Online certification and training for your grief counseling practice

The Creative Grief Studio offers specialized grief certification and training for counselors, coaches, support group facilitators and other helping professionals through our 4-month, online interactive program.

If you wish to become certified as a creative grief specialist or are looking for fresh perspectives and new, highly creative ways to enhance your grief support practice, including how a social justice lens can enhance your practice and clients’ experiences, the Creative Grief Studio Practitioners Program is for you!

Our online creative grief certification program provides training in contemporary grief support approaches that are richly supported by research and offers respective, imaginative and enjoyable ways to help your clients create meaningful pathways through loss. Our coursework focuses on material relevant to the full range of types of loss, not only the death of a loved one.

At Creative Grief Studio we share a deep value for the significance of life. We want to create a world where, in the face of great loss and grief, we appreciate and care for the uniqueness, preciousness, and significance of all grief and life experiences.

We do not view grief as a kind of illness or brokenness. We’re doing it differently.

Grieving people don’t need grief experts. We train creative, flexible, humble, and respectful grief support counselors and coaches. We center our attention on clients’ experiences, needs and resilience as they face their losses and bereavement.

Through our online grief support practitioners training we help you create new conversations with your clients as equals; conversations which hold theories loosely in favor of centralizing a client’s experience, voice and choices. Brave conversations that ask both client and practitioner, as equals, to reflect on their biases and prejudices. Conversations that support clients to craft their own preferred way of living with or after great loss.

Grieving and making meaning after loss is something we do together. In Creative Grief Studio we are passionate about conversations and creative activities that create a sense of belonging and connectedness, agency and hope, and we know that we can create that together.

See your free 20 minute introduction to Creative Grief Studio’s online training and certification program here.




Our Vision for Belonging, Agency, and Hope for All, in all of our Living, Grieving, and Dying Experiences

At the core of our Creative Grief Studio mission is a deep value for the significance of life. We want to create a world where, in the face of great loss and grief, we appreciate and care for the uniqueness, preciousness, and significance of all grief and life experiences.
All grief and life experiences are worthy, but this is not yet the way our world treats everyone. For this reason, we are committed to standing with lives that are often not treated as worthy, including people of color, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities or chronic illnesses, female, elderly, and young lives, and people who are discriminated against because of their religious beliefs.
We find it problematic that the current world of grief support is dominated by White, Western, relatively wealthy, Christian, female, heterosexual perspectives. We want to see more diverse representation in grief support practitioners and approaches. We take a strong stand against ideas and systems that treat some groups of people as “other” and “less worthy,” including white supremacy, heteronormativity, patriarchy, expert culture, and capitalism.
All losses are valid, but our society constructs certain kinds of losses as worthy of validation and support, while ignoring, down-playing, silencing, or stigmatizing other kinds of losses that so many people grieve deeply for. We wish and work for a world where the wide range of unique and different losses is fully appreciated, and all people impacted by any kind of loss can enjoy a sense of belonging in grief support services, rituals, and gatherings.
Grief is not a pathology, but grieving people are still often treated as if they’re ill or broken. We promote the kind of grief support that centers the client’s experience, needs, and resilience, instead of pathologizing grief responses, trying to fit clients’ unique stories into universal theoretical models of grief, or prescribing what “healthy” grieving should look like.

Grieving people don’t need grief experts
, and yet our cultural ideas of professionalism still promote hierarchical relationships that give greater weight to professional voices and theoretical models than clients’ experiences and views. We’re doing it differently. We’re training creative, flexible, humble, and respectful grief support professionals who understand and love the fact that practitioner and client can have conversations together as equals. Conversations that change both the client and the practitioner. Conversations that hold theories loosely and centralise the client’s experiences, voice, and choices. Brave conversations that ask both client and practitioner to reflect on their biases and prejudices. Conversations that support clients to craft their own preferred way of living with or after great loss.
Grieving and making meaning after loss is something we do together. And yet in our modern Western culture and the professional culture of psychology, grief is often treated as an individual, intrapsychic, private, and context-neutral experience. We’re passionate about relational conversations and creative activities that acknowledge and work with the social and contextual nature of meaning making, grow a sense of belonging and connectedness, and seek to change unjust realities.

We want to be part of creating a world where there is belonging, agency, and hope for all, and we know that we can only create that together.




Creative Grief Studio’s online training and Certification program is for you if you are:

  • An experienced grief counselor or helping professional looking for inspiration, fresh perspectives and new, highly imaginative approaches to address loss and bereavement.
  • A counselor looking to enrich and enliven your grief support practice.
  • A helping professional weary of limited models of grief and looking for respectful ways to help culturally diverse people with different life experiences manage different kinds of loss.
  • A grief coach who is dissatisfied with approaches viewing grief as a medical problem and wish rather to notice and nurture a clients’ agency and resilience.

For Therapists, Social Workers, Hospice Workers, Counselors, Art Therapists, Music Therapists, Nurses, Clergy, Spiritual Directors, Funeral Directors, and Life Coaches, our online grief counselor / coach training and creative grief certification has proven extremely relevant.

Creative Grief Studio specializes in advanced and grief-specific theory and practice for professionals who are already familiar with foundational skills such as empathy, listening, and rapport-building.

Creative Grief Studio welcomes you! We invite you to apply!

Find all the information you need regarding course content and materials, pricing, schedules, scholarships, and certification on the tabs under the menu “About This Course”


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.

Althea Banda-Hansmann / Coach, facilitator, lecturer, consultant

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.

Rob Halfyard / Social Worker & Founder of resourceful futures


Creative Grief Studio offers you a four month interactive learning experience that is rich, supportive, and experiential. You will receive: 

  • Online grief training using interactive teaching tools such as recorded demos, practice sessions with your classmates, experiential heART-making, and reflective journaling. 
  • Guidance and support from our teaching team and guest faculty members, like Dr. Kim Manning, Dr. Lorraine Hedtke, Dr. Darcy Harris, & others, who share contemporary and perspective-shifting grief research.
  • Practical approaches for helping clients in your grief counseling practice to create comfort, hope, and meaning after loss. 
  • Confidence for integrating Creative Grief Studio’s theories and methods with your own skills to support people struggling with different kinds of grief, including incorporating a social justice lens when exploring grief experiences.

Creative Grief Studio’s Course Goals:

  1. Familiarize students and faculty with one another and the online classroom.
  2. Review core themes such as grief as a social meaning process, shame-resilience, agency, belonging, and hope.
  3. Learn the role of the support relationship and how to nurture with creative grief support.
  4. Examine current assumptions and misconceptions regarding mainstream grief theories.
  5. Study the effects of shame and how to build shame resilience.
  6. Identify creative ways to support greater range and flexibility in the experience, understanding, and expression of grieving emotions.
  7. Explore the relationships between grief and the body, and learn creative ways to help grieving clients to find ways to embody agency during and after loss.
  8. Discover the comforting philosophy and deeply respectful approach of facilitating re-membering conversations. Learn to use this approach those grieving the death of a person with whom they had a difficult or abusive relationship, or when the death was traumatic.
  9. Investigate the nature of trauma, its potential effects, how to know when your client needs specialist trauma support.
  10. Discuss grieving in community, and with a social justice lens, explore ways to provide support as grief alters a person’s social world.
  11. Grapple with the ethics, values, choices, and aesthetics for your practice, including exploring topics like advanced planning, when death is near, and finding your boundaries and collaboration interests.
  12. Learn the differences between therapy and coaching, how to discern whether your client needs more specialist support.

Creative Grief Studio’s 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. 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.

Priyanka Bhatia / Creative grief coach in training, life coach and counsellor

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.

Barb Schipper / Spiritual director, StudioBe


Why is social identity important?

We take social justice seriously. We do this work because we have a vision for agency, belonging, and hope – for everyone.  Our grief support approach takes account of social identities and how social power influences making meaning after loss. We disagree with colorblind and politically neutral stances that encourage grief support practitioners to look past social identities. Instead, we believe strongly in claiming our preferred social identities. Often social identities are imposed upon us. We think it important to name the visible and invisible effects of social identity to facilitate agency, and offer a sense of belonging, and hope. In this spirit, we want to introduce ourselves to give you an idea of who you will be collaborating with as you complete this course.

Kara LC Jones (CAIC, CRMT, BA)

I’m white, American born, cisgender woman with Italian heritage, and though I know all the curse words in Italian, truly, I only speak English. Since 1996, I’ve been in a monogamous, heterosexual commitment with a cisgender man who is Black and German. (Truth be told, I also know a few curse words in German, too.)
With the help of academic scholarships, grants, and way too many loans, I managed to get a solid college education, but like most of my generation, that means I have debts I will take to my grave. I have experienced homelessness, but for the past 17 years we have been steady renters living in a community we were lovingly introduced to by a friend on Vashon Island, Washington.
While I was initially raised Roman Catholic, that changed when my mother divorced my father and the church ex-communicated us. I’ve never really trusted any religious organization since then. I do identify as a student of Buddhist philosophy and meditation practice though.
My biggest grief experiences came with the deaths of three babies at birth. I’m a mom who has living and dead children, mom in a blended family, and now a grandma, too.
My continued exploration of grief comes in around chronic illness. I have multiple chronic illness diagnoses (chronic fatigue, Polycystic ovary syndrome, and idiopathic angioedema), though some of what is happening with my health is still a mystery. Given our lousy healthcare system here in America, I’m not entirely sure the root cause will ever be found. Anxiety and depression are part of my experiences at times, too, as the mystery part of being chronically alive can get to me. For the most part, I pass as abled which, as Cath said in her bio, has both advantages and disadvantages.
I’m a Certified Appreciative Inquiry and Whole Systems Coach, and a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, holding double degrees in Literary and Cultural Theory and Creative Writing. I also have a minor degree from Chatham College in Early Childhood Development. I interned for three years at Family Communications (FCI) on production of Mister Rogers Neighborhood back in the day. I have authored several books including Mrs. Duck and the Woman, Flash Of Life, and 1000 Permissions Granted. I have contributed to publications such as They Were Still Born, Journal of Family Social Work, Living With Grief, Elegy, and more. For more about my heARTwork, see

Tamara Beachum (BS)

According to my DNA profile, I am 100% white which would be no surprise if you could see how fast my skin burns in the sun. I am a cisgender, heterosexual woman in my second heterosexual marriage after being widowed at 44. My current husband is a dentist and that privileged economic status allows me to pursue my artistic and professional practices with less concern about meeting basic needs. As a result, I am able to lead a social support group for widowed people in my city twice a month. Since the 2016 presidential election, I have also become more politically engaged to actively elect government leaders who more closely reflect the demographics of our society and to battle government policies that further disenfranchise people who are not straight, White, male and Christian.
After graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science in Sociology, I held a variety of jobs in Human Resources with a major corporation that is a household name in the USA. In my over 20 years there, I was able to learn a great deal that applies to the work that I do today. I was often called on to assist employees who were grieving, struggling with career changes and layoff, or experiencing workplace harassment. I was fortunate that the corporation had little tolerance for the latter so the position I was in aligned with my values and I was able to lead Affirmative Action, sexual harassment prevention and other efforts aligned with social justice.
After my first husband died I needed to make a career shift toward a position that allowed me to use my creativity, grieve outside the bounds allowed in capitalist corporate America and be the only parent for my two children. I was pleased to find the Creative Grief Studio in its earliest days. I now work with Cath and Kara to manage the program for the Creative Grief Support Practitioner Certification and I am a grief educator on the teaching team. I was the inaugural Certified Creative Grief Support Practitioner and am the founder of Artful Living After Loss at I am located in Atlanta, Georgia, USA where I host a support group for widows/widowers and explore my own creativity through pottery and photography.

Gail M. Syring (MA Min, RM)

I am a white, American, cisgender woman, and I carry both the strengths and weakness of my German and Irish heritage. I have identified as Bisexual since I came out in 1991, and am proud of that identity. If I were to come out in the present, however, I would likely do so as either Omnisexual or Pansexual, as I no longer believe that gender is binary.

As I work and teach in higher education, I deeply appreciate the opportunities that have made my bachelor’s and master’s degrees possible. These include loans, grants, scholarships, work study, and the gift of an inheritance that my former spouse received from her family and used to pay off my education debt.

When I was coupled, my former spouse’s income made it possible for me to own a house in West Hartford, Connecticut. Now single, I have a full-time job, two part-time jobs, and several per diem jobs to maintain that home and manage my chronic health conditions.

I received the gift of life in the form of a kidney transplant from a living donor in 2011. Without that heroic act, I would have died before the age of 40. In addition to the maintenance required of an organ recipient, I also manage polycystic ovarian syndrome, diabetes, depression, and anxiety. Thanks to a team of professionals in Western medicine, Eastern medicine, integrative medicine, and mental health fields, I generally “pass” as able bodied, which gives me access in some cases, and shame and invisibility in others. Without excellent health insurance made possible by my full-time employment, I would not survive.

I was raised as a Roman Catholic, however my calling to ministry, my sexual orientation, my gender, and other social and political beliefs made this affiliation untenable in adulthood. I traveled through liberal Christianity, new age philosophy, and earth-based religions including Wicca, before concluding that my theology is on the same continuum as my sexuality. I am now a multi-faith minister who serves people of a variety of traditions, with particular care for people who are questioning or deliberately undefined.

At heart and in vocation, I am an educator, minister, facilitator, advocate, grief support professional, and spiritual guide. I am trained in non-violent communication, Reiki, SoulCollage, mediation, sexual assault survivor support, trauma informed investigation, bystander intervention, critical incident stress management, and sexuality education.

Yvonne Lucia Certified Alumni Bio Pic

Yvonne M. Lucia (RN, MDiv.) 

I am a multi-media artist whose practice interweaves expertise is the realms of healing, spirituality and expressive arts to companion others who journey with grief. In terms of my sociocultural location and context, I am white woman of Sicilian and Lithuanian heritage over the age of 60. I am a cisgender female married for 39 years to a cisgender male. We have raised four children together.

My upbringing was in a middle-class household in the 1950’s and 60’s, with a very patriarchal value system and worldview rooted in Roman Catholicism. From a very young age I rebelled against the norms of the Catholic church, stating that I wanted to be a priest. While I left Catholicism as a young adult, I did inherit a passion for social justice from the church’s teachings and I have been involved in social justice causes such as anti-militarism, women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and eco-justice for most of my adult life.

In addition to religion, the other primary value in my formative years was the importance of education. Both of my parents elevated themselves out of poverty through the assistance of the post World War II G.I. Bill. As my parents were able to raise their socioeconomic status, I was taught that it was important to give back to the community so that others could also be lifted up. I began my professional life as a registered nurse, choosing this field because of the egalitarian nature of illness and death – no one escapes this world alive – although I have learned that the experiences of illness, death and grief are affected greatly by sociocultural and economic factors. My husband is a medical oncologist, which has afforded us a privileged economic status. Because of this reality, I offer my services on a very low-end sliding scale fee schedule, and I never turn anyone away for lack of financial resources. I work this way because it is in alignment with my personal value system. I describe myself as Interspiritual, meaning that I understand all faith traditions to be historically and culturally bound expressions of humanity’s search for meaning.

In addition to my Bachelor of Science in Nursing, I have a Master of Divinity degree, and II am certified as an Expressive Arts facilitator, Creative Grief Support Practitioner, Grief Counselor, Interspiritual counselor, Veriditas Labyrinth Facilitator, and SMART Recovery facilitator. You can learn more about my work at and

Lori Boyer (BA)

My life centers around Cleveland, Ohio, USA where I live with my loving husband, two kids, my in-laws, and beautiful friends. I’ve been acutely aware of loss most of my life. In our mid 20’s, my husband and I experienced our first of four pregnancy losses. Along with other side effects, grief dismantled my faith in God. It quickly became clear that I had been raised in a faith practice that no longer resonated with me. Retooling my spiritual life during that grief experience became the foundation of the emotional work I have done for the last 20 years. Today, my Spiritual belief system is strong and enhanced by prayer, yoga, Biblical and Buddhist teachings, and meditation.
Being white, American born, and college educated, I have not personally lived with much oppression. However, the last several years have done a lot to educate me around the privileges and access my family and I have. I’m working hard to deeply understand, listen, and dismantle outdated notions that I have unknowingly developed throughout my earlier years. I remain committed to allying in anyway that I can.
I am a Board Certified Music Therapist and Certified Creative Grief Support Practitioner with over 20 years of clinical experience. The early years of my career were spent as a Children’s Bereavement Coordinator with various Hospice organizations. Today, through the use of creative exercises, and music, I help clients live meaningful lives after loss. I greatly value my work as part of the teaching team for the Creative Grief Studio, leading local support groups, and maintaining a clinical practice with an emphasis on mindful and empowered grieving. For more information about what I am offering, please see or find me on Facebook.

Gail Darlington (MA)

I have been a psychotherapist in private practice for over 30 years near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. For 18 of those years, I had the opportunity to be part of the original staff at the nation’s first free-standing treatment facility exclusively for women with eating disorders. Along with a specialty in eating disorders, I have focused my work more recently on grief and loss with individuals, families and groups.
My college years were in art school where I majored in Painting and Art Education. Later, I received a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology. In 2015, I became a Certified Creative Grief Support Practitioner and have since become a part of the teaching team. Along with the most current theories on grief, the Creative Grief Studio has provided me with a way to incorporate creativity into the healing process and rekindle my passion and dream of returning to art.
I am a woman of white privilege, raised in a Jewish household where education was highly valued. Now, in my 60s, I honor my Jewish heritage as well as a strong interest in Buddhist practices. At times I do experience feeling marginalized as a woman, a senior citizen, and in being Jewish.
Impacting my world of loss has been the deaths of my parents, my sister, two husbands and a rescue dog. Other losses include my youth as well as a measure of health due to cardiac issues. On a very bright note, my heart is healthy now and I am remarried to a wonderful guy and thanks to him, I have seven terrific grandkids.
Before I found my new husband, I rescued Isabel, or shall I say she rescued me? This 70 pound furry dog does not leave my side and provides gentle, relaxing grief support to my clients.
You can connect with me at

Carol Miller (LCSW)

I live in Tucson, Arizona, USA, which is across the country from where I grew up as a white cisgender woman in a predominantly white affluent area of upstate New York. My upbringing and white skin afforded me a good education and privilege, along with ways to move in a world in which many others experience struggle.
Moving to and living in the Washington, D.C. area for many years, I experienced two failed heterosexual marriages, gave birth to two sons, both of whom died shortly after their births, and a daughter. I came out as lesbian in my early 40s, which was daunting and overwhelming, yet I am aware that the cultural climate toward the LGBTQ+ community at that time was already shifting in a more open, accepting direction. My lesbian cisgender spouse and I have been married now for over 20 years.
The deaths of my two sons in 1986 and 1987 were watershed experiences and propelled me into the world of death, loss and grief. Their spirits continue to guide me through career and life choices. I quit a lucrative paralegal position and returned to complete my higher education and earn substantial loan debt that I’ll carry to the end of my life. I have worked in hospices, and organizations that serve those with HIV/AIDS, lesbians with cancer, and people who struggle with infertility. I also maintained a private practice in Northern Virginia.
Along with my spouse, I face ongoing, albeit as-yet-small, aging-body health issues. I also have a history of having had cancer treatment twice in my life. These health events and the work I do with bereaved people keep me ever aware of life’s fragility.
I am currently employed with Casa de la Luz Hospice in Tucson as the Bereavement Program Manager. With other professionals here in Tucson, we are working to create an organization that will help educate folks on how to support those who experience loss, grief and transition. I am also deeply embedded in Brené Brown’s shame and vulnerability work. You can connect with me at


Our adjunct 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)

I live in Cape Town, South Africa, where I was born and raised. As a white South African, owing to the ongoing effects of colonialism, apartheid, and global systemic white supremacy, I experience the many benefits of significantly greater education, wealth, privilege, and power than most South Africans have. I have also lived in and traveled around the UK, Canada, and the USA, where my foreign status afforded me less privilege, power, and access.

My husband and I became adoptive parents in 2013. Our son is Black. Being a transracial family and learning what it means to parent, protect, and love our son in a racist world continues to open my eyes to white supremacy and my own socialisation in racism.

My home language is English, I can also speak Afrikaans (albeit rather poorly), and I’m learning isiXhosa, the language of most Black South Africans in the Western Cape. Learning a new language has showed me the important role of language in culture, identity, a sense of belonging, and social power and access.

I’m a cisgender heterosexual woman in a monogamous marriage since 1999, with a cisgender heterosexual man. Despite this, my husband and I both find heteronormativity problematic in many ways, and try to ally for non-binary definitions of sex, gender, and sexuality. I was raised in the Christian faith, but no longer identify as a Christian.

I’m a “healthy” chronically ill person, living with the life-long health challenges and triumphs of kidney failure, kidney transplant, Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, and the side effects of the medications I have to take every day. I am legally classified as blind, with currently only about 30% vision left in my right eye and about 10% vision left in my left eye, and the future of my eyesight uncertain. I also use a hearing aid for low-tone deafness. However, because I enjoy generally good health and fitness (aside from the genetic mutations that keep trying to disable or kill me!), and because my illness and disabilities are mostly invisible, I generally pass as healthy and abled. (This has both benefits and disadvantages!) My white privilege and access to good medical treatment and disability aids has also buffered me from many of the hardest effects of chronic illness and disability. However, living with chronic illness and disability is one of my “outside of the dominant norm” experiences that both instructs and motivates me to learn more about the roles of social identity, privilege, and power in how people make sense of and live with loss and trauma.

My experiences with ill health, disability, and adoption provide me with daily opportunities to expand my appreciation and understanding of the many different kinds of loss and grief. I am also a bereaved parent, a Registered Clinical Social Worker with a background in child protection, trauma debriefing, and counseling for grief, burnout, anxiety, and depression, and I’m the author of the Remembering For Good Grief Workbook.

Dr. Lorraine Hedtke (MSW, ACSW, PhD)

Dr. Hedtke 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

The work Lorraine engages in involves the visibilization of the dead. It is a political as well as personal step that honors relationships above psychological and economic systems that give preferential treatment to only the individual. She comes to this work having experienced many deaths in her own life and wanting to find better ways to respond. This desire carried forward when she worked in hospice in Arizona and again in California, where she is currently located. Treating the dead as if they continue to live, in storied form, is a step away from the disintegration of relationship that systems of power (medical, legal, psychology, etc) has cornered people in to believing they must perform. Remembering, telling stories, upholding the dead as important in our lives, is a step towards relational, posthumous justice. It is this work Lorraine has been committed to for the past 25 years. 

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) 

I was born in London in the late 1960s to parents from Nigeria who had gone to the UK to study. For the first 6 years of my life, I lived with a white foster family in Hythe, Kent. I guess this was the birthplace of my questioning around identity and belonging. That questioning continued when I moved to Nigeria in the mid 1970s with my parents, and when I returned to the UK in my late teens. I consider myself British-Nigerian.

My grandparents were Muslim. My mother converted to Christianity in her late teens, my father was a lapsed Muslim. I was fascinated by different religions from an early age and have explored a few along the way. That exploration led me to One Spirit Interfaith Foundation, where I was ordained as an Interfaith Minister and Spiritual Counsellor in 2004.

I am cisgender gay man, in a monogamous relationship with a cisgender white Dutch man. I divide my time between London and Amsterdam.

I am 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.

The Creative Grief Studio program includes a recorded lecture with me on understanding how social justice issues might influence grief, shame resilience, and meaning making after loss for marginalized groups. You can learn more about me at: and

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) 

Heather is an international speaker, facilitator, and writer who specializes in the art of holding space. Participants of her Holding Space Coach/Facilitator Program have come from six continents to join her online and at in-person retreats where they learn to offer deep listening and compassionate support to others and to themselves. Her writing on the subject of holding space has appeared in publications such as Harvard Business Review and Grist magazine and has been quoted in multiple books as well as curriculum for nurses, hospice care workers, yoga teachers, facilitators, and military chaplains. She lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada with her three daughters. Find out more at

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

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

Beth Erlander / MA, LPC, ATR, Psychotherapist

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 found 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.

Bonnie Wright / Creative Grief Practitioner in training


Religious doctrine

We do not teach any particular religious doctrine. Death and grief can be deeply spiritual experiences, so we welcome conversations about spirituality in this course. We expect all participants to respect the diverse spiritual and religious perspectives shared within our classroom.

Working with children

Our course is designed for and focused on work with adolescents and adults. If, however, you work with children, and understand child development, the grief theory we present is relevant. Further, you’ll learn creative activities easily adaptable to support grieving children. 

The Law of Attraction

We reject the “Law of Attraction,” and other ideas that suggest our thoughts cause good or bad events in our lives. We believe these ideas are counterproductive and can contribute to pain experienced by those in grief.

Foundational helping skills

We select participants who already have helping skills, such as listening, empathy, and rapport-building. Creative Grief Studio builds upon and goes beyond those foundational skills, focusing on advanced grief-specific theory and creative heART-making.

Business development skills

Whether you wish to be self-employed or already work within an existing organization, business development is not the focus of this coursework. We will not cover topics such as marketing and business organization. 

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.

Carla Harvey / Funeral director, Grief coach, author

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.I really appreciated the thoroughness of the foundations of what is being taught.

Dale Lang / Expressive arts facilitator


When you register for our creative grief certification program you will receive course information and materials, live interactions, demonstrations and creative experiences designed to support your learning, as well as post-course assistance.

Information and Materials

  • Printable comprehensive manuals providing the full theoretical base for our grief counseling training, as well as a complete bibliography and links for additional recommended resources.
  • 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.)
  • Textbook and academic articles. You will purchase a book for prescribed reading and we will furnish the academic articles.
  • Forms and Contract Templates. 

Live Interactions

  • Weekly live conference calls in which we’ll teach and answer your questions, and guide you through experiential creative exercises. We audio-record all calls so you may re-listen to them anytime in MP3 format.
  • Optional 1:1 meet up with a Teaching Team member to ask questions, share your reflections, and / or debrief a bit about how the course experience is unfolding for you.
  • A Creative Grief Studio “coaching buddy,” so you can work through the grief support practice homework together.  


  • 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 how  theory might look like and sound in practice.

Creative Exercises

  • 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.
  • A private classroom where you can post your heART-work, share your reflective journal entries and ask more questions.

Post-course Assistance

  • Access to the Creative Grief Support Alumni Classroom. After you finish our online training you are invited to access the library of recorded alumni conference calls. Here you will find covered topics such as business development, technology for entrepreneurs, and additional grief support ideas.
  • On-going access to the online classroom, and all course updates.
  • Opportunities for live calls with Creative Grief Support alumni post-course. We usually offer 3-4 calls per year for alumni.
  • Advertising opportunities will be available for you in our e-news.
  • Your professional listing on the Creative Grief Studio website, once you’re certified.

Certification Option

  • Certification as a Creative Grief Support Practitioner is an option after you have completed the online creative counseling coursework. At that time you may submit a completed packet for assessment to be considered for Certification as a Creative Grief Support Practitioner.

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. The value is incredible and worth every penny.

Elizabeth Berrien / Author & Founder of Her Creative Wellness

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. I can imagine taking the course again in the future, just to experience the evolution of the material.

Gail Syring / Certified Creative Grief Practitioner


After completing the course, you have the option to apply for Certification as a Creative Grief Support Practitioner.

You are invited to apply for Creative Grief Support Practitioner Certification any time following your completion of our online grief counseling training coursework.

The Creative Grief Studio’s course materials provide full details about how to apply. There is no deadline for registration or submissions for certification assessment. 

Our Certified alumni receive:

  • A listing on our site at, including a link to your website.
  • 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.

To Apply for Certification as a Creative Grief Support Practitioner

In brief, you will submit a small portfolio demonstrating your skills. 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”.

I loved having the practical insights into tools, and conversation and presence building. 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. 

Kate Durie / Creative grief practitioner in training

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.

Katherine McCarron / Retired, Executive Director Harbour House transition shelter

Course dates

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!


Fall 2021

Course starts 31 August 2021. Calls are from 12 to 1:30PM PACIFIC on most Tuesdays, from 7 Sept to 16 Dec 2021.
31 Aug (no live call – online classroom opens)
7, 14, 21, 28 September
5, 12 (no live call), 19, 26 October
2 (no live call), 9, 16, 23, 30 November
7, 14, 16 December

Spring 2022

Course starts 22 February 2022. Calls are from 12 to 1:30PM PACIFIC on most Tuesdays, from 1 March to 9 June 2022.
22 Feb (no live call – online classroom opens)
1, 8, 15, 22, 29 March
5 (no live call), 12, 19, 26 (no live call) April
3, 10, 17, 24, 31 May
7, 9 June

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.

Jess Ryan / Certified Creative Grief Practitioner and Certified Parenting Mentor

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.

Karen Britton / Creative Grief Practitioner in training


  • 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 the $975 certification assessment fee. This discount does not apply to those awarded a scholarship because the scholarship covers 100% of the certification assessment fee.)
  • Other possible discounts available: Please note that you may have other discounts available to you. If you pay your non-refundable deposit within 10 days of your acceptance letter, we’ll offer you another $200 off. If you have a code from an ad or from an in-service, then another $200 off is credited to you. And then see the details below for our interest-free payment plan options.

If your application is accepted, we will email you an acceptance letter and:

  • Ask you to pay a NON-REFUNDABLE $500 (USD) 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 non-refundable deposit. Also if you pay your non-refundable deposit within 10 days of receiving your acceptance letter, we’ll give you $200 off the course fee.
  • 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 if you’d like 1-pay, 3-pay, or 6-pay option to pay the course fee. You may pay the rest of the course fee as a single payment, or over three or six installments. There is no interest penalty for doing installment plans. We will invoice you according to your choices and discounts available.

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.

Example of possible discounts and payment plan options:

  • Many applicants ask if they will be able to manage the course fee and if we can help them with discounts, scholarships, payment plans. We can and do offer all those options. Below are two possible examples of how it might look. Be in touch with us if you have questions. We are happy to work with you to make it happen!

First example – Content-Only Track with option to add Certification on later:

  • Your full fee for Content-Only Track is $2475.
  • When you pay your non-refundable deposit, that $500 is put toward this fee, so you’ll then have balance due of $1975.
  • If you paid that deposit within 10 days of receiving your acceptance letter, you get a $200 discount on balance due so that brings it to $1775.
  • If you choose the no-interest 6-Pay plan, your monthly payments will be $295.83.

TOTAL for Content-Only in first example: $2275

  • Optional Add-On: If you decided after taking the Content-Only that you want to add on the Certification piece after all, you can do that for an additional $975 certification assessment fee (no discount available when added-on) which will be due on whatever date you wish to submit your Certification packet for assessment. If you pay this way your final out-of-pocket total in this example ends up being $3250 so it’s better to sign up for the Certification Track at the beginning if you think you may want it eventually.

Second example – Certification Track:  

  • If you register up front for both the Content AND the Certification, then your full fee includes a $150 discount off the $975 assessment fee portion, making your total $3300.
  • When you pay your non-refundable deposit, that $500 is put toward this fee, so you’ll then have balance due of $2800.
  • If you paid that non-refundable deposit within 10 days of receiving your acceptance letter, you get a $200 discount on balance due so that brings it to $2600.
  • If you choose the no-interest 6-Pay plan, your monthly payments will be $433.33.

TOTAL for full Certification in second example: $3100

I 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.

Kerry Ryan Kuhn / Intuitive psychic medium / Intuitive grief coach

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.

Louise Latham / Creative Grief Practitioner in training


Course Application deadlines for the sessions are 27 AUG 2021 and 21 FEB 2022.

Partial Scholarships deadlines are 15 JULY 2021 and 15 JAN 2022.

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.


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.

Michelle Marlahan / Yoga teacher, Creative grief educator in training

The depth of the material and how it is shared is what I have enjoyed the most. 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.

Paula Cary / Salem, MA, USA


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.

Shannon Norberg / Registered midwife

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. 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.

Sofia Plonski / Certified Creative Grief Support Practitioner


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 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.

Tamara Beachum / Grief educator and certified Creative Grief Support Practitioner

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.

Tisha Ford / Project Manager for the Art of Dying Institute

Tamara Beachum

Atlanta, GA
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.

Elizabeth Berrien

Charlotte, NC

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

Aurora, OH
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.


Deb Brandt

Indianapolis, IN

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.

Sheri Adams Briggs

San Diego, CA, USA

About Sheri: Bio coming soon…

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.

Paula Cary

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 She has also completed a certification in Contemplative Leadership with Oasis Ministries.

Gloria A. Charlier, RN, BSN, CH, MA

Ohio, USA

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

Warrington, PA
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

Nashville, TN

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.

Maribeth Doerr

Reno, NV

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

Tucson, AZ

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.

Heidi Jackson

Portland, Oregon

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

Tucson, AZ
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 the way I live and love, not by a structured model. I wanted to approach my own grief experience with curiosity, intention 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. As a Certified Creative Grief Support Practitioner, Certified Compassionate Bereavement Care Provider® and Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork Practitioner, I help others explore and design their personal relationship 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

Montrose, CO
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 Certified Alumni Bio Pic

Yvonne Lucia, RN, M.Div

Binghamton, NY

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.

Jessica Martinez Bio Pic

Jessica Martinez

Egg Harbor Township, NJ

About Jessica: bio coming soon…

Laverne McKinnon Certified Alumni Bio Pic

Laverne McKinnon

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

Tucson, AZ
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

Bellingham, WA
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

Yuma, AZ

About Gina: Bio coming soon…

Bonnie Neubauer Certified Creative Grief Practitioner

Bonnie Neubauer

Philadelphia, PA
Click here to email Bonnie

About Bonnie: After my husband died, even though I am a writer, it seemed that words were inadequate to describe how I felt. Fortunately, my emotional overflow found a new outlet – visual arts – where I communicated through color, shape, and texture.

I became a Creative Grief Practitioner to help others navigate their loss through creative expression and ultimately reach a place where their lives, once again, have meaning. I’m sorry it took my husband’s death to set me on this path, but what a joy it is to watch others transform.

One way I now use my words/writing is as a Certified Life Cycle Celebrant® where I officiate at nondenominational funerals. I am also the author of The Write-Brain Workbook, 400 Exercises to Liberate Your Writing; inventor of Story Spinner, a handheld creative writing prompt generator; designer of Metaphors for Loss and Resilience, a tool to initiate difficult conversations; and designer of ADJitation, a party game.

Sarah Novak, MBA, CPCC, ACC

Washington, DC

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

Seattle, WA
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

Princeton, NY
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
(707) 567-5340

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.

Dana M. Russo, BSW

Noblesville, IN
Click here to email Dana

About Dana: “We have been taught all our lives how to acquire, but never how to lose.” Well acquainted with loss, Dana founded HOPE RISES to companion others in grief and provide much needed education in our mourning-avoidant culture. Dana’s degree in Social Work, two certifications in Death and Grief care, training in Spiritual Direction, and over four decades of walking alongside hurting hearts provides her a wealth of experience. She is a well-seasoned speaker having equipped and trained leaders in 27 countries around the globe. Her passion to walk with the bereaved and train others to do the same is warm, contagious, and effective. Though loss can be devastating, she believes no one should walk through grief alone AND that life and love are still possible. Drawn to beauty, music, art, gardening, authenticity, laughter, faith, and family, Dana is adventurous – all while longing to be present to this gift called today.

Jess Ryan

Syracuse, NY

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

Holland, MI
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.

Jesse Paris Smith


About Jesse: bio coming soon…

Gwen Suesse, BA, MAT

Tryon, NC

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



Julie Jensen, BBehavSc, GradCertBereaveCouns&Int, GradDipCouns, MCouns&PsychTh

Melbourne, Victoria
+ 61 3 0411 241 005
Click here to email Julie

About Julie: I began my grief journey when I was working in the Coronial Jurisdiction as a Court Registrar in my 20s and my husband was diagnosed with a brain tumour. He died when I was 30. I finished my psychology degree and post-graduate studies in counselling and psychotherapy. I completed a post-graduate qualification in bereavement counselling with the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement followed by an internship and now work as a Specialist Bereavement Counsellor – Practitioner Associate (volunteer). I continue to study and work at the edges of loss and grief and chronic disorganisation holding a Level 2 Certificate in Chronic Disorganisation with the Institute of Challenging Disorganization.

I understand grief personally, professionally and academically. I am currently expanding my knowledge in thanatology (dying, death & bereavement), end of life doula and dignity therapy. My interest in creative grief therapy is to incorporate nature with grief (death and non-death transition). I enjoy hiking, sailing, qigong and attending art exhibitions focusing on loss and grief. I have an interest in the Danish culture.

Beth O’Brien

Brisbane, Queensland
+ 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.


Brenda J. Fraser

Edmonton, Alberta

About Brenda: coming soon…

Rob Halfyard, RSW

Calgary, Alberta

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.

Valerie Waymark

Prince George, BC, Canada
250-962- 7298
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.


Sofia Plonski

Quito, Ecuador
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.


Alma Sipilä

Tampere, Finland

South Africa

Tholakele Antamu

Cape Town, South Africa

Vincenzia Diedericks

Johannesburg, South Africa

Kate Shand

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.

Kerstin Waddell

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.


Amy Schief

+ 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.


In this 90 minute call, our team members Cath Duncan, Gail Syring, Yvonne Lucia, Tamara Beachum, Lori Boyer, and Kara Jones cover the core theories and values underpinning our approach to Creative Grief Support:

  • Grief experiences are diverse
  • Hope, belonging, agency
  • Relational approach
  • Potential roles of shame in grieving
  • Ethics of Creative Grief Support
  • Creativity and the experiential nature of this course

You’ll also hear a few of our Alumni – Carol Miller, Valerie Waymark, and Gail Simon Darlington – sharing different aspects of their experience as students in our course and practicing grief support professionals.

Click here to download the call