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An Interview with Kelly Daugherty

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Kelly Daugherty, a seasoned social worker with over two decades in the clinical field, is a Fellow in Thanatology: the study of death, dying, and bereavement. Anchored in Malta, NY, she owns Greater Life Grief Counseling and the Center for Informed Grief, LLC. Her commitment to the domain of grief stems from her personal journey, which began with her mother’s death from breast cancer during her teenage years. This significant loss led Kelly to volunteer with a Hospice Children’s Bereavement program and set the foundation for her career. Every day, Kelly finds purpose in her grief by helping both individuals navigate the complexities of grief and professionals aiming to understand it better.

Determined to revolutionize how grief support is provided, Kelly offers a wealth of tools and insights to those grappling with the death of loved ones and to the professionals dedicated to helping them. The Center for Informed Grief aims to create a more grief-informed society by benefiting individuals, families, schools, and broader communities. Through comprehensive training for educators and therapists, consultation with schools, online courses, and active social media communities, Kelly ensures that nobody faces their grief journey in solitude.

Kelly also co-owns Healing Strides, LLC, which blends emotional and physical well-being, culminating in a unique 7-week program that pairs therapeutic grief groups with 5K race training for women. The program aims to foster improved coping, emotional well-being, and physical fitness, leading to a richer sense of personal growth and meaning-making.

Outside of her professional life, Kelly cherishes time spent with her husband, Kevin Daugherty, and her seven nieces and nephews. She also enjoys DIY art projects, walking, and running, and loves visits to Zoos, the beach, and Disney World.

Connect with Kelly here!

Who/what made you want to write?

My motivation to write stemmed from the daily encounters with grieving individuals who often felt isolated, hopeless, and lacking support. Witnessing their struggles fueled my desire to create a book that could alleviate these emotions and offer practical tools and stories of resilience.

What inspired you to start writing this book?

Having worked as a grief counselor for more than two decades, I felt compelled to write a book aimed at helping grieving individuals. My goal was to assemble a diverse group of authors, each with unique experiences of loss, ensuring that every reader could find someone they could relate to within its pages. My vision for this book was to offer practical tools that would not only assist readers but also help them feel less alone on their grief journey.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

Initially, I brainstormed several ideas for the book’s title. However, when I met with the publisher, she encouraged me to narrow my focus to three words that truly resonated with me in terms of supporting grieving individuals. Among these, “connection” stood out as a crucial component of the grief process and we continued to build the title from there. It was actually a pretty quick process and had the name in less than 10 minutes!

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

Previously, I owned a shaving soap business. I was seeking an outlet and hobby separate from my therapy practice, so I began making soap and started selling it. Over the course of six years, my husband and I operated K Shave Worx before ultimately retiring from the soap-making business. Along the way, we forged meaningful friendships and enjoyed memorable experiences in the shaving world community.

What books did you read (for research or comfort) throughout your writing process?

As a grief counselor I am constantly reading books on grief and loss but some of my favorite authors on this topic are Alan Wolfelt, Dr. Lucy Hone, Mary-Frances O’Connor, and What’s Your Grief (Eleanor Haley MS and Litsa Williams MA LCSW-C).

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

Grief is a universal process and is the feelings associated with a loss extending beyond death to various life transitions and experiences. I wanted to create a book that whoever read it could relate to at least one of the authors, fostering a sense of connection and understanding.

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