I’m an author and a grief therapist.

For over ten years I’ve been supporting people through the loss of a loved one. My mission is to broaden the conversation about grief and loss and help our culture reach a healthier understanding of death.

I come to this work from a personal place. By the time I was 25, I lost my mother and father to cancer. I was their only child and my adolescence was shaped by their diagnoses, treatments, and eventual deaths. After they were gone I was left feeling very alone in the world, consumed with anxiety and depression.

All these years later I now understand that what I experienced was normal. My losses devastated me, but they also helped to shape me. And over time they led me to dedicate my life’s work to understanding loss and grief in an effort to help others.

The resilience and insight I gained through this exploration have carried me through every moment of my life—from the heartbreaking and challenging to the exhilarating and mundane.

After working with hundreds of people, I now know that grief and loss are an inextricable part of the human experience. I know that when met with compassion and understanding, we can all find peace on the other side of loss. And that when the grief process is honored, the experience can be transformative and infuse our lives with more meaning than we ever imagined.

You do not need to suffer alone. If you are anxious, depressed, and feeling lost, you are in the right place. I understand the place you are in and I have many tools and resources to offer.

I created my online program: A Safe Place to Grieve so that I could reach more people and support them from anywhere, anytime.

Learn more here.

The approach I use with my clients and in my online program are illustrated in my Five Branches of Grief Healing:

  • Support: I consider it an honor to create a space with which I can shoulder some of your burden and shed light on how you can best cope with the experience, and also heal from it.
  • Growth: I do not expect you to ever “get over” your lost loved ones, but I do believe that you can transform your life by embracing the ways in which grief can illuminate who you are.
  • Education & Perspective: Grieving must be done with compassion and patience. The process requests that we come to understand the broader picture of grief including major life changes and physical symptoms.
  • Tools & Techniques: I use many different techniques and tools to help you through the grief process, including cognitive-behavioral work, mindfulness, meditation, and recommendations for additional therapies such as EMDR.
  • Compassion: I believe we must explore and accept our faults, our past mistakes, and our deepest fears, in order to do the work required to heal from loss.

Because writing has always been the primary way I process life I’ve written three books about grief and loss:

I’m honored that The Rules of Inheritance has been published in 18 countries and is currently being adapted for film.

I live in Santa Monica with my family and I love working with people as they move through grief and reach healthier understandings of death and life, both through individual grief coaching sessions, workshops, retreats, and my online program.

Join me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and read my official bio below.

Claire Bidwell Smith is the author of three books of nonfiction: The Rules of Inheritance (Penguin, 2012), After This: When Life Is Over Where Do We Go? (Penguin, 2015) and Anxiety: The Missing Stage of Grief (Da Capo, 2018).

The Rules of Inheritance, a coming-of-age memoir about grief, was a Books for a Better Life Nominee, a Barnes & Noble Discover pick, has been published in 18 countries, and is currently being adapted for film. After This chronicles Claire’s journey searching for meaning as she explores various beliefs about the afterlife.

Claire has written for The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Salon.com, Slate, Chicago Public Radio, The Guardian, Psychology Today, Yoga Journal, and BlackBook Magazine.

Claire has a bachelor’s degree from The New School University and a master’s degree from Antioch University. She is a licensed therapist in the state of Illinois (LCPC) and works with people around the world via her online programs, and doing in-person, phone and Skype grief coaching sessions.

Since the publication of her books Claire has made many media appearances on both television and radio, gone on to speak and lecture at numerous events, and regularly leads dozens of workshops and retreats on both writing and grief.

Claire is also very involved in the literary community, speaking on panels every year at conferences like AWP, the LA Times Festival of Books, Bindercon and BlogHer. She has a vibrant social media life and large community of professional support.

Claire deeply loves her work and seeks to further the conversation about death in order to help our culture reach a healthier understanding of how to move through grief.

State of Illinois Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor #180007946