Issue # 97 - January 2023

Through Aug. 27 - Chicago, IL - LIVE!

Death: Life's Greatest Mystery

Field Museum


Jan. 12 - ONLINE 12:30 Pacific

The Stubborn Persistence

of Grief Stage Theories

Two CE credit hours


Southern California

Jan. 13 and 14 - LIVE!

Dr. Brad Onishi from the podcast

Straight White American Jesus

Costa Mesa, Jan. 13

Los Angeles, Jan. 14


Feb. 18 - ONLINE

Third Annual Symposium on

Death and Bereavement Studies

  CE Credit Hours Available


The first ten people to register

before Jan. 15 save 30%!

See related story below.



May 11, May 25 and June 8


Managing Mothers Day

and Fathers Day

After the Death of a Child

As our loyal subscribers know, this newsletter addresses a vast spectrum of interests, from end-of-life care and bereavement to spirituality and mysticism. In this month's issue, it feels appropriate now that the holidays are over, to spend some time talking about religious deconstruction and the state of spirituality in America.

To kick things off, take a peek at this presentation, in which I talk about the relationship between bereavement and toxic theology at the 2021 Conference on Religious Trauma.

You'll also find two related articles, and the latest episode of my friend Brian Smith's Grief 2 Growh podcast, in which he interviews a former pastor about his departure from the pulpit and the work he does to help those who are on their own deconstruction journeys.

Let's start the new year with a new image of god, and a more empowered, less fear-based relationship with the divine.


Rev. Dr. Terri Daniel, CT, CCTP

End-of-Life Advisor, Interfaith Chaplaincy,

Bereavement and Trauma Support



Psychedelic Chaplains:

A New Form of Spiritual Guide Emerges

Photo by Raimond Klavins/Unsplash/Creative Commons

“Psychedelic experiences, particularly at higher dosages, can feel like dying,” said Sam Shonkoff, assistant professor of Jewish studies at Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. “One can feel as if they’re being born. One can feel a sense of existential rupture. To have a chaplain there, who maybe has a lot of experience with sitting with people who are facing death, that can be really applicable to accompanying people who are having these experiences with psychedelics.” READ MORE... 

Meet the Legendary Dr. Robert Neimeyer

on our Ask Doctor Death Podcast

We are very excited to share our interview with Robert A. Neimeyer, PhD, who is among today's top researchers in the field of death and bereavement. His work is legendary, and when you listen to this podcast, you'll find him to be extremely compassionate, articulate and wise. LISTEN HERE

We are thrilled that he will be a presenter at our upcoming Symposium on Death and Bereavement Studies (see related article and discount offer below) 

Is Death Doula Training Substantial Enough?

You don't have to look too far to find a program that will "certify" you as a death doula after attending a couple of weekend online workshops. It seems there's a program like this on every corner these days, and students are encouraged to offer their professional services as soon as they receive their certificates. Practitioners lament that this discipline is not taken seriously by hospitals and hospices, and it isn’t hard to see why; most graduates of most death doula programs don’t have the kind of bona fide credentials required for working in a clinical setting.

This is a hot topic, and here are two articles to bring you up-to-speed on the controversy:

The first article appeared on our the Death, Grief and Belief blog recently. In response to that article, we received a comment from Delta Waters, RN, who has 20 years hospice experience. She has contributed a comprehensive article on the topic, which you can find here.

The same problem exists in the field of bereavement. There are online programs that will "certify" you as a grief coach/grief educator without requiring any clinical experience or supervision. We'll be covering that topic next month.

Jesus Ouija Board

Apparently it's Not Witchcraft if Jesus is Involved

Too bad we didn't know about this last month; it would have made a great Christmas gift. Yes, this is a real product, but it's hard to tell if the manufacturer is serious or selling it as a spoof. Either way, it's probably making money. Check it out on Amazon, and be sure to read the reviews and questions (they're hilarious).

Fewer Than Half Americans May be Christian by 2070

While the scenarios in this report vary in the extent of religious disaffiliation they project, they all show Christians continuing to shrink as a share of the U.S. population READ MORE

How to Thrive

After Leaving your Religion

To some, the idea of leaving a religion can seem as innocuous as canceling a gym membership. However, for many who have left a faith tradition, the reality is much more complicated. READ MORE

David Hayward, The Naked Pastor

This interview with former evangelical pastor David Hayward is from Brian Smith's Grief2Growth podcast, which explores a range of thought-provoking topics about spirituality and bereavement. We love Brian's work, and hope you will support him by becoming a subscriber!


Six CE Credit Hours!

Cultivating Radical Resilience

An In-Depth Online Workshop

Feb. 18. 2023 



A limited number of scholarships are now available

The first ten people to register before January 15

will recieve a 30% discount.

Use promo code FIRST10

The third annual Symposium on Death and Bereavement Studies presents a unique online seminar in which you'll work interactively with some of today's most respected leaders in the field. Six CE credit hours available.

Join us for a day of unique content, experiential processes and interactive group exercises covering critical issues in bereavement not generally addressed in traditional counseling or support group settings.  DETAILS HERE

Symposium Presenters

Terri Daniel, DMin, CT, CCTP

Rituals for Healing

and Restoration

Ken Doka, PhD

Resilience: A Socio-Ecological Framework 

Lucy Hone PhD:

Resilient Grieving:

Findings from Psychology 

Robert Neimeyer, PhD

Loss and the

Quest for Meaning

Rev. Caffie Risher

Resilience in

the BIPOC Community 

Panel Discussion

with Presenters

The Road to Resilience 


Masters Degree (or Certificate) in Thanatology

Related to the previous article about death doula training, here are two excellent programs that can provide an academic education in thanatology. While a certificate or MA in the field is a great credential, it should still be supplemented with hands-on clinical experience at the bedside, which can easily be gained through hospice volunteering. Both of these thanatology programs are fully online, offered by accredited universities:

Marian University (Masters degree or certificate)

University of Maryland (certificate only)


Our 2023 Conference will be Virtual Next Year.

Save the Dates!

Plans are in the works for our 2023 conference, and we'll be virtual this year. We've already got some fantastic speakers lined up, and will send you a link to the updated website as soon as more details are confirmed. In the meantime, please mark your calendar for July 8 and 9, 2023. CE credits will be available for live attendance. 

If you'd like to watch the video recordings of this year's conference, you can find them HERE.  

Join the conversation in our

Death, Grief and Belief Facebook Group

Are you a professional chaplain who does not identify with the conventional religious chaplaincy model? Visit our

Chaplains Outside the Box Facebook Group

Contact us: