Grief and Holidays—Webinar Recording

Kathleen Putnam presents on her work related to grief coaching. Kathleen has recently completed training with Amy Wright Glenn, the author of the book, “Holding Space.” Kathleen shares ideas on how doulas can support clients and families as they walk through their experience of grief. As we approach the Holiday season, grief may be heightened as families come together for the first time without one of their beloved family members who have died.

Kathleen Putnam is an end-of-life doula, master’s prepared dietitian, and behavior change coach located in Seattle. Visit her at Coaching at End of Life.


  • 4:25 – What is grief?
    • A natural response to loss or change
    • It is constant and universal
  • 6:58 – Myths about grief
    • Grief and mourning are the same
    • Grief is orderly and predictable
    • Keep busy and you can avoid the pain
    • The goal is to “get over it”
    • Expression of grief is considered weak
    • You can replace the loss
    • Grief is emotional
    • Grieve alone
    • There is no help for grief
    • If grief continues, it moves into depression
    • Time heals grief
    • Moving on with your life means you forgot those who died
    • Grief will end
  • 15:08 – Coaching through grief
    • Create a safe place and holding space
    • Embrace and allow feelings to flow, no agenda to feel better
    • Meet you where you are at, not “going” somewhere
    • Listen with curiosity, not analyzing how you are doing
    • Empower self care or action vs give answers
    • Find footing in “new normal” vs get back to normal
  • 18:02 – Burn out vs compassion fatigue
  • 22:05 – Taking inventory
    • How are we doing with self care, grief, and loss in our own lives? How do we separate that from taking care of those we’re working with?
    • Self care: practice of taking action to preserve your health (activate relaxation routinely, effortful training, creative expression, social connection)
  • 33:34 – Discussion

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Patty Brennan

Patty is the owner and visionary force behind Lifespan Doulas. For 40 years, she has been a doula, midwife, educator, author, nonprofit executive, and entrepreneur. Patty has personally trained approximately 2,500 people to become doulas. She is the author of The Doula Business Guide: How to Succeed as a Birth, Postpartum or End-of-Life Doula, 3rd Edition.