Expert Contributors

Grief Coach text messages draw on wisdom from hundreds of books, publications, podcasts and organizations. We're also thrilled to have expert contributors who author and review messages, based on their specific areas of expertise.

Megan Devine | Lead Content Partner

Megan Devine is a psychotherapist, speaker and grief advocate. She’s the best-selling author of It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief & Loss in a Culture that Doesn’t Understand. Megan’s animated video How to Help a Grieving Friend has been viewed over 40 million times and is used in trainings around the world. She’s a featured expert in the PBS documentary Speaking Grief.

Andrea Moore | Sibling Loss

Andrea is a certified bereavement and support group facilitator. She is also the founder of Grief to Grind, an organization committed to supporting people after the loss of a sibling. Andrea believes that life transitions bring us to our purpose, and that our grief matters as a way to find meaning.

Andy McNiel | Children & Grief

Previously the Chief Executive Officer of the National Alliance for Grieving Children (NAGC), Andy is now an Executive Partner at The Satori Group, a consultancy that provides training, education and consultation with an emphasis on end-of-life and bereavement.

Brian Hartzman | Male Grief

Brian is a certified Life Reentry® Practitioner through the Life Reentry® Institute. Following the loss of his wife, Brian grew tired of feeling stuck and began investigating the deeper meanings associated with grief and the lessons to be learned. He now hosts a widowers support group and supports others who have experienced loss, through his grief support agency.

Diane Snyder Cowan | Addiction Loss

Diane is the Director of Western Reserve Grief Services in Ohio, and is extremely active in the promotion of bereavement care at the local, regional and national level. She is the leader of the Bereavement Professionals section of the National Council of Hospice and Palliative Professionals which is the professional arm of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, and also served as a member of its Steering Committee for several years.

Dora Carpenter | Certified Grief Coach & Trainer

Dora worked in the funeral and death care industry for twenty years, and saw that people often didn't receive the support they needed after a death. Her experience led her to build the Institute of Professional Grief Coaching, an organization that trains and certifies grief coaches, as well as The Aniya Center, a non-profit organization providing grief coaching support services to residents of Washington, D.C. She is also the Founder and Program Director of the ‘From Grief to Gratitude Coach Certification Program’ which is accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF).

Elizabeth Semenova | Spiritual Care

Rev. Elizabeth Semenova, MSW, MTS is the Practice Director & Psychospiritual Guide at Integrated MD Care. She combines clinical psychology and existential spiritual exploration to offer support and facilitate transformative experiences with patients and their loved ones throughout the last phase of life and beyond. Elizabeth also serves on the Board of Directors for the Integrated Lifecare Foundation and The Hemlock Society of San Diego.

Galen Goben | Spirituality and Grief

Galen is the Grief Support Director for Forest Lawn Memorial Parks and Mortuaries. He is an experienced Grief Support Director with a demonstrated history of working in the individual and family services industry. Galen is an experienced grief counselor, who holds a Doctor of Ministry focused in Thanatology from Fuller Theological Seminary.

Jarie Bolander | Male Grief & Partner Loss

Jarie is a marketer, engineer and writer whose life was turned upside down when his 36 year old wife, Jane, died of leukemia. He did things that a lot of men do after a loss before realizing he needed to find healthier ways to grieve. One of the things he turned to was writing and talking about male grief. His insights have inspired many of the text messages we send to men who have lost a partner, far too soon.

Joanne Lelewer Harpel | Suicide Loss

Joanne L. Harpel, President of Coping After Suicide and President and CEO of Rethink The Conversation, is an international authority on suicide bereavement. Joanne is the former longtime Senior Director for Public Affairs and Postvention for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the recipient of the American Association of Suicidology's Survivor of the Year Award, and serves as an advisor to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. She lost her younger brother to suicide in 1993.

Katie Hawkins-Gaar | Partner Loss

Katie is a freelance writer who publishes a weekly newsletter called My Sweet Dumb Brain, which she started to help process the ups and downs of grief after her husband died unexpectedly in 2017. Her writing has been published by CNN, The New York Times, Fortune Magazine and more. Follow Katie on Twitter.

Kelsey Crowe | Empathy and Community

Kelsey is the author of There Is No Good Card For This, and a sought after speaker and researcher who focuses her work on the intersection between communication, empathy, and community.

Laura Takacs | COVID-19 and Traumatic Loss

Laura Takacs, LICSW, MPH, is the Clinical Director of Virginia Mason Grief Services in Seattle, WA. She's an experienced Mental Health Therapist with Master’s degrees in Social Work and Public Health from University of Washington. For the past 15 years she has worked both in the United States and abroad providing counseling and support to individuals who have experienced traumatic loss. Laura has worked with active military, veterans and refugees, and is now working closely with COVID-19 survivors in the US.

Laurel Marlantes | Infant and Pregnancy Loss

Laurel is the Founder of Modern Mourning, an organization that uses one-on-one support, healing circles, audio guides and more to help people heal after the loss of a child. Laurel's life changed unexpectedly, and very quickly, when her first child was stillborn. She was lost, scared, and in terrible pain, but over time adapted principles from her professional life to create practices of storytelling and beauty to support others after a pregnancy or infant loss.

Michelle Post | Mindfulness and Therapy in Grief

Michelle has provided counseling services for children, teens, and adults learning to cope with grief, loss, and trauma since 2003. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist in California, and the CEO of Post International Inc. where she teaches, trains and consults with other grief and loss professionals. Currently, she is a Board Member for the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB), Chair of the AATB Donor Family Services Council, and Board President for HealGrief.

Patricia Caristo | Violent Death

Patricia is the Director of New Mexico's Resource Center for Victims of Violent Death. She has spent decades as a victims' advocate, and is trained in the support of people who have lost someone to a violent death. Patricia's years of experience in police and private investigation, as well as working with agencies such as New Mexico Survivors of Homicide, have given her deep compassion and wisdom that is both inspiring and practical.

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