Mercy Works

Transformative Grief Counseling

Where people in need can explore their unresolved life issues, receive validation, create healthy options for change, find healing, and discover the possibilities of transformation

SALLY A. SMOLEN is a dedicated mental health professional who brings an extensive background in the healing profession that includes nursing, psychology, music and spirituality. Sally enjoys collaborating with individuals, families, groups, health care providers, and pastoral ministers of varied faith affiliations. She is committed to providing care to those with limited resources and works with a sliding fee scale when necessary. Her special interests, education and experience focus on loss and grief issues occurring across the life span with positive and negative moments.

Life Moments

In the midst of a major change or loss, we often feel lost. Grief isn’t just about death.

Learning challenges, graduation, discerning life choices, marriage, divorce, infertility, pregnancy, childbirth, perinatal loss, release for adoption, empty nest, job search, job loss, assisted living, retirement


Individual and gender identity, intimacy and boundaries, mid-life decisions, aging and loss of independence, generativity


Parents, siblings, spouses, partners, children, friends, colleagues; self-disclosure, conflicts, forgiveness, inter-generational dialogue


Self care needs and health promotion; acute, life-threatening, chronic illness; hospitalization; complications of surgery, rehabilitation, care of aging parents and relatives, struggles with emotional, intellectual, physical, spiritual and behavioral situations

Sally incorporates active and receptive methods of the expressive arts and spiritual forms in the process of healing, including music, art, poetry, literature, cinema, prayer, imagery, dreams and others. She is skilled in therapy with adults, couples, families and small groups; in seminar planning and facilitation; in guiding a variety of support groups; and in consultation.

What is Transformational Grief

John M Schneider, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Michigan State University Schools of Medicine, created this existential theory.

Dr. Schneider believed grieving people could hope for more than acceptance of their losses.

This inspired him to develop an approach that explores the varied dimensions of grief and taps the potential of transformation.

The theory of Transformative Grief sees all types of loss, death-related and non-death-related, through the lensĀ of discovery and invites a grieving person to enter the process by asking: what is lost? what is left? what is possible?