Words of Praise

"The experience that I have had in Good Grief was heart-warming, frightening at times, and most of all, healing. Good Grief is undoubtedly among the best trauma, grief, addictions and PTSD therapies there is or that I have ever heard of or experienced. Darlene is a master. Government statistics state that 98% of all addiction stems from 'unresolved childhood trauma'.

Good Grief is not band-aid therapy. Good Grief deals with the source of your denial, hurt, pain and trauma. By identifying and releasing our unresolved, buried and denied trauma and pain, and by identifying the CORE of our pain, it gives us a chance to grieve the layers and layers of hurt that we harbor. Then healing begins.

Good Grief’s cutting edge use of experiential, primary processes, guided imagery, weaving, journaling, poetry and myth writing, and meditation makes it a priceless program and a miracle in process for all who are able to attend." - Gerald K., Behavioral Specialist Consultant, Addiction Counselor & Interventionist

"What a rare gift Darlene offers to our community in holding the space so we can explore the many losses we all experience at some point in our lives. Whether you are looking at the loss of a loved one, a relationship or lost dreams and paths not taken, you will find compassionate guidance with Darlene. In the Good Grief class she has gently guided us through the process of looking at our losses and learning how to integrate them into our lives in a powerful way. I am grateful to have been a part of this transformative experience and so appreciative of the wonderful connections I have made with others in the class." - MP


"I didn't think I qualified for a Good Grief group because I wasn't grieving the loss of a loved one. Then I heard it would be helpful for anyone who felt they weren't living as a fully authentic self. For anyone living limiting patterns that no longer served them.

Yes, this group is a 16-week commitment and it's tempting to dismiss it as too time-consuming. On the other hand, every minute was worth its weight in gold, and the best investment I ever made!- CK

"Thank you so much for Good Grief Guidance, and for the adventure of the past four months!! You are such an angel in this world and such an inspiration. I am beyond grateful that I had the opportunity to do this work with you. It has been a deeply profound experience. I'm blown away by this program that you have put together from the soil of your own experience and honored to have been able to experience it." - SB

"This course helped me address some core issues and form a new myth that has positive repercussions. It also allowed me to address some beliefs that I had about my relationship with my father. I’ve gained a lot of perspective regarding the grief process and the mono-myth, and I highly recommend Good Grief because of the insight it gives into your life and your past.”  - Cody, 17

"I appreciated being able to identify with others and getting to focus on things that I care about. I was able to locate my thinking errors, and now I know where I went wrong in the past. Through participating in Good Grief, I have a better sense of who I am and what my purpose in life is. I recommend it to people who have had truly deep pain in their life, because Good Grief and Personal Mythology really help with that.”  - Drew, 16

"After 15 years of unresolved grief, if there really is any resolution to losing a child, and trying everything I thought I possibly could, something has changed. I have grieved so hard. I’ve walked to the edge of death and self-destruction and stared into the abyss of self-delusion. Well, I’ve been told that Good Grief is to 'thrive in the face of suffering'. Finally, after searching across continents and what seems like a lifetime, my heart begins to close its wound.

Prison is the perfect setting for this work, this endeavor, this new chapter in my life. I am growing. I’m changing. My increase 'is coming to fruition'.  I am convalescing in my grief. My confidence - augmented. My suffering - vanquished by the caring, unconditional love and humanity of those who have suffered as I have. My hope has cause to regain signs of life and vigor. That’s how I’m thriving." - VL, Deer Ridge Correctional Institution

"When I began the Good Grief class with Darlene Gertsch, I was experiencing roller-coaster emotions that were spinning out of control, between grief and stress with only short breaks of peace. I had been through DBT counseling and one-on-one sessions with my BHS counselors, but I could never intentionally eliminate my anxiety and feelings of grief without being talked down by my counselors.

Darlene helped me identify my root causes of hopelessness, worthlessness, loneliness, etc., and enlightened me with methods of healing and coping. I am too insecure yet to say I will never have those 'lost' feelings again, but I can confidently say that I am capable of healing as I practice my new skills.

My new core beliefs are of a positive growth that I am worthy and deserving of happiness and peace. My opinions and caring, loving natures are just as important as anyone else’s and I am capable of overcoming life’s grief and irrational feelings as I make what I’ve learned a way of life.

Before I allow any outside source to affect my 'True Self' in a negative way to a point of spinning out of control, I will step back and take a breath, then utilize my new life skills to turn back and stay grounded in myself." Robert F., Deer Ridge Correctional Institution

“I have personally gained an understanding of teamwork and the love and support human beings can give to one another. I personally understand the value in the ability to share your feelings with a group. The meditation helped me relax in times of great stress, and I have noticed myself treating women with more respect – one of my core issues and beliefs that were untrue. Darlene perfectly incorporated the intensity of looking at yourself as a person and having fun. I recommend Good Grief to people who are ready to address their issues head-on.”
- Grant, 17

"I am a 39 year old male who recently completed the 16 week Good Grief Course. I was the only male and I must say it was a huge experience to learn that women, as much as myself, struggle with emotional issues. In short, for the men, step up and grow up, the world needs you!" - RB

"When I first considered taking the Good Grief course, I questioned my readiness to commit to 16 weeks of delving into my history of personal loss. I had already done so much work on this issue — first as a client in therapy, then during my training to become an art therapist, and finally during the almost 20 years of professional practice as a drug and alcohol counselor. When would it be enough? Was there really more to be done?  Something inside me said: 'Yes, there’s more to be done;' so I signed up to do the course. The past 16 weeks have been filled with every imaginable emotion and has ultimately delivered me to a creative freedom that I haven’t experienced in years.

Before starting the course, Darlene and I talked about the possibility of doing the Good Grief course during a 2-weekend-long intensive workshop. At first, the idea of attending two long weekends sounded very appealing — get in, do the work, and get out. This format, though appealing, was not yet available. It was still only a future possibility, so I signed up for the 16 weeks. Darlene asked me the same question when I finished the course — could the work be done in two long weekends or in some other abbreviated form?

As I looked back over the process I’d just completed, I realized that there had been profound shifts occurring all along the way — shifts in how I saw myself, how I saw other people, and how I saw the world and my place in it. It seems that these shifts took time to unfold, that there was no 'quick fix' for what had locked me up. My losses had created in me a belief system that seemed to protect me — at least 'once upon a time.' Now this very same system was crippling me, preventing me from reaching my full potential.  

This course appears to have opened a door to something totally unexpected. I didn’t expect to feel more trusting, more in touch with my inner guides, more creative, or more energized and excited about the future. And yet, this is exactly what has happened. Many years ago I stopped creating art, even though it had once been a profound tool for transformation. Now suddenly I’ve returned to this previously abandoned source of delight and insight. The reasons for not pursuing dreams have now dissolved into a great sea of possibilities."
 - Jonna C., Art Therapist, Drug and Alcohol Counselor

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