Practice Ethics for Grief Counseling:
I believe in the power of civic love and compassionate relationships to heal the most wounded.
I believe in the capacity for all human beings to be transformed by loss.
I believe that beauty exists with the pain.
I believe we do not have to relinquish our Beloved Dead in order to heal from grief. Rather, we integrate our losses in whatever way feels most authentic for us.
I believe that grief is a normal response to the death of a loved one thus I do not work with or treat mental illnesses or disorders. Rather, my practice area is solely focused on traumatic bereavement.
I believe that which cannot be measured can be the most potent healer. I use mindfulness and meditation, ecotherapy (such as wilderness, nature, barefoot hiking), music, art, poetry, metaphor, philosophy, bibliotherapy (books), sangha (community), and many non-traditional healing modalities.
Should you wish to contact the MISS Foundation to schedule a grief counseling appointment, please email us. Should you wish to contact Dr. Cacciatore to inquire about an intensive session, please contact Ashley.Santi@missfoundation.org
On Self-Care and Compassion
One final note about one of the most problematic aspects of traumatic grief: Sleep hygiene. Grief, particularly when traumatic, can interfere with our sleep. This disruption in sleep patterns, sleeplessness or in some cases oversleeping, can become a chronic condition and can have very negative effects including mimicking mental illness, diminishing coping ability, increasing irritability and decreasing tolerance, and augmenting our ability to engage in good self care.
To improve your likelihood of good sleep hygiene:
1. Get between 7-8 hours of sleep a night, ideally sleeping by 10pm.
2. Limit caffeine, nicotine, and others stimulants after 3pm.
3. Limit television viewing in the evening hours. Read a book instead.
4. Abstain from alcohol consumption, particularly after 8pm.
5. Abstain from large, heavy meals after 7pm.
6. Exercise at least 30 minutes during the day, ensuring plenty of cardio.
7. Avoid naps after 1pm in the day, and don't nap longer than 15 minutes.
8. Get sufficient sunlight exposure during the day.
9. Use calming yoga, such as Hatha, in the evening to help you relax.
10. Try warm water bathtub meditation in the evening for 20-30 minutes.
11. Try acupuncture to improve sleep.
12. Never sleep with the television or radio.
13. Do not use night lights. Strive for darkness.
14. If you awaken to use the restroom, use a small flashlight and minimize light exposure. Keep your environment as dark as possible.
Sleep is utterly essential for your emotional, social, cognitive, mental, and physical well-being. And while good sleep habits will not alleviate traumatic grief, it will help you cope with the effects of this loss. If you are not sleeping, please try the above strategies.