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About Carol Kearns

Carol Kearns

Carol Kearns first received acclaim as a pioneering psychologist in the 1980s when she introduced a new concept called "grief therapy" to such national corporations as United Airlines, Nordstrom, PG&E, Chevron, Levi Strauss, Bank of America, Pacific Bell, First Nationwide Bank and America West Airlines.

Having assisted the legendary Swiss psychiatrist, Elisabeth-Kubler Ross at Elisabeth's center for grief and dying, Shanti Nilaya, Carol returned to college and then to graduate school and earned her Ph.D. in psychology in 1988. Her qualitative dissertation, Work as a Refuge: The Sudden Death of a Child, Bereavement and the Organization, was published by the PSP and remains one of the seminal studies in this field.

Carol's career as a psychotherapist thrived in the early '90s when she treated every kind of tragic loss - from bereaved parents whose children died from an unimaginable range of causes (SIDS, shootings, rapes, injuries, assaults, drunk driving, suicide, heart failure, domestic violence, kidnappings, stabbings, drugs) to survivors of disasters such as airplane crashes, earthquakes, shootings, etc.

With violence increasing in the '90s, Carol appeared regularly on television to discuss the psychological impact of headline crimes such as the Polly Klass murder, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Columbine school shooting and other tragedies. After the 9/11 attacks, she was asked to explain the role of grief in restoring American identity as well.

Carol is the mother of Michel Kearns, M.D., a former Naval flight surgeon and currently an anesthesiologist in the Navy. Her daughter Kristen was killed in 1976 at age 7 when she was swept out to sea by a rogue wave on the Oregon coast. Her memoir, Sugar Cookies and a Nightmare, was published by Melgar Press in 2009.

Carol has had a range of professions from x-ray technician to clinical psychologist. Although she retired from active practice in 2004, Carol continues to volunteer for nonprofit organizations and writes a column for bereaved families in the local newsletter of The Compassionate Friends.