Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to turn to a top professional for answers to questions on your mind, or to get practical suggestions from someone who has helped many others, people who have overcome what you are going through? Well, now you can!


  We strive to reflect our sensitivity to the sharing of information as part of our caring mission and to utilize this information for your advantage. The resources provided at GriefSupportServices.org are for individuals to evaluate and apply as they see fit. We do strive to include only sources that have a record of accomplishment or acceptance within their fields. But the appearance of information from any listing is not intended as an endorsement of the accuracy, reliability or business practices of that information or source. Please let us know about any problems that arise from information or sources of services referred to on this site. Click Here for more disclosure details. 



  • Your chance to get specific…ideas and resources geared for your needs.
  • Expert consultation to help make your work as a fellow colleague, easier and more effective.
  • Person-to-person answers when you don’t know where to turn.
  • Pose your question online and watch for the answer, or look for special live Ask The Expert online or telephone sessions.
  • Consult our archives for past answers to questions on Ask the Expert, or our audio archive of past telephone Q&A sessions.
  • Speak freely, openly and anonymously about what troubles you.
  • Help make others more aware: people who share your grief and others who need to understand them.


 Anyone feeling the hurt associated with the loss of someone or something, in other words, anyone who grieves, may participate in Ask the Expert. Due to the volume of questions our experts receive, it is not possible to personally answer every question. Those with the broad interest are most likely to be answered and will be posted on Ask the Expert within a week to 10 days.


Ask the Experts is coordinated by National Grief Support Services and therapists participating through our Compassion Cooperative.



Hanna Chusid, Ed.D
Dr. Hanna Chusid, Ed.D, is licensed as both a clinical social worker and psychologist and currently practices in Southern California. She has 30 years of professional mental health experience in Canada and the USA, facilitating creative healing with individuals, couples, groups and organizational teams across the life spectrum of crises and natural cycles of change/loss, transition and growth. Early in her career, she served on a community Burial Society and in recent years served as a certified childbirth and postpartum support professional. She has served as an educator and mentor to mental health professionals and other healers at undergraduate, graduate and continuing education levels. Hanna has developed programs to educate professionals, as well as the public, on the use of the arts, movement and story as methods for healing and growth. Hanna is also an experienced yoga instructor and a certified meditation instructor, currently offering continuing education courses on the application of yoga to the healing arts.


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 http://griefrelief.net/or by calling 310/784-7136.


  Robert (Bob) Deits, MST, Pastoral Counselor
Bob Deits has been a pastoral counselor in the United Methodist Church for 38 years. For the past 25 years he has been helping people cope with major loss experiences including death, divorce, relocation, traumatic injury, sexual abuse as children and job loss. His book, Life After Loss, is highly respected and is in print in seven languages and a new fourth edition was published in April, 2004. A frequent speaker and conference leader, on a wide variety of subjects. He does training sessions for hospice workers, nurses, Stephen Ministry programs, grief support group leaders, military chaplains and others. He has appeared on nationally syndicated radio and television programs. Following the events of September 11, 2001, Bob developed a multimedia program titled, “From Fear to Freedom” to underscore the role of faith in putting life back to normal in a world of terrorism. He and his wife June live in Mesa, Arizona. June is a 10-year survivor of breast cancer. Together, they address “Coping With Cancer As a Couple.” Bob is a graduate of California State College, Los Angeles, with a degree in psychology. He holds a Master of Theology degree from Claremont School of Theology in pastoral counseling and psychology.


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 VioletHeart.org 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 griefdoc@journeyofhearts.org or http://www.JourneyOfHearts.org.


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 www.grief.net, 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 www.AngerBusters.com.


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 (www.alexandrakennedy.com) 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 www.droverman.com. He can be reached at (561) 251- 3490 or info@droverman.com.


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, DrVSimpson@verizon.net, or by phone, 760-774-4992. More information: www.drvirginiasimpson.com.


Marty Tousley, MS
Marty Tousley, MS, RN, CT is a certified hospice bereavement counselor helping people find their way through grief following the death of a family member. As a volunteer with the Pet Grief Support Service in Phoenix, AZ, she also works with bereaved animal lovers, both individually and in groups, and consults with veterinary clinics to foster greater understanding of pet loss among staff members, thereby building better helping relationships with grieving clients. A frequent contributor to healthcare journals, newsletters and magazines for the lay public, she has written several articles and book chapters in the professional nursing and medical literature, and has authored three books and three on-line e-mail courses addressing various aspects of loss and grief. She also serves as moderator for Hospice of the Valley’s newly developed on-line Grief and Loss Discussion Groups, at http://www.aznetwork.com/griefforums. Her own award-winning Grief Healing Web site, at http://www.griefhealing.com, offers information, comfort and support to anyone who is anticipating or mourning the loss of a loved one, whether that is a person or a cherished animal companion. Marty can be reached via e-mail at tousleym@aol.com.


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 Rachel@griefcomfort.com.