Center for Loss & Trauma
Consulting and Training
We provide highly specialized mindfulness based counseling based on remembrance, ritual and integration. We believe that grief is not something to 'get over' or from which we 'move on.' Rather, grief is an expression of love; The reason for extraordinary grief is extraordinary love.
Our philosophy is based on selah, a word meaning to pause, reflect, and, in our own time, to integrate meaning from the transfiguration of suffering. We help mourners discover their own unique ways to cope with the effects of unfathomable loss;
We advocate for and with others so they may find community, compassion, and kindness in the aftermath of trauma;
We are committed to changing the current paradigm of misinformation and improving psychosocial care of the bereaved through education, developing a more compassionate and sane society for those who have suffered the death of a loved one;
We provide a place where sensitive and open-hearted research can occur;
We educate individuals and society at large about the experiences of the bereaved; and, finally we walk with the bereaved as they, in their own way and their own time, transcend their former place in the world.
About Joanne Cacciatore
Since 1996, I have worked with and counseled those affected by traumatic death, particularly the death of a baby or child at any age and from any cause. I use non-traditional, mindfulness-based approaches such as trauma focused psychoeducation, fully present narration, emotion-focused imaginal dialogue, symbols-metaphor-and-rituals, bibliotherapy, ecotherapy, meditation, yoga, and shinrin-yoku.
I am a reasonably happy, contemplative person with plenty of quirks who cries every day at both the beauty and the pain in the world. My daily mindfulness practice is what helps me work in a very challenging field and benefits "I, Thou, and We."
I spend much of my time as a professor & researcher at Arizona State University and the founder of the MISS Foundation, an international nonprofit organization with 75 chapters around the world aiding parents whose children have died or are dying. And, I began the Kindness Project in 1997 as a way to help many grieving parents honor their beloved children who have died (please, join us in the Kindness Project).
My research has been published in peer reviewed journals such as The Lancet, Death Studies, Omega Journal of Death and Dying, Midwifery, British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Social Work Education, Journal of Mental Health Counseling, Seminars in Fetal and Neonatal Medicine, International Journal of Nursing, Birth, Social Work, and Families in Society. I received my doctorate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln under the guidance of a truly amazing mentor, Dr. John DeFrain, and Masters from Arizona State University.
I am also a medical consultant and trainer who has presented grand rounds and provided individual and agency consulting and training all around the world. I was humbled to receive the prestigious Hon Kachina Award, the Sr Teresa Compassionate Care Award, the Empathic Therapist of the Year Award, Arizona Foothills Arizona Women Who Move the Valley Award, and the Parents of Murdered Children Father Ken Czillinger Award. I am a Diplomate of the American Academy of Psychotherapy and an advocate of "green" mental health to care for those suffering traumatic grief. In addition, I spearhead the graduate Certificate of Trauma and Bereavement at ASU with a usual cohort of 12-15 students.
On a personal note, I am a pacifist vegan and have been a vegetarian since 1972, vegan since 2015, and I hike barefoot up mountain trails regularly. I surf when I can get to an ocean, and I love rock climbing. I don't kill anything, even bugs. I am a voracious reader. I love pomegranates and sunshine. I rescue too many animals for the amount of space in which I live. I love cloud watching, star gazing, and my toes in the sand.
I'm inspired by people like my friend, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Noam Chomsky, Thich Nat Hahn, Joan Halifax, Michaela Odoni, Carl Sagan, Martin Buber, Carl Jung, Martin Heidegger, Francesco Bernadone (St Francis), Teresa of Avila, San Juan de la Cruz, Jalal ad-din Rumi, Ranier Maria Rilke, Ajahn Chah, Kathe Kollwitz, Desmond Tutu, Jany Deng, C.S. Lewis, Jack Kornfield, Thomas Merton, and the many families and their children whose lives - and deaths - have touched my heart. I study Zen with Roshi Genki and have had a sit practice since 2007.
I have had many anachronistic death losses during the course of my early life. I lost both my parents to death. They were both passionately Sicilian, with a fierce and enduring love for one another. My best friend and teacher died in 2004 and I have lost parters and many friends.
But July of 1994 changed the course of my life: the day my baby daughter died. I will never be the same person I was before my daughter's death. Nor do I wish to be. Since then, I have committed my life to the service of others suffering traumatic deaths, as it was in the darkness when I truly found my self.
I am a mother to five children, now mostly grown, "four who walk and one who soars".
The Kindness Project is a way that our families often remember, honor, and cope with traumatic death.
Get your free cards here, and experience some of the profound stories born of suffering and loss here.
|Dr. Jo on Dia de los Muertos|
How to Become Your Own Hero
by Dr. Joanne Cacciatore
Have a good cry when you need one.
Drink plenty of water.
Connect with compassionate others.
Accept and embrace your emotions without clinging to them, even the good ones.
Find the sun every day.
Learn to love solitude.
Serve others every opportunity you can.
Sleep 7 hours a night.
Play dirty (get in the mud, walk barefoot, sweat).
Remember your precious dead.
Feel grateful but don't force gratitude.
Try new things.
Pray and/or meditate.
Find your special song.
Seek out those who made a difference in your life and tell them.
Build bridges between people.
Take an internet break.
Treat yourself to a day of comfort.
Rescue an animal.
Buy a stranger a cup of coffee or other Kindness Projects.
Thank you for visiting my page!
My vita is included on this page because if you'd like to read a published article,
you may request a copy from me: