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Grief Support Services. org
A Program of National Grief Support Services Inc.
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We are happy to assist media professionals and researchers with information about the mission and offerings of National Grief Support Services, as well as refer you to experts and practitioners in the many areas of grief we address. You also may want to consult articles, our weekly e-zine, "Grief Matters" and our Ask the Expert feature for professional sources.

We ask that you do not directly contact users of our services, who are going through grief, for research purposes. We are happy to work with you, however, to provide contacts with direct experience in your area of interest.

Please utilize the links on this page and explore our site. We welcome your suggestions.


A quick familiarization with National Grief Support Services Inc. and our broad-based approach offered via

A capsule approach to questions of particular interest to inquiring minds like yours. Click here for Question and Answer

We serve both people in grief and professionals who help them, and here we share with you their feedback about what we do. What Others Say Archive

A rundown that combines background on our organization, its board and “grief relief team,” and our founder and executive director, Karen Russell. Click to know us

As the driving force behind National Grief Support Services, Karen’s story of personal grief is entwined with the genesis of the idea for

News as it breaks:
Recent and significant news and milestones, both regarding National Grief Support Services itself and ways our work relates to news of the day that has unfortunate, grief-producing ramifications.

Our Services: They are dynamic and comprehensive taken as a whole, but individual facets of and National Grief Support Services are explored as subtopics you may never have considered or heard of previously.

Feature Stories: Compelling, ready-to-run pieces on human experiences that bring issues of individual and community grief into three-dimensional focus. They’re available free, in most cases including photos, graphics or other visual elements.


We regret to note that the wellspring of story angles relating to grief – the human response to loss – is as endless as the parade of grief’s causes. We’ll point in several directions we believe are of interest to the people you serve, and we’ll continually freshen the assortment.

Solid sources, qualified to provide insight as you address the many varied topics relating to grief and ways to get through it.
  Susan Gittleman Davies ,MSW, LCSW
After receiving both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Social Work from the California State University at San Diego, Susan spent 30 years working in a variety of mental health settings with diverse populations, treating homeless and psychotic individuals, AIDS patients, terminally ill people and those with chemical/alcohol addictions and eating disorders. Having obtained her L.C.S.W. in 1983, Susan started seeing private patients and opened a private practice in Torrance, Calif., specializing in suicide, homicide, accidental death and hospice-related deaths. As a result of losses in her own life, Susan decided to specialize in the area of grief. She is also a speaker at various grief-related conferences and since 1999 facilitates a successful grief support group at Green Hills Memorial Park in Ranch Palos Verdes, Calif. Susan is particularly interested in how the creative arts can assist the bereaved during the grief process and is currently finishing her book entitled “The Art of Surviving Grief.” You may reach Susan at by calling 310/784-7136.
  Kirsti A. Dyer ,MD, MS, FAAETS, NCBF
Dr. Dyer earned her medical degree from University of California (Davis) and continued on to complete a Post Graduate Fellowship equivalent in Grief Bereavement and Trauma. Dr. Dyer is an internist, adult medicine specialist, board certified expert in Bereavement Trauma and Traumatic Stress (AAETS). She is a nationally certified bereavement facilitator (AAB) and a certified wellness specialist (ACW). She was among the first group of professionals to complete the Professional Series in the Study of Loss and Grief at UC Berkeley Extension. Dr. Dyer has been the recipient of numerous awards. She has lectured and taught extensively and is an active member of many professional associations. In 1997 Dr. Dyer founded Journey of Hearts™ , an online healing place for anyone grieving a loss, and comfort gifts. The sites provide resources and support to help people through the grief process following a loss, crisis or a significant life change. Dr. Dyer may be reached at or
  Russell Friedman ,Grief Author and Expert
As co-founder and executive director of the nonprofit Grief Recovery Institute Educational Foundation, Russell P. Friedman has been working with grievers since 1977. He is coauthor of The Grief Recovery Handbook - The Action Program For Moving Beyond Death, Divorce, And Other Losses and When Children Grieve – For Adults To Help Children Deal With Death, Divorce, Pet Loss, Moving, And Other Losses. His articles have been published internationally and can be accessed at, the official website of The Grief Recovery Institute. Russell has appeared as a Grief Recovery expert on CNN many times, including in the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy and more recently during the funeral proceedings for President Ronald Reagan. Russell has appeared on “The Today Show” concerning how parents can help their children deal with death, divorce, serious illness, and other losses. Russell is a frequent speaker and presenter at conferences and conventions, as well as a featured guest for radio, television, and print interviews. He is a graduate of Rollins college, Winter Park, Florida.
  Newton Hightower ,LMSW
As a licensed psychotherapist for more than 25 years, Newton Hightower is the Founder and Director of the Center for Anger Resolution, Inc. and the former Director of the Baylor Family Counseling Clinic in Houston, Texas. Newton is a fellow of the American Group Psychotherapy Association and served on the Board of the Houston Group Psychotherapy Society for more than a decade. He is also the Past President of the Houston Association for Marriage & Family Therapy. In addition to frequent television and radio appearances, Newton speaks at national and regional professional conferences and was the keynote speaker at the first National Conference on Alcohol and Drugs. He also trains other therapists to help save marriages and to help men stop their fault-finding, sarcasm, arguing self-justification, righteous indignation, rage and violence. For more information, visit
  Alexandra Kennedy ,MA
Alexandra Kennedy MA, MFT, is a psychotherapist and author of Losing a Parent (HarperCollins, 1991) and The Infinite Thread: Healing Relationships Beyond Loss (Beyond Words, April 2001). She lectures at universities, professional organizations and major conferences. She offers a unique perspective to grieving through her work with the imagination, weaving together inspiring case histories, practical advice, and experiential exercises. Alexandra has been interviewed in USA Today, the San Jose Mercury News, the San Francisco Examiner, New Woman and the Boston Herald as well as on NPR's "Talk of the Nation", CNN's "Sonja Live", KQED's "Family Talk," and "New Dimensions Radio". She taught a popular graduate-level course on dying and grieving at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology for six years. Her articles have appeared in Yoga Journal, Mothering Magazine, Magical Blend and the California Therapist. Her website ( offers resources for grieving, along with information about workshops.
  Rick Overman ,PsyD,
Dr. Overman is a licensed psychologist and Jungian analyst who has been helping others develop more satisfying relationships, lead more meaningful lives, find creative fulfillment and connect with their own transformative depths for over 25 years. His early interest in ultimate concerns led him to a master's degree in Religious Studies and then to the psychology of C. G. Jung and the Tibetan teachings of Dzogchen. Dr. Overman writes: “Through the course of our lives we will lose possessions, pets, friends, mates, our youth, our health, sometimes even our children and finally our very lives. Grief is psyche's natural and spontaneous way of dealing with these inevitable losses. Essentially, the process itself as it unfolds is its own guide and operates best when we cooperate with rather than fight against it (as often cultural and familial norms have conditioned us to do). Since we will all ultimately lose everything we hold dear, grief is a central and unavoidable experience of being human. The experience of loss and grief can then become the gate through which we can enter into a more profound psychological and spiritual relationship with the nature not only of death but life itself.” Dr. Overman has offices in Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton, Florida and a website at He can be reached at (561) 251- 3490 or
  Virginia Simpson ,Ph.D.,
Virginia A. Simpson, Ph.D., FT has been designated a Fellow in Thanatology: Death, Dying & Bereavement by the Association for Death Education & Counseling (ADEC). Dr. Simpson began studying grief at the age of 12, after her father died suddenly of a heart attack. She commenced her formal education in death, dying, and bereavement in 1982, and started counseling the dying and bereaved in 1985. In an effort to bring meaning to the sudden death of her stepson, Doug, in 1995 Dr. Simpson founded The Mourning Star Center in Palm Desert, California. Dr. Simpson created and led the facilitator trainings and support groups from 1995-2005.

On February 6, 2006, Dr. Simpson was honored for her work by the Cities of Indian Wells, Palm Desert, Palm Springs, and Rancho Mirage. Dr. Simpson has a private practice specializing in grieving children, parents, and spouses. She also speaks to students, and professionals on issues regarding grieving children and teens. Dr. Simpson has appeared on numerous TV and radio programs, and is a consultant to psychologists and other mental health professionals regarding the issue of grief, in general, and childhood, teen, and parental grief, in particular. Whether a loss has been sudden or expected, Dr. Simpson guides and assists those learning to cope with the depth of emotions and experiences that are part of healthy grieving. Dr. Simpson may be reached via e-mail,, or by phone, 760-774-4992. More information:
  Teldscads Teldscads ,MS
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  Rachel Weinstein ,MS
Rachel Weinstein is a bereavement specialist. She holds a bachelor of science in applied health science and a master of science in education/counseling psychology from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. She has worked as a psychotherapist in Pennsylvania, in both private practice and in the outpatient mental health system. In 1995 she became interested in the area of bereavement after the sudden death of someone she loved prompted her to seek support for herself. She subsequently became acutely aware of what was missing in the way of support and practical guidance through the grief process. She has since obtained additional education and experience in the area of grief support and was the coordinator of client care at the Centre for Living with Dying in Santa Clara, Calif. She maintains a private practice in San Jose, Calif., providing support, education, and consultation for grief, loss, and life transition. She offers workshops and presentations throughout the country and is committed to providing compassionate, responsible grief support and education. Rachel lives and practices in San Jose and can be reached at 408/376-0615. Her email address is

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