In this episode, I have a deeply powerful and inspiring conversation with Dr. Joanne Cacciatore (@grief_doctor), a grief educator, bereaved mother, tenured professor, best-selling author, and more. Dr. Jo started the first therapeutic carefarm in the world (@selah_carefarm) for traumatic grief which was recently featured on Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry's Apple TV docuseries, "The Me You Can't See."
Dr. Jo and I talk about both the subtle and more obvious ways American culture often marginalizes, invalidates, and oversimplifies grief and human suffering. We share our perspectives on what it means to live with and learn to carry grief in different seasons of life, and how we can responsibly work together to truly honor and hold space for the depth, breadth, and complexity of grief. Dr. Jo highlights some of her research findings that emphasize the unique role that animals can play in helping us navigate grief, and how we can learn from the quality of presence they offer. We also talk candidly about what it means to decolonize grief and trauma work. We also discuss how turning away from any kind suffering is not only unhelpful, but it also enables and perpetuates injustice. When we allow ourselves to feel the pain of another being, it offers an opportunity for deeper connection and an appreciation of our interconnectedness, without the kind of blaming and othering that hurts us all.
About Dr. Jo: Dr Jo is tenured research professor at Arizona State University, where she runs the graduate Certificate in Trauma and Bereavement, and also founded the MISS Foundation. Since 1996, she has worked with and counseled those affected by traumatic death, most often the deaths of a children. She started Selah Carefarm, based on a framework for incorporating 40 domestic and farm animals rescued from abuse, torture, neglect, and homelessness. Her best selling book, Bearing the Unbearable: Love, Loss, and the Heartbreaking Path of Grief, won the Indies Book of the Year Award and her most recent book of meditations, Grieving is Loving, was released in December of 2020. To connect with Dr. Jo, visit her website (https://www.centerforlossandtrauma.com).
Additional Resources & Information
Decolonizing Trauma Work by Renee Linklater
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Please note that the information provided in this episode does not constitute professional advice or therapy, mental health services, or health care services, & is not intended to serve as a substitute for professional advice or services. If you are struggling with a mental health crisis or need immediate assistance, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.