Empty Arms Bereavement

Meet our Board Secretary: Jess Kuttner

Jessica Kuttner, LICSW: Board Secretary, Psychotherapist

Jessica Kuttner, LICSW: Board Secretary, Psychotherapist

1) Could you share your connection to Empty Arms and how you first discovered this organization?

I first became involved with Empty Arms through a local friend and mother’s group co-facilitator, Erika, who used to be on the board and facilitate groups.  Empty Arms was looking for a therapist for the board and Erika brought me in. 

2) What motivates you to stay involved?

Through my own personal experiences of loss and professional experiences supporting folks through loss, I find a lot of inspiration and hope in the community and deep care that can develop in the aftermath of loss. I believe that we are here to connect with each other and support each other through the brutal things we experience in life as well as the joy and beauty.  I love that Empty Arms is an organization that fosters this kind of support and community. 

What do you do for a living?

I am a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice. 

4) How do you spend your personal time and what do you like to do for fun?

I spend a lot of my time as an activist trying to work towards changing the conditions that lead to suffering. I am a contemplative practitioner of meditation and yoga.  I run – yes to the release of endorphins and dopamine!!!  I spend time playing, hiking and sometimes biking in the woods with my two teenagers and husband as well as mediating conflict between my rescue dog and two cats.  One of my most favorite things to do is go on long walks or enjoy meals with good friends. 

5) It’s odd to some that we share tears and laughter in this line of work! Any funny stories or anecdotes you’re willing to share?

An incredibly random funny story:  Last summer a woodchuck decided to make a home under our shed.  I was making reference to this animal and forgot the name (hooray for getting older..) and the animal name that came out of my mouth was warthog.  Now I was pretty sure that we didn’t have a warthog living under our shed, and I decided to google warthog.  The first thing that came up on the google search was the maximum speed of a warthog was 400 mph.  Did you know that the Warthog is a military plane? I did not know this so I all of a sudden had this image of a very fast indeed pig-like creature on our back hill and I found this mental image hilarious.  I told you it was random… 

6) What are YOUR HOPES for this year?

My hopes for this year have to do with leaning into the work of supporting the people who bear witness to the suffering in the world.  There is so very much suffering and I am passionate about resourcing the folks who turn towards this reality as change makers and caregivers.

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