Dr. Kathie Supiano heads the Caring Connections at the University of Utah, and was recently interviewed by Dr. Gloria Horsley during the Association for Death Education and Counseling 2015 conference. As part of the university’s school of nursing program, Caring Connections is unique amongst the industry. “We are the only large, comprehensive bereavement program based in a college of nursing in the United States,” Dr. Supiano explains. With comprehensive backing from the university and state of Utah, Dr. Supiano says, “We have a wide variety of grief support groups that we offer.” There are options for those who have lost a loved one to suicide, lost a spouse, lost a baby and so on. The programs are based on type of loss and are each led by trained, licensed clinicians.

Each group lasts eight weeks and includes clinicians who donate their time. The programs happen three times per year, but there are also holiday-specific events. For example, the Seeds of Remembrance event is for Memorial Day Weekend and encourages those in grief to look back. Chris Williams, author of the book Let It Go, was the special speaker for the 2015 event.

What a Difference Support Makes

Results of grief support groups are reflected in the results Caring Connections has achieved with such solid support. Another special program, held in the winter, is Grief in the Holidays, which helps people move forward. Both aspects are key in grieving. Looking back and looking forward require practice and a safe place to experience these parts of grief. “People need to feel they are moving forward and they are growing and changing,” Dr. Supiano says.

“It’s very hard to do that work alone,” she explains. The world may want you to get over it, but coming to a place where people understand the sorrow can be very helpful. For those in Salt Lake City, Caring Connections can be that space.


Gloria Horsley

Dr. Gloria Horsley is an internationally known grief expert, psychotherapist, and bereaved parent. She started "Open to Hope" to help the millions in the world with grief. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Clinical Nurse Specialist, and has worked in the field of family therapy for over 20 years. Dr. Horsley hosts the syndicated internet radio show, The Grief Blog which is one of the top ranked shows on Health Voice America. She serves the Compassionate Friends in a number of roles including as a Board of Directors, chapter leader, workshop facilitator, and frequently serves as media spokesperson. Dr. Horsley is often called on to present seminars throughout the country. She has made appearances on numerous television and radio programs including "The Today Show," "Montel Williams," and "Sallie Jessie Raphael." In addition, she has authored a number of articles and written several books including Teen Grief Relief with Dr. Heidi Horlsey, and The In-Law Survival Guide.

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