Welcome to part one of our interview with Christina Zampitella, Psy.D., FT. Dr. Zampitella is a full-time professor and also performs private practice at the Integrative Psychology Group. As part of her dissertation, she studied creating natural rituals with adults who have lost a sibling.
Debra: Christina, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me. Can you tell me how you got interested in psychology and about your educational experiences?
Christina Zampitella: Thank you, Debra. I’m glad to be able to reach out to your readers. I originally went to the University of Delaware to study biology. That didn’t last long, though. I discovered I was far more interested in human nature, so I changed my major to psychology.
After that, I worked for a while and then got my master’s degree in counseling psychology at Immaculata. While I was getting my master’s degree, my brother died on Christmas Day. Around the same time, several other changes in my life took place. These changes sparked my interest in grief and loss.
I went on to get a Psy.D. in clinical psychology at the California School of Professional Psychology.
Debra: What therapeutic modalities do you use?
Christina: I use an integrative approach which combines the mind, the body and the spirit. My dissertation was creating a natural ritual with adults who have had a sibling die to help ease their grief.
Debra: How would you recommend locating a bereavement therapist?
Christina: That’s a little harder than it sounds.
There are no psychology programs in the United States that require students to take classes in death, loss and grief. Some programs offer such classes as electives, but they are not mandatory. Therefore, there are no educational requirements for people to call themselves grief specialists.
One way to make sure you get a person who specializes in grief is to browse the Association for Death Education and Counseling.
Once you have a few names, visit with the therapists until you find someone with whom you feel comfortable. Shop around for a therapist just the same way you would shop for any other healthcare professional.
Next week we will discuss Christina’s dissertation, which looked at the role of rituals in nature to help adults ease the grief of a brother or sister’s death.