Dr. Joanne Cacciatore

Joanne Cacciatore (@dr_cacciatore) is an Associate Professor at Arizona State University in the School of Social Work and a counselor specializing in traumatic losses, most often the death of a child.

She is the founder and president of the international nonprofit organization, the MISS Foundation, providing counseling, advocacy, research, and education services to families experiencing the death of a child, and co-founder of the Selah Care Farm, the world’s first ever care farm dealing exclusively with traumatic grief.

As well as having her research published in a various peer reviewed journals she is the author “Bearing the Unbearable: Love, Loss, and the Heartbreaking Path of Grief” which won the 2017 Indies Book of the Year Award in self-help and made it into Oprah’s Basket of Favorite Things!

In today’s episode we discuss traumatic grief, and more specifically the experience of losing a child. Joanne shares her own experience of losing her baby daughter, and how this fuelled her desire to help other families going through the same.

Along the way we discuss how losing a child affects the family dynamic and issues such as blame, the importance of grieving rituals, the DSM 5’s misguided approach to grief, and how family and friends can best support a loved one dealing with such an unbearable personal tragedy.

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Related Links

Center for Loss and Trauma – Joanne’s main website

Dr. Joanne Cacciatore’s Facebook Page

The MISS Foundation – A community of compassion and hope for grieving families

Selah Care Farm – The world’s first care farm dedicated to helping those enduring traumatic grief

The National Organisation of Parents of Murdered Children – For the families and friends of those who have died of violence

The Compassionate Friends – Supporting family after a child dies

Book Recommendations

Image courtesy: Paul Sableman

2 replies
  1. Anna
    Anna says:

    This comment probably won’t get published because it could be viewed as incendiary but this woman seems quite histrionic. Losing a baby is not the same as losing a full-grown child, and the fact that she already had three makes her suspect in my book. Couldn’t get through the whole interview.

    • Danny Whittaker
      Danny Whittaker says:

      Surely one would need to have experienced the loss of both a new born and an older child in order to make such a comparison? Even then, such experiences are purely subjective. Besides, even if we accept your insinuation that losing an older child is more traumatic, that doesn’t negate the trauma of losing a baby.

      I’m not quite sure how already having children prior to losing one makes Joanne “suspect”, nor what value there is in making such an accusation. I wouldn’t class this comment as incendiary so much as I would just talking bollocks. ~ Danny


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