Empty Arms Bereavement

Trusted Therapists

Individual and couples therapy can be incredibly helpful for grieving families.  If you're reading this, you've probably already discovered that grief is a messy, awkward journey. Many of us have really benefitted in having a therapist help us through this difficult time.

Below, you'll read our list of therapists that we recommend. The practitioners are sorted according to where they are located, and locations are alphabetical. Each practitioner on our list is there because they have indicated a specific interest in working with bereaved families. You'll see that in addition to their contact information and the insurances that they accept, each clinician has included a brief paragraph about him/herself to help you to get a sense of why they are interested in helping bereaved families.

Our list grows as we hear recommendations from bereaved parents, so if you've had a positive experience with a practitioner and you don't see his or her name on this list, please let us know!

Barbara Burkart, LMHC

413-687-0316; 256 N. Pleasant Street #6, Amherst, MA 01002; barbara.burkart@comcast.net

“I'm a clinical mental health counselor in practice for over a decade. I've worked with many clients who have experienced loss (that is the core of our work, of course, no matter what the issue), but do not have clinical experience in the specific area of bereavement counseling following miscarriage or stillbirth. However, my sister-in-law, many years ago, suffered a stillbirth. I remember how helpful it was for her to be part of a group of similarly suffering folks. I'd like to be able to help others facing this.”

Insurances Accepted: Aetna, Beacon, BlueCross BlueShield, MBHP (Mass. Behavioral Health Partnership), Oxford, United, Tufts, and Unicare

Jolene Phillips, LMHC

413-214-4587; 409 Main St. Suite 121 Amherst, Ma 01002; www.jolenephillips.com

“My personal experience with miscarriage sparked an interest and passion in perinatal and postpartum mental health.  My therapeutic approach focuses on creating an empathic environment where you feel safe and relaxed, and where we can use every tool available to brighten your present and empower your future.  I most frequently utilize a lot of CBT techniques and mindfulness techniques in therapy, but evaluate which techniques and tools best match each client. I have done advanced trainings in perinatal and postpartum mental health.”

Insurances Accepted: BMC Healthnet, Beacon, GIC, BlueCross BlueShield, Harvard Pilgrim, Neighborhood Health Plan, Tufts, United Healthcare.

Brittanie jemes, msw, licsw

413-777-2876; Golden 3 Counseling Services in Amherst, MA; Telehealth ONLY; golden3counselingservices@gmail.com

“I am a trained but non-practicing birth doula, a Black mother with lived experience navigating the health care and mental health care systems & a trauma-informed therapist.”

Insurances Accepted: BlueCross BlueShield or private pay only

Franklin County

Laura Pontani, LMHC, Psychotherapist

617-909-5086; 110 North Hillside Road, S. Deerfield, MA 01373;  www.laurapontani.com 

“I have been working with women and families experiencing perinatal complications, adjustments, and depression for over the past 5 years.  My work also extends to anxiety, trauma, and grief and loss. It is my passion to work with individuals, couples, and families throughout all perinatal experiences, including loss...” Laura has specific clinical experience with pregnancy/infant loss.

Insurances Accepted: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Tufts, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, and Optum Behavioral Health

Megan Bathory-Peeler, somanaut: BCMT, CST, SEP, PBAT, CMRP, ATMAT

413.772.0078; 28 High Street Greenfield, MA 01301; megan@somanautiko.com; www.somanautiko.com

Megan Bathory-Peeler has been Licensed and Nationally Board Certified in Massage, Bodywork, and Somatic Therapy since 1993. Somanautiko is a unique approach to promoting conscious embodiment and empowered selfcare that evolved through 25 years of inquiry, interdisciplinary study, experiential learning and international travel.

Megan brings personal experience with loss and bereavement to her professional work with children and families. When a family is grieving the loss of a child, Megan tends to work closely with each member of the family individually, or together, as need arises. No matter who is present for any particular session, the entire family system is held and attended to carefully and consciously. These are relationships of support that grow and span over a number of years, as grief does not tend to come with time limits.

Insurances Accepted: Insurance does not cover services at Somanautiko. However, no one will be denied access to care because of inability to pay the full rate. Please ask and we can work out a payment plan or negotiate a rate that is most comfortable for you and your family.


Pam Brigham, LICSW

 413-230-0479; 1789 Northampton St, Holyoke MA

Pam is fully bilingual in Spanish, and she attended Compassionate Caregiving when a Baby Dies training by Share/Empty Arms in 2008.  She has worked as Maternal Social Worker at Cooley Dickinson Hospital and Holyoke Medical Center. In addition to her professional experience, Pam is also the mother of two babies gone too soon-- lost at 4 and 6 months gestation.

Insurances Accepted: Anthem, BMC Health Net, Beacon, Blue Care Network, BlueCross BlueShield, Commonwealth Care Alliance, Empire BlueCross, Fallon Health, HNE, Harvard Pilgrim, Health Net, Health New England (HNE), Magellan Behavioral Health, Medicare, Neighborhood Health Plan, Optum, Tufts, UniCare, ValueOptions, Out of Network

Robert Zucker, LICSW

413-650-6264; private practice located in Holyoke; www.robertzucker.com

“Work with bereaved parents, siblings, and grandparents has been my area of specialty for over 25 years. I recently moved back to Western Massachusettsafter being away for 5 years  - where I was hospice bereavement coordinator at hospices in Virginia and Eastern Massachusetts. I have just opened my clinical practice in the Holyoke Highlands."

Self pay on a sliding scale; some clients are reimbursed by insurance. 


Bri McCarroll, MSW, LICSW

413-746-1000; Private Practice in Longmeadow and Springfield

“Although I have not received specialized training in this, I would definitely be interested in working more with this group. In my practice, I have worked with a very limited number of cases of this nature; one client experienced a stillbirth and the other a miscarriage.  I used EMDR in both situations and found it very helpful. My practice population is varied, but I am drawn to cases where loss, trauma, and/or transition are significant issues to be addressed.”

Jaime Beth Gershman, LICSW; Body Centered Psychotherapist

413-387-4218; Northampton, MA • East Longmeadow, MA

“Much of my experience in this area was around supporting a family member--although I have also worked with women in my practice and had training in grief support specific to pregnancy/infant loss in years past.  I am a body-centered therapist--much of my work is focused on helping people feel and integrate deeply to create internal and external resources for support, healing and creating their next steps forward.  I often tap into meditation/visualization and a spiritual focus to the degree it serves each person.”

Kathy Varner, Msw

413-781-2348; West Springfield

Kathy was previously the maternal/child bereavement social worker at Baystate. She comes highly recommended by bereaved parents.



16 Center St. Northampton, MA; l.samantha.armer@gmail.com 347 599 5869

“Grief is a process that often gets short shrift in our culture as well as reduced focus on ritual and storytelling about our lost members. Before I became a clinician I worked as a birth and postpartum doula where I supported families through many different experiences as parents, including loss, fertility concerns, and creating rituals for their families. As a therapist I have supported number of clients through direct and indirect loss of family members, including children and siblings. My goal to walk along with you on your journey and witness your process, offer support, empathy, and reflection.”


25 Main St. Suite 218 Northampton, MA; brookebullLMFT@gmail.com

“I specialize in providing therapy to the LGBTQ community, and have worked with folks across the gender spectrum who have experienced infertility, miscarriage and infant loss. For me, it is an honor to offer support to people who are grappling with infertility and loss, especially folks who do not necessarily fit the dominant narrative of what a birth parent or family looks like. I have experience working with people in non-monogamous relationship structures as well as and individuals who are choosing to be solo parents.”

Insurances Accepted: Blue Cross Blue Shield, Always Partners Health, and soon Health New England


917-213-7197; 25 Main St, Suite 214, Northampton; www.bindacolebrook.com

"I have worked with women who have had miscarriages, women who are struggling with infertility and children who have lost a parent. I am also open to working with women who have lost a child. I have taken the empty arms bereavement training and feel very committed to working with people who have suffered losses and are wanting support in navigating the journey of grief."

Insurances Accepted: BlueCross Blue Shield, MBHPH, NE be healthy, Tufts


413-658-8390; 8 Trumbull Rd. #304, Northampton, MA; acostin@northamptoncounseling.com; http://www.northamptoncounseling.com

"Due to my own pregnancy loss, I have a particular interest in perinatal and postpartum mental health with a focus on: pregnancy loss; pregnancy termination; depression and anxiety during pregnancy; and postpartum depression and anxiety.  There were many people that helped me during such a devastating time in my life.  This is my opportunity to help others and "pay it forward" to support other families."

Insurances Accepted: Dr. Costin accepts HNE and BlueCross BlueShield Massachusetts


413-697-7084; 8 Trumbull Road, # 105, Northampton, MA 01060; kerivers7@gmail.com

"I offer a mindfulness based, trauma informed psychodynamic approach to treatment.  I utilize EMDE/PC and DBT skill sets as needed.  I have my certification in Bereavement Facilitation from the American Academy of Bereavement. I have led three bereavement support groups and continue to offer this skill set for individual clients."

Insurances Accepted: BlueCross BlueShield, Cigna, HNE, Harvard Pilgrim, Magellan, Medicare, Optum, PHCS, UBH.  She also offers affordable self-pay.

Ruth Pearlman, LCSW

19 Center Court , Northampton,  MA 01060; 413 219 8574

“I have, for years, treated bereaved parents who have lost their children. I don't necessarily focus on babies but I am always hoping to connect with others who do bereaved parent work.”


413-585-5959; 100 King Street, Suite # 303, Northampton, MA 01060

"Over 30 years experience working with adults, adolescents, and children in individual, couples, and family therapy. I have a warm and eclectic style that is interactive and goal oriented, attentive to mindfulness, working with strengths, impact of family of origin to help clients express their authentic selves. Through Positive Solutions, coaching for life and workplace success, I work on performance issues and workplace dynamics, offer workshops on communication and stress reduction, facilitate group meetings and retreats. trained in EMDR and Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy." See Jori’s page on Psychology Today…

Insurances Accepted: Blue Cross BlueShield, HMO Blue, Aetna, Health New England, Tufts, Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare, United Behavioral Health, United Health Care, Value Options, Boston Medical Health Net Mass Health, GIC, MPHP Be Healthy.

Jaime Beth Gershman, LICSW; Body Centered Psychotherapist

413-387-4218; Northampton, MA , East Longmeadow, MA

“Much of my experience in this area was around supporting a family member--although I have also worked with women in my practice and had training in grief support specific to pregnancy/infant loss in years past.  I am a body-centered therapist--much of my work is focused on helping people feel and integrate deeply to create internal and external resources for support, healing and creating their next steps forward.  I often tap into meditation/visualization and a spiritual focus to the degree it serves each person.”

Virginia Van Scoy, LICSW

(413) 584-2600, (413) 584-2622; 182 Main Street, #302,  Northampton, MA 01060

“Early in my career I was a social work intern on an in-patient maternity floor at Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge; this experience afforded many opportunities to support families confronting the unexpected loss of a pregnancy and child.  Following graduation I was a clinical social worker in a medical Family Practice and then worked in pediatric oncology at the Dana Farber Institute, both of which experiences further honed my skills in working with families and the loss of a child.  Since then I have worked in other mental health settings and maintained a private practice in which I have intermittently provided therapy to women presenting with bereavement and/or depression related to such losses."

Insurances Accepted: BCBS (PPO and indemnity only), Beacon Health Strategies (includes Commonwealth Care, BMC Healthnet, Neighborhood Health Plan, Fallon, GIC), Harvard Pilgrim, United Behavioral Health, United Healthcare. Dr. Van Scoy also provides EAP services through Wellness Corporation, and is able to see people whose insurances have out of network benefits.

Laura Seftel, ATR-BC, LMHC, nLIC

Florence, MA, 413-586-7710; Ljseftel@gmail.com (Also can be found on "Psychology Today" listing).

Infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth and other pregnancy-related losses are one of my areas of expertise. I have walked alongside many women and their families in their search for meaning, connection and healing in the aftermath of their loss.  I am the author of "Grief Unseen: Healing Pregnancy Loss Through the Arts" (London; 2006) and can offer guidance in using both verbal and nonverbal modes of expression. I have found that the family's own wisdom and creativity are the keys to healing. I also specialize in working with women through life transitions, relationship challenges, depression, anxiety and creative blocks.”

(Offering sliding scale fee - not currently taking insurance).

Peter pruyn, LMHC

Northampton, MA; See Peter’s “Psychology Today” listing

“I specialize in trauma, typically using EMDR. Healthy grieving is interwoven into a healthy trauma-recovery process. In addition, I am a student of my family's genealogy, and the systemic impact the loss of children has on the larger system made an impression on me. A friend also lost her first baby in graduate school, and I was blown-away by the diverse ways she handled it.”

Insurances accepted: BlueCross BlueShield, Partners AllWays

Evelyn resh, cnm, certified Sexuality counselor

40 Center Street, 2nd Floor, Northampton, MA; https://evelynresh.com/contact

Evelyn Resh is a nurse-midwife and sexuality counselor with over 25 years of experience in practice. She has cared for many women who have experienced pregnancy loss from early miscarriage to end of pregnancy stillbirths and is aware of the global impact such losses can have on women individually, their intimate partnerships, and their families. She wholeheartedly believes that women can recover from these losses with knowledge about the events and through compassionate physical and mental health care.

“Payment for services may be covered by insurance. Please inquire when you call to schedule an appointment. If payment by your insurance company is not possible, I offer a sliding fee scale. I also can provide a receipt with a medical code which you can submit for reimbursement through your HSA account or through your insurance for out-of-network providers.”

Lauren e harris, lmhc, pmh-c

Center for Perinatal Wellness, LLC, 116 Pleasant Street, Suite 335, Easthampton MA; 413.626.8958; http://cpw.care/

“My name is Lauren Harris and I have been a clinician in The Valley for over a decade and am the founder of Center for Perinatal Wellness, LLC based in Easthampton, MA. I was the first clinician in Massachusettsto become certified in Perinatal Mental Health. In my work, I use cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness and psychoeducation. I have extensive training in maternal mental health and have focused my work around women's health. In my personal life, I enjoy cooking, dancing and dinners out with friends. I am married and the mother of three children”.

Insurances accepted: Aetna, Allways Health Partners, Beacon Health Strategies: including BMC, Fallon, Neighborhood, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Cigna (Out of Network only), GIC, Health New England (Commercial plans), MBHP (Not accepting at this time), Optum: including United Behavioral Healthcare, Harvard Pilgrim, Tricare, Tufts (Commercial plans), Value Options. Visit http://cpw.care/insurance-and-payments/ for more information about PPO and sliding scale.


Sam (Samantha) Wilde, M.A.R. (Reverend), Spirtual counselor

413-687-7265; Hadley, MA; sam@thesamanthawilde.comhttps://thesamanthawilde.com

"I'm a spiritual mentor to mothers on all stages of the journey and gratefully work with mothers who have experienced loss in mothering as well as those who are working to reclaim the power of their fertility after loss. I've maintained an independent practice as a progressive minister for twenty years (Smith and Yale educated), offering pastoral care, spiritual counseling and support. I'm also a twenty year Kripalu yoga teacher. I am the mother of six children, one lost at five months gestation. The support structure of spiritual counseling or mentorship is an empowerment based model that takes a generous, life-affirming perspective. Different than traditional therapy, it often gets closer to the heart of the pain of loss more efficiently. Ritual and ceremony creation for loss are also part of my offering to mothers. I consider motherhood a sacred path and invite any who feel called to discover that for themselves--and often through loss--to reach out."

*Despite being listed under our “Trusted Therapists” page, this provider is not a therapist, however, still a trusted spiritual counselor!

No insurance accepted. Sliding scale offered.

Sabrina Herman, LICSW

413-357-1872; 7 Hadley Street, South Hadley MA; sabrinaherman.awake@gmail.com

“As a clinical social worker, I’ve had a strong interest in working with women and their families who have experienced late term pregnancy loss, stillbirth and postpartum trauma as well as perinatal and postpartum mood disorders. My interest began during my service (post Master’s Degree in Social Work) as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin, West Africa 1998-2000. I worked closely with midwives, social workers and nurses to support and deepen the communities understanding of maternal and infant mortality.  I worked alongside Beninese social workers to support access to healthcare,education and offer support for mothers who had lost their babies at birth or soon after.

Subsequently, my interest deepend personally, a few years after my service when I experienced postpartum anxiety, depression and a traumatic birth experience with my first child in the Netherlands. I was lucky to have experienced support from postpartum doulas. While I was experiencing my own issues, my closest friend also pregnant at the same time as me, lost her first born, Seamus, after 24 hours of his life. My heart broke for her and still Seamus’s life was not lost in vain. He continues to be a guide in my work with women.  After my second child’s birth I decided to personally and professionally support women who have experienced loss and trauma.

I have a private practice in South Hadley and have been working as a social worker for 24 years. I’ve been a co-facilitator of ICAN-International Cesarean Awareness Network. I’ve also trained with PSI-Perinatal Support International and am a member of PSI as a local provider for mental health services. In addition, I have trained with the founders of MotherWoman as a group leader through their GPS-Group Peer Support model. I am trained in Progressive Counting-a trauma informed method to help with traumatic memory consolidation. I include somatics and mindfulness practice in my work.  I’ve found it to be an incredibly rewarding experiences to have the opportunity to witness the remarkable healing despite loss and trauma. I believe in healing no matter the outcomes. I feel honored and grateful to have the opportunities to hold the space, in love and compassion for my sisters who need their stories to be heard through not only our ears but through active and loving hearts.”

Insurances Accepted: Aetna, Beacon, BlueCross and BlueShield, Harvard Pilgrim, Tufts, UBH, Out of Network

Worcester County

Lori Churchill, Licsw

978-928-1164; 1 Main Street, Hubbardston, MA 01452; lchurchill@mac.com

“My experience with grief work is that I’ve always had grief cases (over my 30 yrs experience, the majority in private practice) and I moved toward a grief focused practice about 5 years ago.  I have worked with parents of infant loss/stillbirth/miscarriage, and am currently co-leading the birth loss support group which had previously been run at Heywood.

I have worked with sudden, unexpected and traumatic losses of all ages.  I work with individuals (prefer older than 12 and I will work with any age otherwise), couples, families and have several groups in my practice including two groups for widows (one young widows, the other older widows) and I have done many groups with teens. I volunteer with Comfort Zone Camps, free camps for kids who have lost parents and siblings. I just returned from the NAGC Symposium in Texas. One of the sessions was about sibling loss.  I have seen this in my practice and have learned about it, I would love to do more work in this area.

My practice is holistic, so in cases with grief I will explore lifestyle issues like sleeping, eating and exercise to help people find their footing.”

Insurances Accepted: I charge $100/hour and don’t work with insurance companies, but offer sliding scale and haven’t had to turn anyone away.

Alexis Johnstone

#4 Springfield St., Three Rivers, MA and Auburn, MA. *Also offers Telehealth. ajohnstonelmhc@gmail.com

“What special training you may have, or why you're interested in working with bereaved parents: I am trained as an expressive arts therapist. I have many years of training and experience in trauma therapy, combined with my current ongoing training towards becoming a certified perinatal mental health specialist through Postpartum Support International. I have attended and presented at PSI conferences. In transitioning my practice to support women with perinatal mood disorders many have come in after experiencing loss, or in the course of our treatment have experienced loss. I have found that my previous training in traumatic grief combined with my ongoing training in the perinatal and postpartum period has allowed me to successfully support women with pregnancy, infant, and child loss.”

Insurances accepted: BlueCross BlueShield