About The Work
"My time at the Center for Loss and Trauma changed me forever."
- D.M., grieving mother
"Transformational. Healing. Growth. Thank you and your healing horses."
- M.K., grieving mother
"I learned and experienced and I grew. Nothing has helped me more, in 15 years of trying to beat grief, nothing has helped me more."
- J.P., grieving father
The CBC program is the best traumatic grief training out there. Dr. Cacciatore... teaches with passion, love, conviction, and with power. Dr. Cacciatore's commanding, yet humble and accesible presence allows all who attend to be honest, authentic, and fully present with the painful truth of traumatic death, grief, death, and dying. The 4 days were amazing! I made memories and had experiences that have changed me, inspired me, and will be fuel for my soul as I venture down the rabbit hole of the tragically beautiful world of "full presence" which this sacred work demands.
-Jared Rowland MC, NCC,LAC
Master in Counseling
National Certified Counselor
Licensed Associate Counselor
About the Center for Loss and Trauma
We provide highly specialized mindfulness and nature based counseling, like equine assisted therapy, based on connection, ritual, and integration. We believe that grief is not something to 'get over' or something 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 which arises 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. If you are looking for one of our Compassionate Bereavement Care (tm) providers, you can do a local search here.
About me, Dr. Joanne Cacciatore
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."
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, equine assisted trauma work, bibliotherapy, ecotherapy, meditation, yoga, and shinrin-yoku. I started the first therapeutic carefarm in the United States and the first in the world for traumatic grief based on a framework for incorporating 33 domestic and farm animals rescued from abuse, torture, neglect, and homelessness. It's called Selah Carefarm.
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. 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. My latest book, Bearing the Unbearable: Love, Loss, and the Heartbreaking Path of Grief, won the Indies Book of the Year Award in self-help for 2017 and made it into Oprah's Basket of Favorite Things! The book sold out its first printing before it was even released.
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 practice ahimsa and am an ascetic and pacifist vegan (meat/fish free since 1972). 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. You can read more in my blog.
I'm inspired by the work of others 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 have had a sit practice since 2007.
I have endured many anachronistic deaths during the course of my early life. I lost both my parents. My best friend and teacher died in 2004 and I have lost partners and many friends.
But July of 1994 changed the course of my life: the day my baby daughter died. 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".
© Dr Joanne Cacciatore, 1999, 2011, 2016