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Joanne Cacciatore

Joanne Cacciatore

Associate Professor, School of Social Work, Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions


School of Social Work
Arizona State University
411 N Central Ave #800
Phoenix, AZ 85006-3920


  • Senior Sustainability Scholar, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability
  • Associate Professor, School of Social Work, Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions


I am a reasonably happy, contemplative person with plenty of quirks who cries every day at both the beauty and the pain in the world. My daily mindfulness practice is what helps me work in a very challenging field and benefits "I, Thou, and We." We includes all beings with whom we share this wounded planet.

Since 1996, I have worked with and counseled those affected by traumatic death, particularly the death of a baby or child at any age and from any cause. I use non-traditional, mindfulness-based approaches such as compassion focused psychoeducation, equine assisted trauma work, bibliotherapy, ecotherapy, meditation, yoga, and shinrin-yoku.

I spend much of my time as a associate professor at Arizona State University and the founder of the MISS Foundation, an international nonprofit organization with 75 chapters around the world aiding parents whose children have died or are dying. I began the Kindness Project in 1997 as a way to help many grieving parents honor their beloved children who have died. I am also an ordained Zen priest.

My research has been published in peer reviewed journals such as The Lancet, Death Studies, Omega Journal of Death and Dying, Midwifery, British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Social Work Education, Journal of Mental Health Counseling, Seminars in Fetal and Neonatal Medicine, International Journal of Nursing, Birth, Social Work, and Families in Society. I received my doctorate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

I am also a medical consultant having trained at grand rounds and various hospitals and teaching universities around the world on the power of compassion. I was humbled to receive the prestigious Hon Kachina Award, the Sr Teresa Compassionate Care Award, the Empathic Therapist of the Year Award, Arizona Foothills Arizona Women Who Move the Valley Award, and the Parents of Murdered Children Father Ken Czillinger Award. I am a Diplomate of the American Academy of Psychotherapy and an advocate of "green" mental health to care for those suffering traumatic grief. In addition, I spearhead the graduate Certificate of Trauma and Bereavement at ASU with a usual cohort of 12-15 students. 

On a personal note, I am a contemporary ascetic and pacifist vegan (meat/fish free since 1972). I hike barefoot up mountain trails regularly. I surf when I can get to an ocean, and I love rock climbing. I don't kill anything, even bugs. I am a voracious reader. I love pomegranates and sunshine. I rescue too many animals for the amount of space in which I live. I love cloud watching, star gazing, and my toes in the sand.

My book, Bearing the Unbearable, was just published by Wisdom Publication and is reached number one on Amazon in the summer of 2017.


  • PhD, Child, Youth, and Family, University of Nebraska, 2007
  • MSW, College of Human Services, Arizona State University, 2004
  • BA, Interdisciplinary Sciences, Arizona State University, 2001


Journal Articles


Cacciatore, J., C. Blood and S. Kurker. 2018. From "silent birth" to voices heard: Volunteering, meaning, and posttraumatic growth after stillbirth. Illness, Crisis & Loss 26(1):23-39. DOI: 10.1177/1054137317740799. (link )


Cacciatore, J. 2017. ‘She used his name’: Provider trait mindfulness in perinatal death counselling. Studies in Psychology 38(3):639-666. DOI: 10.1080/02109395.2017.1338550. (link )

Cacciatore, J., K. Thieleman, A. S. Lieber, C. Blood and R. Goldman. 2017. The long road to farewell: The needs of families with dying children. Journal of Death and Dying DOI: 10.1177/0030222817697418. (link )

Gorman, R. and J. Cacciatore. 2017. Cultivating our humanity: A systematic review of care farming & traumatic grief. Health & Place 47(Sep):12-21. DOI: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2017.06.006. (link )

Huberty, J. L., J. Matthews, J. Leiferman, J. Cacciatore and K. J. Gold. 2017. A study protocol of a three-group randomized feasibility trial of an online yoga intervention for mothers after stillbirth (The Mindful Health Study). Pilot and Feasibility Studies 4:Art 12. DOI: 10.1186/s40814-017-0162-7. (link )

Huberty, J. L., J. Matthews, J. Leiferman, J. Hermer and J. Cacciatore. 2017. When a baby dies: A systematic review of experimental interventions for women after stillbirth. Reproductive Sciences 24(7):967-975. DOI: 10.1177/1933719116670518. (link )

Murphy, S. and J. Cacciatore. 2017. The psychological, social, and economic impact of stillbirth on families. Seminars in Fetal and Neonatal Medicine 22(3):129-134. DOI: 10.1016/j.siny.2017.02.002. (link )

Wonch Hill, P., J. Cacciatore, K. M. Shreffler and K. M. Pritchard. 2017. The loss of self: The effect of miscarriage, stillbirth, and child death on maternal self-esteem. Death Studies 41(4):226-235. DOI: 10.1080/07481187.2016.1261204. (link )


Burden, C., S. Bradley, C. Storey, A. Ellis, A. E. Heazell, S. Downe, J. Cacciatore and D. Siassakos. 2016. From grief, guilt pain and stigma to hope and pride – a systematic review and meta-analysis of mixed-method research of the psychosocial impact of stillbirth. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 16(Art 9):. DOI: 10.1186/s12884-016-0800-8. (link )

Cacciatore, J., M. Killian and M. Harper. 2016. Adverse outcomes in bereaved mothers: The importance of household income and education. SSM - Population Health 2(Dec):117-122. DOI: 10.1016/j.ssmph.2016.02.009. (link )

Flenady, V., A. M. Wojcieszek, P. Middleton, D. Ellwood, J. Jaap Erwich, M. Coory, T. Y. Khong, R. M. Silver, G. C. Smith, F. M. Boyle, J. E. Lawn, H. Blencowe, S. Hopkins Leisher, M. M. Gross, D. Horey, L. Farrales, F. Bloomfield, L. McCowan, S. J. Brown, K. S. Joseph, J. Zeitlin, H. E. Reinebrant, C. Ravaldi, A. Vannacci, J. Cassidy, P. Cassidy, C. Farquhar, E. Wallace, D. Siassakos, A. E. Heazell, C. Storey, L. Sadler, S. Petersen, J. F. Freen, R. L. Goldenberg, J. Cacciatore, . Lancet Ending Preventable Stillbirths Study Group and . Lancet Stillbirths in High-Income Countries Invest. 2016. Stillbirths: Recall to action in high-income countries. The Lancet 387(10019):691-702. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)01020-X. (link )

Heazell, A. E., D. Siassakos, H. Blencowe, C. Burden, Z. A. Bhutta, J. Cacciatore, N. Dang, V. Flenady, K. J. Gold, O. K. Mensah, J. Millum, D. Nuzum, K. O'Donoghue, M. Redshaw, A. Rizvi, T. Roberts, T. Saraki, C. Storey, A. M. Wojcieszek and S. Downe. 2016. Stillbirth: Economic and psychosocial consequences. The Lancet 387(10018):604-616. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)00836-3. (link )


Cacciatore, J., K. Thieleman, M. Killian and K. Tavasolli. 2015. Braving human suffering: Death education and its relationship to empathy and mindfulness. Social Work Education 34(1):91-109. DOI: 10.1080/02615479.2014.940890. (link )

Duncan, C. and J. Cacciatore. 2015. A systematic review of the peer-reviewed literature on self-blame, guilt, and shame. OMEGA - Journal of Death and Dying 71(4):312-342. DOI: 10.1177/0030222815572604. (link )


Blood, C. and J. Cacciatore. 2014. Best practice in bereavement photography after perinatal death: Qualitative analysis with 104 parents. BMC Psychology 2:Art. 15. DOI: 10.1186/2050-7283-2-15. (link )

Blood, C. and J. Cacciatore. 2014. Parental grief and memento mori photography: Narrative, meaning, culture, and context. Death Studies 38(4):224-233. DOI: 10.1080/07481187.2013.788584. (link )

Cacciatore, J., J. R. Lacasse, C. A. Lietz and J. McPherson. 2014. A parent's tears: Primary results from the traumatic experiences and resiliency study. Journal of Death and Dying 68(3):183-205. DOI: 10.2190/OM.68.3.a. (link )

Cacciatore, J. and K. Thieleman. 2014. We rise out of the cradle into the grave: An ethnographic exploration of ritual, mourning, and death on a Hutterite colony. OMEGA - Journal of Death and Dying 69(4):357-379. DOI: 10.2190/OM.69.4.b. (link )

Cacciatore, J., K. Thieleman, J. Osborn and K. Orlowski. 2014. Of the soul and suffering: Mindfulness-based interventions and bereavement. Clinical Social Work Journal 42(3):269-281. DOI: 10.1007/s10615-013-0465-y. (link )

Flenady, V., F. M. Boyle, L. Koopmans, T. Wilson, W. Stones and J. Cacciatore. 2014. Commentary: Meeting the needs of parents after a stillbirth or neonatal death. BJOG 121(Suppl. 4):137-140. DOI: 10.1111/1471-0528.13009. (link )

Fox, M., J. Cacciatore and J. R. Lacasse. 2014. Child death in the United States: Productivity and the economic burden of parental grief. Death Studies 38(9):597-602. DOI: 10.1080/07481187.2013.820230. (link )

Huberty, J. L., J. Leiferman, K. J. Gold, L. Rowedder, J. Cacciatore and D. Bonds McClain. 2014. Physical activity and depressive symptoms after stiillbirth: Informing future interventions. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 14:Art 391. DOI: 10.1186/s12884-014-0391-1. (link )

Lacasse, J. R. and J. Cacciatore. 2014. Prescribing of psychiatric medication to bereaved parents following perinatal/neonatal death: An observational study. Death Studies 38(9):589-596. DOI: 10.1080/07481187.2013.820229. (link )

Thieleman, K. and J. Cacciatore. 2014. When a child dies: A critical analysis of grief-related controversies in the DSM-5. Research on Social Work Practice 24(1):114-122. DOI: 10.1177/1049731512474695. (link )

Thieleman, K. and J. Cacciatore. 2014. Witness to suffering: Mindfulness and compassion fatigue amongst traumatic bereavement volunteers and professionals. Social Work 59(1):34-41. DOI: 10.1093/sw/swt044. (link )

Thieleman, K., J. Cacciatore and P. Wonch Hill. 2014. Traumatic bereavement and mindfulness: A preliminary study of mental health outcomes using the ATTEND Model. Clinical Social Work Journal 42(3):260-268. DOI: 10.1007/s10615-014-0491-4. (link )

Umphrey, L. R. and J. Cacciatore. 2014. Love and death: Relational methaphors following the death of a child. Journal of Relationships Research 5:e4. DOI: 10.1017/jrr.2014.4. (link )


Cacciatore, J. 2013. Psychological effects of stillbirth. Seminars in Fetal and Neonatal Medicine 18(2):76-82. DOI: 10.1016/j.siny.2012.09.001. (link )

Cacciatore, J., K. Erlandsson and I. Rådestad. 2013. Fatherhood and suffering: A qualitative exploration of Swedish men's experiences of care after the death of a baby. International Journal of Nursing 50(5):684-670. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2012.10.014. (link )

Cacciatore, J., J. Frøen and M. Killian. 2013. Condemning self, condemning other: Blame and mental health in women suffering stillbirth. Journal of Mental Health Counseling 35(4):342-359. DOI: 10.17744/mehc.35.4.15427g822442h11m. (link )

Erlandsson, K., J. Warland, J. Cacciatore and I. Rådestad. 2013. Seeing and holding a stillborn baby: Mothers' feelings in relation to how their babies were presented to them after birth—Findings from an online questionnaire. Midwifery 29(3):246-250. DOI: 10.1016/j.midw.2012.01.007. (link )

Koopmans, L., T. Wilson, J. Cacciatore and V. Flenady. 2013. Support for mothers, fathers, and families after perinatal death. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 6:CD0004542. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000452.pub3. (link )

Thieleman, K. and J. Cacciatore. 2013. The DSM-5 and the bereavement exclusion: A call for critical evaluation. Social Work 58(3):277-280. DOI: 10.1093/sw/swt021. (link )


Cacciatore, J. and M. Flint. 2012. ATTEND: Toward a mindfulness-based bereavement care model. Death Studies 36(1):61-82. DOI: 10.1080/07481187.2011.591275. (link )

Cacciatore, J. and M. Flint. 2012. Mediating grief: Postmortem ritualization after child death. Journal of Loss and Trauma 17(2):158-172. DOI: 10.1080/15325024.2011.595299. (link )

Cacciatore, J. and R. Ong. 2012. Through the touch of God: Child death and spiritual sustenance in a Hutterian colony. OMEGA - Journal of Death and Dying 64(3):185-202. DOI: 10.2190/OM.64.3.a. (link )

Cacciatore, J. and K. Thieleman. 2012. Pharmacological treatment following traumatic bereavement: A case series. Journal of Loss and Trauma 17(6):557-579. DOI: 10.1080/15325024.2012.688699. (link )

Carlson, B. E., J. Cacciatore and B. Klimek. 2012. A risk and resilience perspective on unaccompanied refugee minors. Social Work 57(3):259-269. DOI: 10.1093/sw/sws003. (link )

Nordlund, E., A. Börjesson, J. Cacciatore, C. Pappas, I. Randers and I. Rådestad. 2012. When a baby dies: Motherhood, psychosocial care and negative affect. British Journal of Midwifery 20(11):780-784. (link )

Pullen, S., M. Golden and J. Cacciatore. 2012. "I'll never forget those cold words as long as i live": Parent perceptions of death notification for stillbirth. Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life & Palliative Care 8(4):339-355. DOI: 10.1080/15524256.2012.732022. (link )

Shreffler, K. M., P. Wonch Hill and J. Cacciatore. 2012. Exploring the increased odds of divorce following miscarriaage or stillbirth. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage 53(2):91-107. DOI: 10.1080/10502556.2012.651963. (link )


Cacciatore, J., B. Carlson, E. Michaelis and B. Klimek. 2011. Crisis intervention by social workers in fire departments: An innovative role for social workers. Social Work 56(1):81-88. DOI: 10.1093/sw/56.1.81. (link )

Cacciatore, J., B. Carlson, E. Michaelis, B. Klimek and S. Steffan. 2011. Crisis intervention by social workers in fire departments: An innovative role for social workesr. Social Work 56(1):81-88. DOI: 10.1093/sw/56.1.81. (link )

Cacciatore, J. and Z. Raffo. 2011. An exploration of lesbian material bereavement. Social Work 56(2):169-177. DOI: 10.1093/sw/56.2.169. (link )

Cacciatore, J. and Z. Raffo. 2011. An exploration of lesbian maternal bereavement. Social Work 56(2):169-177. DOI: 10.1093/sw/56.2.169. (link )

Froen, J. F., J. Cacciatore, R. C. Fretts and V. Flenady. 2011. Response: No need to worry about sleeping position in pregnancy - quite yet. British Medical Journal 342:d3403. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.d3403. (link )

Froen, J. F., J. Cacciatore, E. M. McClure, O. Kuti, A. H. Jokhio, M. Islam and J. Shiffman. 2011. Stillbirths: Why they matter. The Lancet 377(9774):1353-1366. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(10)62232-5. (link )

Lietz, C. A., J. R. Lacasse and J. Cacciatore. 2011. Social support in family reunification: A qualitative study. Journal of Family Social Work 14(1):3-20. DOI: 10.1080/10522158.2011.531454. (link )

Umphrey, L. R. and J. Cacciatore. 2011. Coping with the ultimate deprivation: Narrative themes in a parental bereavement support group. OMEGA - Journal of Death and Dying 63(2):141-160. DOI: 10.2190/OM.63.2.c. (link )


Cacciatore, J. 2010. Stillbirth: Patient-centered psychosocial care. Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology 53(3):691-699. DOI: 10.1097/GRF.0b013e3181eba1c6. (link )

Cacciatore, J. 2010. The unique experiences of women and their families after the death of a baby. Social Work in Health Care 49(2):134-148. DOI: 10.1080/00981380903158078. (link )


Cacciatore, J. 2009. Appropriate bereavement practive after the death of a Native American child. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services 90(1):46-50. DOI: 10.1606/1044-3894.3844. (link )

Cacciatore, J. 2009. Commentary: The silent birth: A feminist perspective. Social Work 54(1):91-95. DOI: 10.1093/sw/54.1.9. (link )

Cacciatore, J. 2009. The silent birth: A feminist perspective. Social Work 54(1):91-95. DOI: 10.1093/sw/54.1.91. (link )

Cacciatore, J., S. Schnebly and J. F. Froen. 2009. The effects of social support on maternal anxiety and depression after stillbirth. Health and Social Care in the Community 17(2):167-176. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2524.2008.00814.x. (link )


Barr, P. and J. Cacciatore. 2008. Personal fear of death and grief in bereaved mothers. Death Studies 32(5):445-460. DOI: 10.1080/07481180801974752. (link )

Barr, P. and J. Cacciatore. 2008. Problematic emotions and maternal grief. OMEGA - Journal of Death and Dying 56(4):331-348. DOI: 10.2190/OM.56.4.b. (link )

Cacciatore, J. and S. Bushfield. 2008. Stillbirth: A sociopolitical issue. Affilia 23(4):378-387. DOI: 10.1177/0886109908323972. (link )

Cacciatore, J., J. DeFrain and K. L. Jones. 2008. When a baby dies: Ambiguity and stillbirth. Marriage & Family Review 44(4):439-454. DOI: 10.1080/01494920802454017. (link )

Cacciatore, J., J. DeFrain, K. L. Jones and H. Jones. 2008. Stillbirth and the couple: A gender-based exploration. Journal of Family Social Work 11(4):351-372. DOI: 10.1080/10522150802451667. (link )

Cacciatore, J., I. Rådestad and J. F. Froen. 2008. Effects of contact with stillborn babies on maternal anxiety and depression. Birth Issues in Perinatal Care 35(4):313-320. DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-536X.2008.00258.x. (link )


Cacciatore, J. 2007. Effects of support groups on post traumatic stress responses in women experiencing stillbirth. OMEGA - Journal of Death and Dying 55(1):71-90. DOI: 10.2190/M447-1X11-6566-8042. (link )

Cacciatore, J. and S. Bushfield. 2007. Stillbirth: The mother's experience and implications for improving care. Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life & Palliative Care 3(3):59-79. DOI: 10.1300/J457v03n03_06. (link )



Cacciatore, J. 2017. Bearing the Unbearable: Love, Loss, and the Heartbreaking Pain of Grief. Wisdom Publications. Somerville, MA. ISBN: 978-1614292968.


Cacciatore, J. and J. DeFrain eds. 2015. The World of Bereavement: Cultural Perspectives on Death in Families. Springer International Switzerland. ISBN: 978-3319139449.


Cacciatore, J. 2014. Selah: An Invitation Toward Fully Inhabited Grief. MISS Foundation. Austin, TX.

Book Chapters


Cacciatore, J. 2016. When the unthinkable happens: A mindfulness approach to prenatal and pediatric death. Pp. 97-110 In: Black, B. P., P. M. Wright and R. Limbo eds., Perinatal and Pediatric Bereavement: In Nursing and Other Health Professionals. Springer Publishing Company. New York, NY. ISBN: 978-0826129260.

Cacciatore, J. and J. B. Rubin. 2016. Chapter 12: The last of human desire: Grief, death, and mindfulness. Pp. 247-257 In: Shonin, E., W. van Gordon and M. Griffiths eds., Springer International Publishing. ISBN: 978-3-319-22254-7.

Neimeyer, R. A. and J. Cacciatore. 2016. Toward a development theory of grief. Pp. 3-13 In: Neimeyer, R. A. ed., Techniques of Grief Therapy: Assessment and Intervention. Routledge. New York, NY. ISBN: 978-1138905931.


Cacciatore, J. 2014. Untitled. Pp. 24-26 In: Cole, S. P. and C. Bayly eds., To Linger on Hot Coals: Collected Poetic Works from grieving Women Writers. Strategic Book Publishing & Rights Agency, LLC. ISBN: 978-1628575651.


Cacciatore, J. 2012. Selah: A mindfuless guide through grief. Pp. 16-19 In: Neimeyer, R. A. ed., Techniques of Grief Therapy: Creative Practices for Counseling the Bereaved. Routledge. New York, NY. ISBN: 978-0415807258.

Cacciatore, J. 2012. The "Barefoot Walkabout". Pp. 344-346 In: Neimeyer, R. A. ed., Techniques of Grief Therapy: Creative Practices for Counseling the Bereaved. Routledge. New York, NY. ISBN: 978-0415807258.

Cacciatore, J. 2012. The Kindness Project. Pp. 329-331 In: Neimeyer, R. A. ed., Techniques of Grief Therapy: Creative Practices for Counseling the Bereaved. Routledge. New York, NY. ISBN: 978-0415807258.


Cacciatore, J. 2011. Psychosocial care. Pp. 203-229 In: Spong, C. Y. ed., Stillbirth: Prediction, Prevention and Management. Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Oxford, UK. ISBN: 978-1444337068.


Cacciatore, J. 2010. The traumatic contradiction: When birth and death collide. Pp. 19-28 In: Atlas, J. C. ed., They Were Still Born: Personal Stories About Stillbirth. Rowman & Littlefield Publishes, Inc.. Lanham, MA. ISBN: 978-1442204126.


DeFrain, J., J. Cacciatore and A. DeFrain. 2004. Death. Pp. 287-312 In: Horowitz, M. C. ed., New Dictionary of the History of Ideas. Vol 6 vols.. Charles Scribners & Sons. ISBN: 978-0684313771.