About Us

We help individuals and groups learn how to recognize and reconcile grief in order to live healthy and meaningful lives.

Grief

Grief is the natural and inevitable outcome of losing someone or something we care about. Often associated with the death of a loved one, grief may also be experienced by people who suffer a loss of health, ability, meaningful relationship, purpose, or community. Left unreconciled, grief can interfere with everyday living and functioning. Lack of awareness and lack of skill may result in individuals developing maladaptive and/or unhealthy behaviours (ineffective decision-making and planning, substance abuse, high-risk behaviours) increasing the risks for profound and long lasting negative effects (Hatanaka, 2015).

Reconciliation

Reconciliation means restoring harmony.

Grief Reconciliation International™ has developed tools and services to help people:

  • Learn to live with the challenging and often conflicting emotions brought on by grief
  • Make a choice to search for truth, even if that truth is difficult to accept
  • Work through the challenges of learning new skills in order to restore harmony to one’s physical, psychological, spiritual and social well-being
  • Live and pursue a life of meaning.

Grief Reconciliation International™ is a not for profit social enterprise dedicated to advancing knowledge and best practice in the emerging field of reconciliation through education, training, research and funding. 100% of the income from training fees, royalties and donations is re-invested in the organization to support its mission.

Through extensive academic research and thousands of hours working directly with individuals we have developed an innovative and accessible, holistic approach to helping individuals and groups identify and work through the complex challenges of grief and trauma.

Our work is broad, interfaith, cross cultural and inter-disciplinary in nature.

Our Focus

Since 2008, Grief Reconciliation International™ has sought to establish a proactive way to support those who have experienced losses, injuries and or secondary trauma through:

  • Work– military personnel, veterans, first responders, ER staff, chaplains, crisis workers and their families
  • Personal/family circumstances – ill health, divorce, abuse, adoption
  • Community/geo-political situations– refugees, Indigenous People

Our Story

From our founder:  In the early years of my career, I trained in a large hospital for the armed forces. That is where I was introduced to the reality of those who serve. The stories I heard tested me deeply and spurred my conviction to engage with those who choose the world of law enforcement, first response, protection, fire and military services. There is a force, a knowledge, a power that comes from their level of commitment that has enriched me both personally and professionally.

Over the years I have become increasingly concerned about the well being of those who choose to deal with the harsh realities of our world. While there has been increased awareness that grief and trauma are part of their everyday life, reconciliation skills have yet to be embedded in the training practices of organizations whose members are at high risk of experiencing grief and trauma.

This leaves many who serve, on their own self-guided tour through adversity – hoping that things will be ok. But in the words of a senior military officer I worked with early in my career: “Hope is not a strategy”.  The military sequence for success – vision, mission, strategy, and tactics – is precisely what is required to prepare for better outcomes when faced with adversity.

Those who learn to develop a comprehensive and personalized strategy for grief and trauma do better in the face of adversity.

Dr. Jan Hatanaka

Jan Hatanaka is a health promotion professional with over 30 years of experience in mental health and public health. Her pragmatic approach to grief reconciliation is informed by: her personal experience; her extensive academic research; and her in-depth discussions with hundreds of individuals willing to recount their personal stories. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, University of Ottawa; a Masters in Adult Educational and Counselling Psychology, University of Toronto and a PhD. in Theology (Moral Injury), University of Wales.

She is the founder and lead of The Grief Reconciliation Initiative, York University.

Contact Us

Please feel free to contact us for more information on Grief Reconciliation™ and how we can help.

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