, and ongoing growth
You’ll learn the differences between therapy and coaching, how to discern whether your client needs more specialist support, and the values, ethics, and practices that can be sustaining for you and your clients.
15. Endings and possibilities
We’ll explore what our clients might need, and how we might support those needs through creative and relational approaches as we come to the ending phase of our individual and group work.
16. Certification Assessment Preparation
For those who wish to proceed with certification assessment, we’ll review the requirements for certification, and help you to prepare logistically, emotionally, and academically for your certification submissions.
Brown, B (2006). Shame Resilience Theory: A Grounded Theory Study on Women and Shame. Families in Society. Volume 87. No. 1, pp. 43-51.
Madigan, S. (2011. Narrative Therapy. American Psychological Association, Washington, DC.
White, M. (1997). Narratives of therapist’s lives. Dulwich Centre Publications. Adelaide, South Australia.
I really valued that there is space, flexibility, and people are seen as humans. Learning takes place at your pace, there’s no rushing. I felt held and supported, and there was a gentleness that is so important to such work. Along with the support of Kara and Cath, the content is rich, deep, and thoughtful, and there’s a wonderful bag of tools that you can use for personal growth as well as with clients in myriad ways. The way this course talks about grief and loss is how I want to see grief and loss in my life, and in my clients’ lives.
This course was highly relevant and informative. The amount of information was manageable and there were offerings that allowed me to go beyond the classroom for further information if I was particularly inspired. The myriad articles for further reading and books recommended within the community have expanded my resource library. Knowing that I have access to continuing support and supervision through the ongoing connection to alumni and to the course facilitators is an important advantage to this course
OUR TEACHING TEAM
Kara LC Jones (CAIC, CRMT, BA) is a Certified Appreciative Inquiry and Whole Systems Coach, and a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, holding double degrees in Literary+Cultural Theory and Creative Writing. Kara, along with Cath Duncan, is a co-founder of The Creative Grief Studio and a curriculum co-designer of our Certification course. Kara interned for three years at FCI on production of Mister Rogers Neighborhood. Grief support books Kara has authored include Mrs. Duck and the Woman, Flash Of Life, and 1000 Permissions Granted. Connect with her at GriefAndCreativity.com.
Tamara Beachum (BS) manages the program for our Creative Grief Support Practitioner Certification. She was our inaugural Certified Creative Grief Support Practitioner and is founder of Artful Living After Loss at TamaraBeachum.com. Also a grief educator, you will get to know her as a member of our teaching team as well. Tamara is located in Atlanta, GA where she hosts a support group for widows/widowers and art-based classes on grief and creativity.
Gail M. Syring (MA Min, RM) is a Spiritual Director, Trainer of Compassionate Communication, and a Sexual Assault Crisis Advocate. In addition, she is an instructor and student affairs professional at the University of Hartford. Gail specializes in spiritual direction; sexuality; women’s health; LGBTQI support; mediation and conflict resolution; sexual assault/rape crisis intervention and prevention; leadership; and diversity training.
Yvonne M. Lucia (RN, MDiv.) is a multi-media artist whose practice interweaves her expertise is the realms of healing, spirituality and expressive arts as she companions others who journey with grief. She is certified as a Creative Grief Support Practitioner, Grief Counselor, Spiritual Director and Veriditas Labyrinth Facilitator. You can learn more about her work at www.YvonneLucia.com and www.SacredArtPortal.com.
Lori Boyer (BA) is a Board Certified Music Therapist and Certified Creative Grief Support Practitioner. Through the use of creative exercises, music, and guided imagery, she helps clients create new meanings after loss. Lori teaches, leads support groups, and maintains a clinical practice with an emphasis on mindful and empowered grieving. Connect with her at GinnysCircle.org.
Gail Darlington (MA) is a psychotherapist specializing in eating disorders, working with individuals, families and groups. She has a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, as well as training in family therapy. She is one of our Certified Creative Grief Support Practitioners and also studied for four years at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art bringing all that creativity into her psychotherapy practice. Connect with her at GailDarlingtonMA.com.
Carol Miller (LCSW) is an MSW and a Certified Creative Grief Support Practitioner currently working as the Bereavement Coordinator and Counselor with Casa de la Luz Hospice in Tucson, AZ. For over 25 years, she has worked with those who are exploring a variety of losses, including the death of loved ones (special focus on perinatal losses through miscarriage, infant death and stillbirth), chronic illness, infertility, identity, and other life transitions (individuals and in groups). She holds additional certifications as a Mind-Body Skills facilitator, a Daring Way™ facilitator and as a Compassionate Bereavement Care® Provider. Connect with her at CarolSMillerLCSW.com.
OUR GUEST FACULTY
Our guest faculty are all leaders in their fields, and we’re thrilled to have their pioneering work as part of our curriculum, as well as their voices contributing to the teaching through live or recorded lectures
Cath Duncan (MSW) is a Registered Clinical Social Worker with a background in Child Protection, Trauma Debriefing and counseling for burnout, anxiety, and Depression. Cath, along with Kara Jones, is a co-founder of The Creative Grief Studio and a curriculum co-designer of our Certification course. Cath helps grieving people to live wholeheartedly after loss at RememberingForGood.com, and co-curates an educational website about the option to bring stillborn and deceased babies home at WhenYourBabyDies.com. Cath is the author of the Remembering For Good Grief Workbook.
Dr. Lorraine Hedtke (MSW, ACSW, PhD)teaches about bereavement throughout the U.S. and internationally. We are pleased to have her teaching her ground-breaking Re-membering Conversations work to our participants. Her unique ideas and practices are drawn from narrative therapy and represent a departure from the conventional models of grief psychology. She co-authored the prescribed reading we use for this class, The Crafting of Grief: Constructing Aesthetic Responses to Loss. She has also authored several other books and articles available through RememberingPractice.com.
Dr. Harriet Lerner (PhD) is one of the world’s most respected voices in the psychology of women and family relationships. She has authored over 10 books published in 35 languages. Her latest book, Why Won’t You Apologize?: Healing Big Betrayals and Everyday Hurts , was released in 2017. We’re very pleased that Dr. Lerner has contributed a recorded lecture on the topic of dealing with difficult but important relationships during grieving.
Ade Adeniji (LLB, MSc, MCIPD, CDWF, FRSA) is co-founder of The Quest for Gay Men, a UK-based social enterprise that delivers personal development programs aimed at transforming the relationships that gay men have with themselves, others and the world. We’re excited to have a recorded lecture with Ade on understanding how social justice issues might influence grief, shame resilience, and meaning making after loss for marginalized groups. You can learn more at: TheQuestAwaitsYou.com, WalkWithYou.me and DaringEurope.com.
Dr. Kimberly Manning (MD) is an academic internist board certified in Internal Medicine. She is on the Emory University School of Medicine faculty, practicing at one of the largest public hospitals in the U.S., Grady Hospital. Through Reflections of a Grady Doctor she shares insights from her hospital work and life, telling stories of lessons she learns every day. We’re thrilled to have a recorded lecture with her on social justice, reflection and practices to sustain you in finding and maintaining purposeful work.
Dr. Darcy Harris (PhD, FT) is an Associate Professor and Thanatology Coordinator at King’s University College in Canada. She maintains a clinical practice specializing loss and transition and has published many articles, book chapters, and books including most recently the Handbook of Social Justice in Loss and Grief . Her social justice approach to grieving is a wonderful compliment to exploring cultural and societal grief rules that may obstruct grieving or feel oppressive to grieving people.
Heather Plett (BA) is an international speaker, writer, coach, and facilitator who hosts retreats and workshops in holding space, writing and creative discovery through techniques such as mandala journaling. She spent 15 years as a professional communicator and organizational storyteller in government and non-profit. We are pleased to have her contributing her body art journaling work and a wonderful recorded lecture on using creativity to transform grief. Find out more at HeatherPlett.com.
Vanessa Gorman (BA Com) is the filmmaker and writer behind the documentary, Losing Layla, an intensely personal award-winning documentary about the death of her daughter and the grief afterward. Her book, Layla’s Story, is a companion to the documentary. Vanessa shares with us her experiences of grief and shame and our discussions with her offer a moving and thought-provoking look into the impact of shame in grieving. You can learn more at VanessaGorman.com.
Breaking down the difference between shame and guilt in grief has been most useful for me. This was a new perspective for me and I now recognize how it can complicate the grief experience. I have a new appreciation for the heavy grief rules we may carry so to shine the light on shame makes the process much lighter. The experience is giving me more space to be with my clients and I now find myself dropping more into a place of curiosity with my clients and being a guide for them versus an expert
I considered myself to know a lot about grief coming into this course, but I leave with so much more to offer myself, my clients and anyone in my life. I am excited to share what I have teamed with others so they can come out from underneath the misguided thinking about grief… I love the new “language” I have learned and I feel so much more confidence in supporting others. It is such a shift in how I think and I feel like it gives me freedom in my work and in my own life. !found it to be exactly what I was hoping for – rich and practical ways to walk with my demons in their grief, beyond telling their story and offering compassion and validation. I find that the information provided so much in the way of theory and application, as well as new ways to look at grief and how it can look in our future. I feel this was an amazing value for the money. Like all things in life, the more I put in, the more I get out, but in this instance I feel that it is a compound investment in the sense that I am also able to benefit from the hours that others are putting in too. I feel like the framework, content, toolkit and forums are true gold mines – them is so much wealth and wisdom to be gleaned.
WHAT’S NOT IN THE COURSE?
Death and grief can be deeply spiritual experiences, so conversations about spirituality are welcomed in this course. However, we do not teach any particular religious doctrine and we expect that all participants are willing to respect a diverse range of spiritual and religious perspectives shared within and beyond our classroom.
Working with children
Our course is most suitable for those who are working with adolescents and adults. However, if you are already working with children, and understand child development, you’ll find the grief theory relevant, and the creative activities in this course very adaptable for supporting grieving children. Remember that supporting grieving children most often also involves supporting the adults who care for them and often are also grieving.
The Law of Attraction
This course is for professionals who are assisting people who have experienced tragedy, loss, and grief. The “Law of Attraction” and other ideas that suggest that our thoughts are capable of causing good or bad events in our lives are not useful to grieving people, and can add to their pain.
Foundational helping skills
We select participants who already have foundational helping skills, such as listening, empathy, and rapport-building, so that we can focus on advanced grief-specific theory and creative heART-making.
Business development skills
Business development is a whole other world of learning! Also, many of our students enjoy working within organisations and don’t wish to become self-employed.
As a former funeral director,
I was taught to handle my client’s grief in a very old school way that had been deemed “the way”. Through this course my eyes have been opened to a much more human approach to dealing with death, not only for myself, but my clients.
Cath and Kara have been very conscientious in offering a lot of relevant material that can work with the wide variety of backgrounds of the participants. There is experiential and theoretical learning. I really appreciated the thoroughness of the foundations of what is being taught. The manuals, readings, exercises and supplemental materials are extensive and support the teachings and my learning. I loved the safe space created and I felt supported in spite of the newness and strangeness of doing the class online!
WHAT YOU’LL GET
Just like there can be great differences in the ways that people grieve, there can also be great differences in the ways that people learn. So we’ve designed a learning journey that offers multiple ways to support your learning through reading, listening, watching demos, discussing, reflecting, journaling, heARt-making, and practicing.
When you register for this course, you’ll get:
- A printable set of comprehensive manuals that provide you with the full theoretical base for the course, as well as a complete bibliography and links for additional recommended resources.
- Prescribed reading: a book that we ask you to purchase, and several academic articles that we’ll provide.
- Recorded guest faculty lectures taught by internationally-renowned psychology and grief support practitioners (Dr. Harriet Lerner, Dr. Darcy Harris, Dr. Lorraine Hedtke, and others listed on our Faculty page.)
- Weekly live conference calls in which we’ll teach and answer your questions, and also guide you through experiential creative exercises. All our calls are recorded so that you can re-listen to them anytime.
- Templates for important documents such as intake forms and contracts.
- Video demonstrations of heART-making materials and methods to set you at ease and inspire you.
- Video and audio demonstrations of creative grief support conversations to show you what the theory might look and sound like in practice.
- Over 25 different creative grief support exercises that can be adapted for working with either individuals or groups.
- Worksheets for all the creative exercises, which you can adapt for your own use.
Community, discussion, and support
- A “coaching buddy” system in the class, so you can work through the grief support practice homework together.
- A private classroom where you can post your heART-work, share your reflective journalling, and ask more questions along the way.
Post-course resources and community
- On-going access to the online classroom, and all course updates.
- An invitation into our Creative Grief Support Alumni Classroom which contains a library of recorded alumni conference calls covering topics such as business development, technology for entrepreneurs, additional grief support ideas, and more.
- Invitations to quarterly live calls with all Creative Grief Support alumni.
- Opportunities to advertise your offerings in our e-news.
- A listing on our website, once you’re certified.
This course has helped me grow tremendously. I’ve already noticed a positive difference in the way that I facilitate my monthly support group. I have always considered becoming a coach, and the fact that this was specifically about issues surrounding grief and loss really resonated with me and the work that I do. I think that with the expertise of the teachers, the weekly coaching calls, materials, assigned reading, interviews, and the on going learning available after the course that this has been completely worth the cost! The value is incredible and worth every penny.
This course is the most influential and excellent learning experience I’ve ever had, and I have taken many for which I have paid more.” This course is the most influential and excellent learning experience I have ever had, and I have taken many for which I have paid more. I felt safe, comfortable, and supported in this course. My coaching buddy was also a tremendous source of support and encouragement. The content was wonderful in all ways. I learned, experienced, imagined, and created something new with each module. I can imagine taking the course again in the future, just to experience the evolution of the material.
After completing the course, you have the option to apply for Certification as a Creative Grief Support Practitioner. Our Certified alumni receive:
- A certificate and badge to confirm your certification, which you may display in your office, on your website, on your business stationary or course materials, etc.
- A listing on our site at CreativeGriefStudio.com, including a link to your website.
For certification assessment, we ask you to submit a small portfolio demonstrating your skills. You’ll receive full details for this with your course materials. We place no deadline on your registration or submissions for certification assessment, so you are welcome to decide after taking the class whether you’d like to submit for certification. We charge a certification assessment fee of $975 USD, and there are no requirements to renew your certification annually.
NOTE: Certification as a Creative Grief Support Practitioner confirms that you’ve taken our training and demonstrated skills in the approach we teach at an acceptable level. Our certification does not enable you to call yourself or your service by any of the registered or licensed professional titles, including (but not limited to) “Art Therapy/ Therapist”, “Social Work/er”, “Psychologist”, “Counselor”, “Therapist”. If you certify with us and do not have any additional professional training or licensing, then you may call yourself a “Creative Grief Support Practitioner” and your service “Creative Grief Support”.
How can I possibly rank it – even/thing in the manual is incredible! In addition to it just jiving with me so greatly, I loved having the practical insights into tools, and conversation and presence building. The content was so rich and couldn’t be more true to what I feel in my head. Every word I read in the manual sang to me. I also appreciated the extra resources and tools that are shared. These are things we can refer back to and use forever more-even if they don’t all sink in or get read the first time around. I know the material is touching my soul and slowly working its way into my day-to-day beliefs, vocabulary, and philosophy. It has also confirmed this pad of my business plans. And lastly, it has helped me to look at various aspects of my own grief, my own transformation, my own beliefs, and is shaping my journey in the most beautiful way.
My work with women and children survivors of domestic violence was enhanced by the Creative Grief Studio course work. I was able to apply so many practices and learnings when working with the loss and grief experienced by residents at Harbour House. Staff also benefited, as I shared some of those tools that they could also use in their work. I will be reconnecting as a volunteer with palliative care, and know that the work I did with Creative Grief Studio will be invaluable in that role. The resources offered are rich, and I know that I will be dipping into them for inspiration and further learning.
This is an online course, so you can call in and join us from anywhere in the world. Much of the course is set up so that you can engage with the material at any time of day that suits you, except for our calls that take place once a week throughout the course. We usually run three classes a year.
Please check your timezone, as you are expected to attend the calls!
Course starts 28 August 2018. Calls are from 4pm to 5:30pm PACIFIC on most Tuesdays, from 4 September to 13 December 2018.
28 Aug (no live call – online classroom opens)
4, 11, 18, 25 September
2, 9 (no live call), 16, 23, 30 (no live call) October
6, 13, 20, 27 November
4, 11, 13 December
Course starts 26 February 2019. Calls are from 11am to 12:30pm PACIFIC on most Tuesdays, from 5 March to 13 June 2019.
26 Feb (no live call – online classroom opens)
5, 12, 19, 26 March
2, 9 (no live call), 16, 23, 30 (no live call) April
7, 14, 21, 28 May
4, 11, 13 June
Each week I was more amazed at how much this material applies not only to my own grief in the form of depression and progressive Illness, but to my entire life.” I initially had some hesitation signing up for this course because I have not experienced grief in the form of loss of a close loved one. But I saw so many parallels between grief due to bereavement and my own grieving over losses due to my depression and progressive illness. Something was drawing me to this course and I am so glad I listened. I needn’t have worried about the material applying to my situation, as it honestly applies to my entire life. The content is so incredibly rich and deep. Cath & Kara really over-deliver, in terms of the top-notch quality of the course materials and also the authenticity, experience, and love that they both bring to this work. Every week the calls were intimate, engaging, meaningful, and full of ideas and tools to ponder and apply. The homework was challenging, and the time and emotion I put in was greatly rewarded with brand new insights and perspectives. The discovery and exploration of shame alone was an eye-opening and life-changing experience. I have taken many courses and certifications, and can truly say that this is the most powerful and fulfilling. I leave this course with new relationships, exciting possibilities, and a vault of invaluable resources to return to again and again
The course’s “experiential learning” emphasis allowed deep exploration of my own personal (unique!) grief and loss journey naturally within the course’s three months. Witnessing/companioning fellow participants in their processes brought additional teaming opportunities, increasing understanding of a range of perspectives and responses and challenges that may arise. Cath and Kara are compassionate, experienced coaches, whose individual styles combine magically, bringing ‘story’ exploration through a combination of creative prompts and narrative processes. I left the course with an enhanced sense of understanding and self-kindness, and skills to compassionately companion others in their grief journey. The course unfurled me to new way of “being” – providing inspiration for seeing new opportunities for growth and play, benefiting all areas of life.
- Course participation (content only, no certification): $2475 USD
- Certification assessment fee (if added on separately later): $975 USD
- Registration for both course participation + certification assessment at course start: $3300 USD ($150 USD discount off certification assessment fee. This discount does not apply to those awarded a scholarship because the scholarship covers 100% of the certification assessment fee.)
If your application is accepted, we will email you an acceptance letter and:
- Ask you to pay a $500 (USD) non-refundable deposit to secure your spot in the class. This will be credited towards the rest of your class fee. Your spot in the class is only secured once you’ve paid this deposit.
- Confirm your application for just the course participation, or the course plus certification assessment. You are welcome to register just for course participation, and decide about certification assessment any time after the course is finished, but there is a discount if you register for both up front.
- Ask how you would like to pay the course fee. You may pay the rest of the course fee as a single payment, or over three installments. We will then invoice you accordingly.
NOTE: The live calls and content for both tracks are the same. So if you are unsure about whether you’d like to pursue certification, select the Content-Only Track and you will be able to decide later to join the Certification Prep call which prepares students for their certification assignments.
I went through the year anniversary of my son’s death in this program and the tough weeks proceeding it…when all the memories and emotions from the year before come flooding back. !feel like being immersed here in CGS…was like having a safely net and a guide book and a soft spiritual whisper from the universal bonding of mom’s who have lost a child…you can keep living and you can keep loving…you can talk about your child and honor them and continue to bring meaning to their time here and their death.
This course has not only provided me with a wealth of knowledge and insight on the subject of loss and grief, but in addition to that it has also helped me to reflect on, and sometimes challenge, consolidate and integrate everything I have learnt as a coach thus far. I knew from the outset that it would be rigorous, challenging and time consuming, and indeed it has been all three, but it has been incredibly worthwhile. Worth all the hours (and there have been many) invested in the course and well worth every penny. Like all things in life, the more I put in, the more I get out, but in this instance I feel that it is a compound investment in the sense that I am also able to benefit from the hours that others are putting in too. I feel like the framework, content, toolkit and forums are true gold mines – there is so much wealth and wisdom to be gleaned.
Course Application deadlines for the sessions are 28 AUG 2018 and 26 FEB 2019.
Partial Scholarships deadlines are 15 JULY 2018 and 15 JAN 2019.
We make 2 partial scholarships available for each class that we run, to help make the course affordable for those with limited financial resources who’d like to take the program. Our scholarships cover part of the fee, and you remain responsible for the $500 (USD) non-refundable deposit to secure your spot and uncovered portion of the course fees. You can find full details about our scholarship application process here.
FILL OUT COURSE APPLICATION
FILL OUT SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION
I did a lot of reading and research, even before my loss, and I am still amazed at how much I learned in this course both personally and on an educational level. In particular, the shame work has been informative. I’ve read Brene Brown’s work but this seemed to sink in differently for me; it was a new context. The art opportunities were totally new for me and I found them enlightening. The community formed in the classroom led to rich conversations and I was able to give myself permission to talk about my loss more when I wanted.
The depth of the material and how it is shared is what I have enjoyed the most. There are times when the volume of information can feel overwhelming but I come to every live call and assignment excited to learn and grow. The emphasis on community and holding space has been helpful and freeing for me. The relevance of this course in my personal life and to my career has made it feel like water in a desert.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why are your entrance requirements so demanding?
Our application process and entrance criteria might mean that we sell fewer spots in the course, but with a limit of 20 in each class, the course experience is an intimate one. And we want to ensure that the course is a good fit for everyone’s needs and experience levels. If you would like to take this training but are concerned about whether your experience levels meet our requirements, apply anyway. We’ll may also invite you for an interview, and we’ll make a decision taking account of your unique experience and character.
What sort of international accreditation will this certification get me?
Currently this certification is independent and will not get you automatic accreditation with any international coaching or counselling organization. The certification will simply confirm to your clients that you have undertaken this training with us and that we can confirm that you have an acceptable level of understanding and skill to use this knowledge. You will be able to call yourself “Certified in Creative Grief Support” or a “Certified Creative Grief Coach”, but you will not be able to call yourself a “grief counselor” (or any other professional title, such as Social Worker, Psychologist, Doctor, Art Therapist, etc) unless you meet the registration requirements for that professional title within your own country/ state, through other training and licensing you’ve undertaken.
Is your course relevant to other kinds of losses, and not just the death of a loved one?
One of our foundational beliefs is that grieving is unique from person to person and one loss to the next loss, so we teach creative and flexible ways of working that can be adapted to a variety of different kinds of losses. Also, there is opportunity during the live calls, coaching buddy meetups, and online discussions to ask questions and get help with applying the ideas to your specific niche.
Is your course relevant to supporting people with all types of grief or just people grieving the death of a loved one?
As we’ve explained, our course is grounded in a recognition that grieving is a very individual experience, so the tools we teach you are all very flexible and offer lots of space for your clients to share their unique story, perspectives and needs. Only one of the tools that we teach (re-membering conversations) is more suited to working with people who are grieving the death of a loved one. All of the other tools are adaptable to a wide range of different kinds of losses. Class participants who’ve joined us from a variety of different niches and specialties have confirmed that the tools and theory is widely applicable to niches and issues such as adult children, divorce, eating disorders, the death of a pet, job-loss and many other kinds of losses.
What technology do I need in order to be able to participate in this online course?
You will need either a telephone or a computer with Skype installed and an internet connection so that you can call into our live calls. It’s advisable that you use a headset so that you can have your hands free to write or draw during the call and because a headset improves the quality of the call for everyone by cancelling our background noise. We use a USA number for the live calls, with a few international alternative offered. If you aren’t familiar or comfortable with Skype but want to save on the cost of international calls, then purchase a cheap calling card for making international calls from your country to the USA if your country is not one of the alternative offered.For everything else (the classroom, downloading the manuals, etc), you just need a computer with a decent internet connection (128 Kbit/s minimum). If you want to double-check speed, use this site. You will also need a program that allows you to read PDFs (Adobe Reader is free).
Will I have to buy a bunch of expensive art equipment to participate?
No! We do use art-making at times during the course, but we also teach conversational creativity where no art-making is required. Where we do offer art-making demos, we’ll tell you what supplies we use, but also do our best to give you alternative ideas to encourage you to use whatever you have on hand, to upcycle materials, and to think outside the “art store” box. Also, since it’s about the process of creativity rather than the product, the supplies matter less than just the process of playing and exploring with whatever supplies you have.
How do I pay?
This course is by application only. If you’re accepted into the course, we’ll ask you:
- to pay non-refundable deposit of $500 (USD) to secure spot (this goes towards your course fee),
- whether you’d like to pursue certification,
- and whether you’d like to choose a one-pay or three-pay payment plan, and then we’ll send you an invoice(s) which you can pay online, using your credit card or PayPal account.
Then we’ll send you an invoice(s) which you can pay online, using your credit card or PayPal account.
What happens if I fail the certification assessment?
During our last live call, we’ll prepare you for your certification submissions and share with you our detailed criteria of what we’re looking for you to demonstrate in your assessment submissions. In addition, we will also take account of your interactions in the live calls and forums – we expect our students to uphold the course values and handle discussions of difference with respect. If we feel that your assessment submissions aren’t demonstrating enough of the skills and values we’re looking for, then we’ll give you detailed feedback on the areas that were lacking and you may submit again and no extra cost. If your second submission is still not up to scratch then you can submit again, but you will need to pay $975 USD for each subsequent certification submission after that.
What’s your money-back policy?
We’re really proud of the course we’ve put together and we know you won’t be disappointed with the quality or delivery of the content. We’ve also worked really hard to convey the values of this course so that anyone who applies will be a good fit with our course’s core values. (Download our live call and check out our prescribed reading if you’re wondering about the values that underpin this course). For these reasons, after the first live call has taken place, the course and certification fee become non-refundable.
I feel stronger in my own understanding of grief and loss, and how I can contribute to supporting others in their journey with an open, non-judgmental, curious and compassionate head. I was able, through the material and calls, to touch my own wisdom and begin to believe in my own knowledge and experience. It was a very empowering, light-filled course.
When I felt a calling to help others who were going through grief, I discovered in the Creative Grief Studio not only amazing information and tools, but also a team of experienced, compassionate and knowledgeable people who worked and walked with me all the way through my certification. Going through grief, I observed a lack of information and resources here in Ecuador. I had so many questions and few answers until I started my training. Thanks to the CGS program, I was taught so much about grief and loss, and most importantly, I learned how to help others using coaching and creative tools and techniques. I now feel confident about my own skills as a Grief Support Practitioner. When I talk to others here they are inspired by what I share; it is unique and new. It is my mission to share discoveries so others may feel inspired to join the field as well. Thanks to the Creative Grief Studio I am excited and I am a better person because of it!
If you’d like to discuss whether this course is a good fit for you, feel free to get in touch with Program Administrator, Tamara Beachum, at [email protected] She’ll be very happy to answer your questions by email or phone.
The creative grief certification program was just what I needed to round out my toolkit and prepared me for working with clients. I came to the program with foundational skills in facilitating and one-on-one coaching but I felt I needed tools specifically designed to help clients through the grieving experience. This program offers just that. I came away with not only myriad pretested tools but in addition I learned how to effectively design my own tools. As a result, I can tailor the experience I offer to client’s needs. Cath and Kara are very generous teachers and continue to share their on-going learning with us long after the classwork ends. They have created not just a classroom of students who go their separate ways, but a community that continues to grow and learn together!
After taking this course, sensitivity towards me is emerging; a softness that I seemed to lack towards my tender spots; a greater understanding around the creative force that is linked to our pain, grief and vulnerability. My dance even feels different as a result. I am more connected to myself and others. This course felt holistic in its development and execution, taking into account the total being.
Click here to email Tamara
About Tamara: I help people who are grieving a loss use their creativity and natural resilience to move through their grief and live forward after loss. My process allows them to examine the learning that their experiences have brought to them – both positive and negative – and understand how that contributes to who they are today, embracing both. I work with people on all kinds of grief but death of a life partner, caregiving and job loss are my specialties.
About Elizabeth: I’m a co-founder of The Respite: A Centre for Grief & Hope. My specialty is helping people who have experienced the death of a loved one, with a focus on young widowhood. I became passionate about helping others through grief after experiencing the loss of a stillborn child and a spouse by the age of 27. Grief and loss are universal yet grieving in today’s society can feel very isolating. This can lead to feelings of shame or guilt. I believe that grieving is a natural process that should be honored and nurtured. When traveling through grief, one can learn to reach for the other side in order to once again live a wholehearted life. Through compassionate support, deep listening, and creative tools, I would love to help you access your inner resiliency – guiding you to a place of hope and empowerment as you rediscover life after loss.
Lori Boyer, MT-BC
Ginny’s Circle on FB
Click here to email Lori
About Lori: My career in grief began 17 years ago when I began leading support groups with Hospice. Helping people grieve the loss of something or someone treasured immediately became my passion. Five years later, we had our first miscarriage and the journey with grief got bigger. Multiple losses later, I’m committed to walking with clients amidst the darkness and discovering the impossible light on the other side. As a Board Certified Music Therapist, and now a Creative Grief Coach, you’ll find that I have personal and professional experience in helping people open up opportunities for making new meaning in their lives. I fully believe that we need a trusted partner or coach to help us define who we are becoming in light of our loss. When I’m not reflecting on life’s big questions, you can find me barefoot in my kitchen, cultivating yogurt, growing basil, making pancakes or melting wax for candles.
About Deb: Growing Beyond Grief ~ I have always been curious about people’s stories. Life lessons, love, loss, courage and hope have inspired me as a reader, writer and as a certified creative grief coach and funeral celebrant. In these roles, I listen to, hold and honor people’s stories. As a creative grief coach, I offer companionship on your travels through loss in the shape of one on one coaching, writing support and classes with an emphasis on wholehearted living. As a funeral celebrant, I help families plan create meaningful rituals to tell the story of their loved one’s life. Together, we craft a memorial service that honors the loved one who has died and lifts up your experience of them. My role as a creative grief coach and funeral celebrant is enhanced by my Master’s degree in religious studies and certificates in organizational development and mediation. My own losses combined with my education enable me to be a compassionate and supportive presence to others.
Whitney Cain, PhD
Raleigh, NC, USA
Click here to email Whitney
About Whitney: Dr. Whitney Cain is a psychotherapist in Raleigh, North Carolina. She specializes in helping adults explore their best, most authentic selves, and negotiate challenges associated with change, transition, and grief. Whitney holds Masters degrees in Applied Psychology (Boston University, 1994) and Mental Health Counseling (North Carolina Central University, 2014), as well as a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology (North Carolina State University, 2000). She received certification from the Creative Grief Studio in Spring of 2017. Prior to opening her practice, Bloomsbury Therapy, Whitney was an Associate Professor in Psychology at William Peace University. Over her 23-year teaching career, she explored the intersection between the stories we tell about ourselves, our sense of self, and how unique challenges inform these. Whitney’s research has been published in journals including Merrill Palmer Quarterly, Discourse Processes, and VISTA. Learn more about Whitney by visiting her website or contacting her via email or phone.
Salem, MA USA
Click here to email Paula
About Paula: Paula is an Allied Health professional and certified meditation instructor. She discovered the power of creative meaning making quite by accident when her sister lost her husband at a young age with small children. Paula wanted to support her but was unsure how to do that. She wondered what she could say or do that would make a difference. Ultimately, she made a blanket of her brother-in-law’s favorite t-shirts, working feverishly for two weeks immediately after his passing to create the gift. The experience was gratifying and Paula felt empowered to notice the “elephant in the room” of all hurting people. Many people come from family backgrounds that do not support or validate painful emotional expression. She believes that everyone has the inherent capacity to feel their feelings and to transform their grief into something of great relevance and meaning for themselves. Paula attends to what is being said and sensitively offers creative activities and thoughtful questions to guide clients into learning how to go deep and find their own resources to validate and support themselves.
Rev. Dr. Debra May Cerra
Columbiana, OH, USA
Click here to email Debra
About Debra: Debbie received her Doctorate of Ministry (DMin) from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh, PA in Spring 2012. Her doctoral paper is entitled “Grief and Community: How the Incarnate Christ can work through community to comfort and heal those who grieve.” In July 2015, she earned a certification in Creative Grief Support through CreativeGriefStudio.com. She has also completed a certification in Contemplative Leadership with Oasis Ministries.
Gloria A. Charlier, RN, BSN, CH, MA
About Gloria: Gloria is a registered nurse with an extensive background in the field of mental health. She received her master’s degree in wisdom spirituality and specializes in holistic approaches to healing in addition to her certification as a Creative Grief Coach. Gloria studied with Jeanne Rose a leading expert in the world of Aromatherapy and all things herbal and became an Aromatherapist in 2002. In 2004 Gloria completed a 2 year course of study with Dr. Caroline Myss and became a professional Sacred Contract Consultant. Since completing the program with Caroline Myss Gloria has gone on to become a Certified Hypnotherapist and Wellness Coach. She has used workshops as well as one-on-one consulting to help her clients achieve their goals through the healing process. Gloria has more recently been studying under Dr. Raymond Moody PhD world-renown author, psychiatrist and expert in the area of Near Death Experiences.
Mary C. Conte, MA, MBA
Los Angeles, California
Click here to email Mary
About Mary: “Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.” That’s what Joan Didion wrote on the first page of The Year of Magical Thinking. Having always been in the advisory and counseling professions in law and business and dispute resolution, it wasn’t until I was willing to get help for my own grief and loss that I was best able to help others with Grief Coaching after the traumatic losses of my partner and my mother. I also assist in the areas of job loss, moving, and work with people and families in the throes of alcohol addiction recovery. I am an attorney, mediator, accountant, and producer and have a law degree from Rutgers, an MBA from Fordham, an MA in French Studies from NYU, and am a Fulbright Scholar who studied at the Sorbonne in Paris. I am a certified Martha Beck Life Coach and a certified Creative Grief Coach who coaches with horses upon request.
Gail Darlington, MA
Click here to email Gail
About Gail: For the past thirty years I have been a psychotherapist specializing in eating disorders, working with individuals, families and groups. I have a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, and training in family therapy. I have always loved family therapy, describing my sessions as if I were painting a picture. “As the story unfolds, textures and colors appear and a new, exhilarating vision emerges.” Yet I longed to bring my passion for art, inspired by four years at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art, into my psychotherapy practice. A number of personal significant losses (sister, parents, husbands and dog) led me into further exploring grief. Thankfully, I discovered The Creative Grief Studio, the stepping stone to the next chapter of my story. Now in addition to eating disorders, I focus on grief therapy incorporating art exercises. My passion for creating art has been rekindled.
Dr. Jennifer Dearing-Rubens
About Jennifer: Dr. Jennifer Dearing Rubens is a Behavior Consultant, Creative Grief Coach and a Trust-Based Relation Intervention (TBRI) Educator in Nashville. She received her B.S. in Psychology, M.A. in Behavioral Science and Ph.D in Educational Psychology-Individual Differences from the University of Houston where she spent time researching and working with families who had children diagnosed with Autism. Her dissertation was on the “Effects of Contextual Influences on Stress Level for Caregivers of Children Diagnosed with Autism” (2009) and she has spoken on and written papers regarding the grief reactions experienced by parents who have a child with a Developmental Disability. Jennifer loves writing children’s poetry and has published a children’s book “I’m Up and Ready To Eat” in 2007. She currently is working with children who have attachment disorders from exposure to problems during pregnancy, birthing complications, early hospitalization, abuse, trauma or neglect. She resides in Nashville with her husband, 3 girls and their 2 chocolate labs.
About Maribeth: We grieve because we love and that love doesn’t die when someone or something beloved dies. I can help you examine how you feel now, how you want to feel in the future, and then help you determine what first steps to take towards bridging the gap. When it comes to your grief journey, YOU know best. I won’t tell you how to do it, but I will help you shine a light on those dark corners helping you step forward towards wholeheartedly living. I work with any type of loss or challenging life experience including pregnancy after loss.
Beth Erlander, MA, LPC, ATR
Denver / Boulder, CO
About Beth: Beth Erlander calls herself a “Grief Geek.” She’s worked with grief since graduate school where she did a dual internship in hospice and disability issues. In 2012 her interest in grief became her life’s passion when life went upside down: her partner fell off his mountain bike, broke his neck and became a quadriplegic. Having dealt with this life change, she now loves helping others navigate their way through all kinds of grief. She uses a body-centered approach combined with creative arts. Her work is informed by her own healing journey-she dove into community grief rituals and walked part of the El Camino to process her grief. When not seeing clients she can be found walking, dancing, gardening, cooking, tending her partner and his needs and doing anything she considers “radical self-care” which is crucial to maintain her ability to caregive and fully enjoy this precious thing called life.
Julee Gell, LCSW
About Julee: bio coming soon…
Ann N. Gustely
West Haven, CT
About Ann: bio coming soon…
Carla Marie Harvey
Los Angeles, CA
About Carla: I am a licensed Funeral Director, certified creative grief coach and author. In addition, I am also a full time musician in a heavy metal band, which I believe gives me a truly unique view on healing. I have unwittingly been inventing my own creative grief coaching tools my whole life as I fought through my own losses by committing to art and music as my personal release. I’m looking forward to helping others work through their grief with sincerity, compassion and a fresh perspective. I am currently offering worldwide skype sessions and in person sessions in the Atwater Village neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.
About Heidi: Traditional models of dealing with grief encourage us to “let go” and terminate our ties to the person who has died, often leaving us feeling isolated, alone and feeling judged as though we aren’t doing it “right”. Significant losses are never simple, or singular, rather they involve a myriad of complex experiences & emotions and can feel all consuming at times. Without a compassionate community in which to grieve, our grieving can become chronic or complicated, leading to other kinds of emotional, cognitive, physical or social difficulties. If you have experienced the pain and trauma of loss and are struggling, I can help. Together we can manage the pain of grief in a way that honors both you and your loved one.
Amber K. Jacoby
Click here to email Amber
About Amber: My personal journey with grief began with the sudden death of my husband. I found traditional grief support helped, but the “not so traditional” path was most inspiring and held more value for me. I wanted to grieve in a way that spoke to my life and heart, not by a structured model. The way not to just survive, but to thrive, was by honoring my own grief experience with intention, love and creative exploration. I welcomed whatever emotion came knocking; always inviting it in to seek its purpose. I now offer safe and supportive exploration to others through the Center for Creative Grief. As a Certified Creative Grief Support Practitioner, Certified Compassionate Bereavement Care Provider® and Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork Practitioner, I help others design and honor their personal journey with grief.
Karen O. Johnson, M. Ed.
Salt Lake City, UT
EveryDayGrief on Facebook
Click here to email Karen
About Karen: Reckoning with the rollercoaster of grief, Karen embraces her mantra: Living Life Counts. She began grief groups while counseling in the schools, and works with youth, families, and adults offering individual and group counseling. Believing in the significance of grief, Karen penned “GRIEFABET: EveryDayGrief Letters to Wrap Around Your Heart” with an accompanying coloring book. Her words are indicative of Karen’s way of looking at loss with inquisitive eyes. As the founder of EveryDayGrief, LLC, Karen has developed a company offering innovative seminars for helping professionals, where she beams with passion for creative grief techniques that can ignite a despairing soul to breathe again. Karen holds a B.A. in English, an M.Ed. in Counseling, is a Laughter Yoga Certified Instructor, Human Services-Board Certified Practitioner, and a Certified Creative Grief Coach.
Laird Landon, PhD
Click here to email Laird
About Laird: Grief can occur after the death of a parent, spouse or child. However, grief isn’t only about losing a person. It can follow a terminal diagnosis of a family member, or loss of a pet, a career, a flooded home or anything that is central to who we are. Loss can shake our world. We struggle to make sense of it. Our emotions may bring us way down. Our challenge to rebuild ourselves may reorder who we are and how we relate to others and how we think of ourselves. It can even shake our religious foundation.
Laird helps grievers with emotional support and a sympathetic ear to ease the journey. He facilitates three caregiver support groups and coaches caregivers and family members who have lost a loved one. He cared at home for his wife of 50 years after a dementia diagnosis. Marilyn is now in memory care and hospice. Please write to Laird to talk about your challenge with grief.
Janice Lodato, MA, RMT
Oak Park, IL
About Janice: Janice Lodato employs a client-centered approach to bring about the highest healing good for her clients using Reiki and creative coaching tools. In addition to her personal experiences with loss, Janice works with cancer patients who are experiencing grief around the loss of health, loved ones, and work. Janice is able to offer Reiki and coaching to help her clients on their journey to maximum health and whole-hearted living. She holds a Master’s Degree in Philosophy from Bowling Green State University. She completed her Reiki 1 and 2 training in 2001, Reiki Master Teacher training in 2003, and in 2010 became a Reiki Master of Masters. She is approved by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) as a continuing education Approved Provider.
Yvonne Lucia, RN, M.Div
About Yvonne: Yvonne M. Lucia, R.N., M. Div., is a multi-media artist whose practice interweaves her expertise is the realms of healing, spirituality and expressive arts as she companions others who journey with grief. She is passionate about the transformational potential of every person’s inborn creativity across the spectrum of living, loving, experiencing loss, and leaning forward.
Los Angeles, CA
Click here to email Laverne.
About Laverne: Grieving losses other than death is the focus of Laverne’s work as a certified life coach, executive coach and grief counselor. Whether it’s from loss from career/job, divorce, moving, or other forms of safety and stability, Laverne works with clients to master the art and power of transformation. Her approach is holistic, encouraging clients to see themselves as creative, resourceful and whole; it’s also cognitive, focusing on growth through purpose and values, on “being” as well as “doing.”
Carol Miller, LCSW
Click here to email Carol.
About Carol: Working in the arena of death, dying, grief and loss, has been an integral part of my life for over 25 years. Two devastating personal losses led me to embrace the value of grief support groups in 1986. Subsequently I went on to receive my MSW and become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Currently working as the Bereavement Coordinator and Counselor with Casa de la Luz Hospice in Tucson, Arizona, I have a long professional history of working with those who have experienced a variety of losses, including losses experienced through the death of loved ones (special focus on perinatal losses through miscarriage, infant death and stillbirth), chronic illness, infertility, identity, and other life transitions (individuals and in groups). I hold additional certifications as a Mind-Body Skills facilitator, a Daring Way™ facilitator and as a Compassionate Bereavement Care® Provider.
Karen Mittet, BA, BEd
Click here to email Karen
About Karen: Karen learned about the heartache of grief in her early twenties when her mother died of cancer. She experienced first hand the deep emptiness that comes with the death of a loved one . The strong feelings that are associated with loss placed Karen on a journey of discovery. She returned to school, earning a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education to become an elementary school teacher. Karen began volunteering at the local Hospice House. Over time, she became a Grief Group Facilitator for Hospice and for a local non-profit. After certifying as a Grief Companion in September of 2016 with Dr. Alan Wolfelt at his Center for Loss in Colorado, Karen opened a Grief Companioning Practice called Luminescence Creative Grief Support. In March 2017, she certified with The Creative Grief Studios and with The Vancouver School of Narrative Therapy. Luminescence means “moving towards the light,” and Karen’s practice provides a non-judgmental, caring, loving space to companion people along their grief journey from darkness to light. Karen’s strengths are her curiosity about other peoples’ lives, a listening heart and an empathic spirit. She also loves to knit, color, play the violin, garden, walk, hike, mountain bike, play ice hockey and spend time with her family and two cats.
Gina Murrietta, Bereavement Coordinator
Sarah Novak, MBA, CPCC, ACC
About Sarah: Sarah Novak is committed to supporting individuals who feel like they’ve lost control of their life due to adversity of some kind (health issue, lay-off, infertility, international relocation or a life transition like marriage, birth, divorce or retirement to name a few). She specializes in the non-death grieving that occurs at life’s transition moments and focuses on helping her clients process their grief in a safe, manageable way that enables them to move forward with confidence and clarity. Sarah holds a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) and is also certified with the Coaches Training Institute (CPCC) and the International Coaching Federation (ACC). She is currently living in Washington DC with her 3 year old daughter and diplomatic spouse after completing tours in both the Philippines and Peru.
Julie A. Pierce, Fertility & Healthy Lifestyle Coach
Click here to email Julie
About Julie: I am dedicated to shattering cultural taboos and stereotypes that create conflict and toxicity in the body. Since 1991, I’ve been on a mission to cut through the dogma, myths, and jargon of the healthcare industry and uncover the foundational principles of self-healing. Our ability to heal is directly related to our ability to receive and cultivate within ourselves unconditional love. After loss, the experience of unconditional love can become particularly challenging. In relation to fertility, the compounding disappointment of not conceiving month after month amounts to a deep experience of grief for most women. This is not obvious to everyone. More obvious, is loss through miscarriage or stillbirth. Our work together empowers you to return to living wholeheartedly after loss. In our work together, we may even discover that this transformation brings about wholehearted living for the first time since childhood. It’s beautiful!
Donna M. Ritz, LCSW
Click here to email Donna
About Donna: My professional story begins almost 30 years ago, when I decided to study the impact that death and loss have on the us. I have always been concerned about how society processes loss, i.e.: “a normal grief reaction.” Of particular interest to me in the recovery process, is how we can incorporate losses in our lives, so that we create a future that includes that loss, but is not permanently thwarted by it. In my private practice, I work with people who have experienced all kinds of losses: death of a loved one, death of a child, loss of health, chronic and/or terminal diagnoses, loss of youth, as well as ambiguous loss, which is to say, losses that are discounted in more traditional definitions of loss. This work has been the some of the most rewarding work I have done throughout my career. I have a Bachelor’ Degree in Psychology, with a minor in Women’s Studies, followed by a Master’s in Social Work. In addition to my academic degrees, I have formally studied Imago Therapy and Voice Dialogue, Creative Grief Coaching. I have also done extensive leadership programs well known world-wide, to develop myself and others.
Joan Rubano, RN, MSOD, BSN, HNB-BC, CSLC
San Francisco / Fairfield, CA
About Joan: Certified Holistic Nurse / Bodyworker, Holistic / Spiritual Life Coach, Creative Grief Coach / Dying Consciously Facilitator, Alchemic Hypnotherapy Practitioner / Stress Management, Breathwork / Meditation Coach, Wellness Retreats / Workshop Facilitator
Joan serves as a professional and caring guide to help you achieve your own evolutionary wellness of being so you can live in peace and joy every day! She provides an array of integrative methodologies to assist others in achieving positive and congruent alignment of their Body-Mind- Emotions-Spirit. Joan is committed to encouraging others to live happier, healthier, more empowered and more abundant lives. She offers an all-inclusive coaching style which is one of a kind … using a variety of modalities, she “tailor makes” sessions that meet the unique needs of each client. Joan combines a variety of skills with her keen intuition and deep compassion to help you live your best life now! Additionally, she facilitates local, national and international workshops that foster: Self Care, Personal Empowerment, Holistic Wellness, Forgiveness, Creating Abundance, Finding Joy, and Healing After Loss. Joan enjoys living in California with her family and happily continues her journeys as a holistic nurse,coach, teacher, healer, seeker world-traveler and spiritual evolutionist.
About Jess: I provide parenting support for women who are grieving losses associated with anxiety, depression, or bipolar. The grief experienced with illnesses such as these is an example of “disenfranchised grief”, a term that describes grief that is not acknowledged by society. The shame associated with these often misunderstood conditions can cause isolation and loss of community which stunts the natural grieving process. Trying to parent from this emotional state feeds shame and guilt, worsening the illnesses and continuing the cycle. I help mothers break this painful cycle, achieve and maintain emotional health, and become more confident, empowered parents.
Barbara Schipper, Spiritual Director
Click here to email Barbara
About Barbara: My sacred leanings to notice, listen and ponder invite me to show up and be present in life. As spouse, parent, friend, educator, ministry director, facilitator, and spiritual director… it is these attributes that serve me in journeying with others, with you, through the stuff of life that begs the question, “What now?” I will notice, listen and ponder with you in drawing upon your own wisdom, resilience and creativity in service of wholehearted living. We will do this through relational conversation and engaging creative exercises for your mind, heart and spirit. Other stuff: B.A. and M.A. in the Social Sciences and Education; Authorized Facilitator for Darkness to Light, a program for prevention of childhood sexual abuse; Certified Spiritual Director; and now Certified Grief Support Practitioner.
Gwen Suesse, BA, MAT
About Gwen: My life has been a “living laboratory” for life and grief coaching. I have experienced myriad detours, unexpected twists, sublime serendipities, surprising circumstances, devastating disappointments, happy synchronicities, sundry humiliations, incredible generosities, gnarly predicaments, loss of people I love, and all manner of stubborn quandaries. These experiences have sharpened my understanding of how people can evolve through challenging circumstances. In addition to Creative Grief Studio certification, I am a Martha Beck Certified Life Coach. I hold a B. A. in Music from Wagner College, and an M.A.T. from Harvard University, as well as certification in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®. I am a published author. My book, illustrated with calligraphy by San Francisco artist Renée Locks, is Womansong: Balance and Harmony in a Feminine Key. I live in Tryon, North Carolina, where I am active in music and arts organizations, as well as volunteering for the local Hospice.
Claudia Gray Sweet
Central CA area
About Claudia: Bio coming soon…
Gail M. Syring
West Hartford, CT
About Gail: Gail M. Syring received her master’s degree in ministry from Hartford Seminary, and specializes in the ministry of everyday life. As a Creative Grief Coach and Spiritual Director, Gail is dedicated to being a companion on the spiritual journeys of those seeking to reclaim their own strength and resourcefulness. Additionally, Gail is a Reiki Master Teacher in the Usui tradition, a trainer of compassionate communication, and a sexual assault crisis advocate. Syring’s areas of specialty include: pastoral care and spiritual direction; sexuality education and women’s health; LGBT support, advocacy, and education; mediation and conflict resolution; sexual assault/rape crisis intervention and prevention; leadership training/workshops; and diversity training/workshops. In addition, she is an instructor and student affairs professional at the University of Hartford.
Certified Alumni World Wide
+ 7 + 3207 9515
Click here to email Beth
About Beth: Beth’s interest in the areas of loss and grief started 15 years ago when she was working as a funeral celebrant especially in the area of infant funerals. Those beautiful families taught her a great deal about love and loss. At the same time, she started a nationwide marriage and funeral celebrant training company. Her original training was in business, but now solely in humanities. She has qualified as a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist ® and is certified internationally as a Thanatologist. In her home state, she began holding Death Cafes and this has further reminded her how the conversation of death has to be reinvented as a natural topic of dialogue in our communities. She is looking forward to taking her Creative Grief Support knowledge into her work, and she would love to work again in the support of families who have experienced the loss of their baby or child.
Rob Halfyard, RSW
About Rob: Rob is a Registered Social Worker with the Alberta College of Social Workers, Owner/Operator of a non profit organization serving adults with developmental disabilities, certified Certification and Accreditation Surveyor, Certified Laughter Yoga Leader and Certified Creative Grief Coach. His entire career has been devoted to the Community Disability Service sector in the Province of Alberta, Canada. Rob’s contribution to the Community of Disability Services is extensive (including Alberta Council of Disability Services, Provincial Standards and Review Committee, Community Rehabilitation Service Provider Council of Calgary, Legislative Review Committee for Alberta Seniors and Community Support, Review of the Dependant Adults Act, Personal Directives Act and Protection to Person in Care Act, Local Area Coordinator for Alberta College of Social Workers, and Field Supervisor for the Social Work Programme at Mount Royal University). Rob’s training has included: Personal Management, Family Violence and addictions, Conflict Resolution, Understanding Depression, Social Workers within the Animal World, Social Workers as Nation Builders, Mindfulness Stress Reduction and Risk Management for Non Profit Organizations. Throughout Rob’s progressive career, it has always been his passion to maintain his professional involvement with each and every client under his company. Rob also experienced a life journey with untreated ADHD Effect and is currently in the process of developing a Creative Grief Coaching program for his clients and employees.
Katherine McCarron, MA
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
About Katherine: Grief is a natural reaction to loss. We all experience grief in our lives. Unfortunately, in our mobile society, we sometimes find that we are alone on that journey. I will walk with you through your mourning, and support you in discovering the resources and resilience that are hidden in your sorrow. Together, we will tap into creative ways of moving forward to wholeness. From my experiences of grief, sudden and unexpected losses, I bring empathy and understanding, and know that each loss is unlike any other. I am an experienced facilitator and coach, having worked with men and women in many difficult life situations; prison and jail, homeless shelters, and people living in extreme poverty. My gift is hope, and deep listening skills. I look forward to sharing these with you.
Prince George, BC, Canada
Click here to email Valerie
About Valerie: Valerie has been a registered nurse since 1985, working in long term care and public health leadership roles. Her passion for coaching emerged from a desire to assist her leadership colleagues with their own growth and development. She became a Certified Executive Coach in 2010 and subsequently became a licensed trainer for Coaching Out of the Box in 2011. Following the devastating loss of her husband, and being disappointed with traditional grief support, Valerie began a journey of discovery that led her to Creative Grief Coaching. Since completing the course, she has added grief coaching to her services and, in addition, has incorporated grief and loss support into her leadership coaching. Valerie provides a compassionate environment that helps grief and leadership clients reveal their strengths, resiliency and potential through their own journey. She offers coaching sessions via phone or Skype and in-person in her home community.
011 593 992413877
Click here to email Sofia
About Sofia: Following a lengthy career in the tourism and hospitality industry, Sofia felt a call to work with people in a coaching capacity. She became a business coach, working with her husband who is a life coach. While working for South Expeditions, a tourism operator in Ecuador and the Galapagos, Sofia led more than 70 workshops on personal growth and team building for Ecuadorian Government institutions and private companies. After witnessing her father’s illness she became aware of a different need in her life, to better understand matters of death and grief, and to help others in that process. Following her Creative Grief Studio certification, she continues in her quest for knowledge and to bring that to others.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Johannesburg, South Africa
+27 (0)82 884 4085
Click here to email Kate
About Kate: I am the mother of four children, one of them, my only son, John Peter Shand Butler is no longer with us. After his suicide in 2011, I started writing as a lifeline – my words became a book and in 2013 BOY was published. I have experienced so much since then – both the dark suffocating depths of grief, and the warmth and love of all those who held me along my creative grief journey. I now work with others who have experienced loss and are seeking ways to transition from before and after. My way is creative – working with clay, paint, colour, symbols and images, words, mandalas, paradox; creating memory books and boxes, shrines, masks, dolls and body – maps; stitching patchwork quilts, cushions or wall-hangings from the clothing of our loved ones – and learning to find a way back into life. When asked to, I give talks on suicide and Grief and Creativity. I also paint.
Cape Town, South Africa
Click here to email Kerstin
About Kerstin: I work with men and women who appear to have ‘super powers’ – super competent, super responsible and super together. But what no one knows is that they often feel small, overwhelmed, out of control and even exhausted by life. This is especially true when they lose a loved one or something that is very important to them – leaving them with shattered lives and hearts. Being super human, they are more susceptible to – and burdened by – the many unwritten “should’s and should not’s of grief”. These rules keep them stuck in the thick quicksand of shame and fear. Through creative grief support, they are reminded of their natural resilience, endless resourcefulness, and inspiring creativity which dissolve the quicksand and allow them to start reassembling the pieces for a wholehearted life. Kerstin is a certified Martha Beck Life Coach, Adult Child Coach and Creative Grief Support Coach. She also holds a Masters in Psychology.
+ 41 78 073 31 15
Click here to email Amy
About Amy: I believe that we’re always learning and that there are endless opportunities to make new discoveries about ourselves and our place in the world. Sometimes these opportunities are unexpected and unwanted and they come to us in the form of a deep loss or a traumatic life event. Creating a safe place to explore these challenges is my primary goal. It is from this place of safety and connection that we can begin together to sort through the conflicting emotions that accompany both old and new experiences of trauma, grief and loss. Combining my professional experience as a social worker, midwife and Creative Grief Coach with my own journey of loss and grief, I support people throughout the world by creating a safe environment in which we can together begin to explore these challenging emotions, discovering how they have the potential to enrich the experience of being alive.